QOTD: Krugman

QOTD: Krugman

by digby

In response to a criticism that he doesn't attack liberal economic shibboleths the way he should, he writes:
Politics and policy are overwhelmingly dominated by what I call the Very Serious People — people who insist that deficits are our most pressing problem, that high unemployment must be a matter of inadequate skills, that low marginal tax rates on the rich are essential for growth. Behind the conventional wisdom of the VSPs lies a vast mass of power and prejudice. As Ezra Klein once pointed out in connection with Alan Simpson, the influence of the deficit scolds is so great that by and large the press abandons any notion of objectivity and simply assumes that the VSPs are right and what they want is good.

And against all this power of conventional wisdom — which is often, by the way, at odds with basic economic analysis and the preponderance of evidence — you have … a handful of progressive economics bloggers. Some of them — well, mainly me — have prominent perches. But it’s still a very unequal match.

So I see no reason to bend over backwards to annoy my most loyal readers. I won’t ever say anything I don’t believe to be true, and I try not to steer away from saying things my fan club will dislike. But shocking the liberal bourgeoisie is not how I see my job.

The forces arrayed against progressive policies, from the Big Money Boyz to the Village deficit scolds, are so powerful that it would be absurd for someone with Krugman's reach and influence to waste it on fruitless internecine battles. There are plenty of people who are doing that and the result of those fights can sometimes result in a change of thinking or a different approach. Everyone has a role to play in these things and those who are coming at these issues from new directions are important to the process. But for Krugman to use his prominent perch (or some of the other progressive economic writers as well) to engage in such discussions would distort the arguments in a way that would be extremely destructive to the larger goals. Eyes on the prize.