I had the displeasure of reading a Paul Krugman column a short while ago after reading a link to it in a Reason comment thread. (That, of course, was quite pleasant.) Naturally, Krugman spouts off utter stupidity:
Watching the evolution of economic discussion in Washington over the past couple of years has been a disheartening experience. Month by month, the discourse has gotten more primitive; with stunning speed, the lessons of the 2008 financial crisis have been forgotten, and the very ideas that got us into the crisis — regulation is always bad, what’s good for the bankers is good for America, tax cuts are the universal elixir — have regained their hold.
On the face of it, this seems bizarre. Over the last two years profits have soared while unemployment has remained disastrously high. Why should anyone believe that handing even more money to corporations, no strings attached, would lead to faster job creation?
And now trickle-down economics — specifically, the idea that anything that increases corporate profits is good for the economy — is making a comeback.
First off, the lessons of the 2008 crisis are not the “lessons” that Krugman thought were of the 2008 crisis. As report after report have shown, the 2008 crisis was caused by loose money policies at the Federal Reserve, government social engineering that promoted home ownership at the expense of prudent, rational financial decisions (and mostly to get votes, not even to “help” people), and a home mortgage industry that was mostly subsidized by the American taxpayer through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. (Read Veronique de Rugy’s article in Reason for the lowdown on that catastrophe.) If anything, the lesson to take away from the 2008 crisis is that government intervention in the marketplace is disastrous and should be avoided as much as humanly possible.
And as for taxes, you would think that one could see the situation where a company has $50,000 it could spend on a worker, but has to pay it in taxes instead. Hmm. Naturally, we all here at United Liberty know this, and Krugman doesn’t.
There’s something else, though, I see in Krugman’s writings, one that disturbs me. A commentator over at that Reason thread speculated that Paul Krugman is the “epitome of a fascist.” I hate throwing that label around; despite all the advocacy of greater government control over our lives and our economy, I don’t think are any true fascists in America (aside from a few bald crazies who get shot while sleeping on the couch by their kids.) Socialists, yes, as socialism (supposedly) focuses on the people, but fascism just glorifies the state itself. And that’s just bland and unpalatable to anyone, even a government bureaucrat. They want to glorify themselves.
But Krugman’s entire argument here is that, basically, all money is controlled and owned by the state. Only by the grace of Timothy Geithner will you, XYZ Inc., be allowed to have profits of any sort. Hmm, where have I heard this before?
All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.
That was in a speech Benito Mussolini gave to the Italian Chamber of Deputies in December of 1928.
I’d still be very cautious using the term. We need to engage people using the facts, even if they ignore them or twist them. Going down the Saul Alinsky route and resorting to name-calling will only make us look as bad as them. Krugman has not yet declared that everything must be under the state, and that the state is the end result, the raison d’etre for anything. Pushing for higher taxes and more regulation is just not the same.
But rest assured, if that day comes, I will be the first one putting his face next to Mussolini’s and Hitler’s.