Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405

Facebook: Digby Parton

@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)

thedigbyblog at gmail
satniteflix at gmail
publius.gaius at gmail
tpostsully at gmail
Spockosbrain at gmail
Richardein at me.com


Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic

Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018 August 2018 September 2018 October 2018 November 2018 December 2018 January 2019 February 2019 March 2019 April 2019 May 2019 June 2019 July 2019 August 2019 September 2019 October 2019 November 2019 December 2019


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Defending Krugman from Yves Smith

by David Atkins

Yves Smith over at Naked Capitalism has a long piece today bashing Paul Krugman for his post about Americans Elect.

Yves Smith is upset with Krugman for supposedly praising the Obama presidency and touting deficit cuts. While I'm sure that Krugman can adequately defend himself, the criticism here is simply bizarre. Here's Smith:

Paul Krugman’s partisanship has become so shameless that we are giving him the inaugural Eric Schneiderman Decoy Award for his post “Things Fall Apart“. The Schneiderman Decoy Award goes for exceptional achievement in turning one’s good name over to particularly rancid Obama Administration initiatives.

Krugman’s post didn’t merely contain some cringe-making fawning over Obama; it was egregiously incorrect on the development that prompted the post, that of the death of Americans Elect, a shadowy group that had was out to sponsor a Presidential candidate. It’s hard to believe that Krugman does not know the orientation and aims of this failed effort...

And why does Krugman want us to believe this “centrist” organization was doomed? Not because it was a vehicle for deficit hawkery that would get traction only if Bloomberg took up its mission, but because all sensible real centrists will of course vote for Obama...

There is another sneaky bit in this. Notice Krugman’s endorsement of deficit reduction (at least in part) by spending cuts, rather than via increasing growth? And also keep in mind that when the private sector delevers, unless the country runs a trade surplus, the government sector has to run a deficit to accommodate the desire of households and businesses to save. Krugman hopefully knows better than this. So why is he now starting to talk what sounds like austerity lite?

The Dems are tying to put together a Grand Bargain once again. There is apparently a push to get a deal done before the election but the folks I consider credible don’t see that happening. There is a possibility that we hit the deficit ceiling pre-election, which each party is likely to use to scapegoat the other, but odds favor the Administration coming out the loser. So in addition to the usual Obama hagiography, Krugman is also seeding the idea that a deficit cutting deal would be a good move.
Paul Krugman endorsing austerity and cuts to social services? That would indeed be news. So what did Krugman actually say?

What went wrong? Well, there actually is a large constituency in America for a political leader who is willing to take responsible positions — to call for more investment in the nation’s education and infrastructure, to propose bringing down the long-run deficit through a combination of spending cuts and tax increases. And there is in fact a political leader ready and willing (maybe too willing) to play that role; his name is Barack Obama.

So why Americans Elect? Because there exists in America a small class of professional centrists, whose stock in trade is denouncing the extremists in both parties and calling for a middle ground. And this class cannot, as a professional matter, admit that there already is a centrist party in America, the Democrats — that the extremism they decry is all coming from one side of the political fence. Because if they admitted that, they’d just be moderate Democrats, with no holier-than-thou pedestal to stand on.

Americans Elect was created to appeal to this class of professional centrists — which meant that it was doomed to go nowhere.
Krugman calls the President too willing to accept austerity measures. He mocks the pseudo-centrists. He points out that the Democratic Party is in part centrist party aligned with the Thomas Friedmans of the world as it is. If they want a candidate to vote for, they already have one.

None of that is to endorse austerity. It's to point out that there is, in fact, no real political constituency for their backward policies that isn't already occupied by the President--for better or for worse.

What has Smith truly incensed is that Krugman is being too partisan. In this both Smith and the plutocrats at TED have something in common. Smith is annoyed that Krugman is not calling a pox on both houses and describing the two parties as functionally equivalent. That rather than condemning the President outright for pushing austerity-lite, Krugman is suggesting to the small band of centrists that they already have a candidate to vote for, while forcing them to take a good look at the austerity-on-steroids of the Paul Ryan types and put the "extremism" label where it belongs.

Well, on that count Mr. Krugman and I are guilty as charged. We're not so intellectually dishonest as to claim that the two parties are equivalently bad, no matter how much distaste we may have for the President's deference to austerity-lite and eagerness to bend over backwards to refute conservative mythmaking.

As bad as the Tom Friedmans of the world are, they're not Paul Ryan. Moreover, there is a large faction of the Democratic Party that is genuinely progressive, and that continues to push its message forward via actions like the People's Budget. It serves a distinctly progressive purpose to chide the fools like Tom Friedman over their implicit rejection of "both sides". After all, if the President is appropriately seen as occupying the "center" rather than the "left," then that carves out room for the real "left" to be heard. As opposed to trashing Paul Ryan and the President with an equivalent brush, which is both untrue and more importantly makes anyone not already converted to the progressive message simply stop listening.

Paul Krugman understands his politics here. He understands his audience. And he's being savvy about his tactics. One could wish the same were true of everyone.