If you have "no place to go," come here!

A Nobel is the new stupid

The Good Professor continues to credit The Big O with good intentions:

It’s no mystery what has happened on the deficit commission: as so often happens in modern Washington, a process meant [by whom?] to deal with real problems [oh, really?] has been hijacked on behalf of an ideological agenda. Under the guise of facing our fiscal problems, Mr. Bowles and Mr. Simpson are trying to smuggle in the same old, same old — tax cuts for the rich and erosion of the social safety net.

The Catfood Commmission was in no way "hijacked." Look at the record:

1. Obama set up The Catfood Commission himself, after Congress refused to.

2. Obama outsourced the Catfood Commission's staffing to Pete Peterson drones, who are paid to have the ideology they have.

And as surely any member of the professoriate knows, to pick a committee's staff is to ensure the desired result. In this case, the result is conservative, and that's because Obama is a conservative.

So, the Catfood Commission is Obama's creature, first and last. If, by "hijack," Krugman means that the putative goal of the Commission -- reducing the deficit (itself bad policy* supported by bad reasoning) -- has been replaced by the real goal -- shrinking government -- (bad policy supported by the naked self-interest of the klepoctracy) that's down to kabuki, not hijacking.

Can a mere dinner have such a powerful effect? Can anything be salvaged from the wreck?

Yes, as soon as Krugman begins to treat Obama as Bush III, a position that has the great merit of being true.

NOTE * "Bad" on the assumption that government should serve the "general welfare" (Constitution, preamble) which Versailles does not accept, since it does not accept Constitutional government.

NOTE The passivity and incoherence of Krugman's inside game is shown in the final sentence of the column:

The deficit commission should be told to fold its tents and go away.

Note the lack of agency in "should be told." Who's going to do the telling? Obama?

UPDATE Here's another one:

But it becomes clear, once you spend a little time trying to figure out what’s going on, that the main driver of those pretty charts is the assumption that the rate of growth in health-care costs will slow dramatically. And how is this to be achieved? By “establishing a process to regularly evaluate cost growth” and taking “additional steps as needed.” What does that mean? I have no idea.

I know! I know! A lot more people are going to die earlier because they've been denied medical care, exactly in the same way that a lot more people will never work again unless Versailles policy of 10% nominal (20%) real DISemployment is reversed. A big drop in life expectancy will solve a lot of fiscal problems. Krugman has already noticed that life expectancy has flattened exactly for those who need Social Security the most. Why in the name of sweet suffering Jeebus would he expect it to remain flat, instead of to decline? See under Soviet Union, collapse of.

No votes yet


mass's picture
Submitted by mass on

It is frustrating, but two things. Krugman is trying to nudge Obama. You don't do that by calling him out on his rightwing commission. So he gives Obama an out here, the commission was built on good intentions, but unfortunately it was hijacked(note: I don't believe that and I doubt Krugman does either). Second, his point about their health care cost solution being too vague to decipher I think has to do with his saying there is no solution. There's no numbers to crunch to test their theory. There's no actual policy being advocated that can be analyzed. It's just fluff.

Submitted by lambert on

... that Obama's nudgeable?

And on what basis would anybody think that to analyze the Commission's deliverable is to analyze the work of the Commission? This is Versailles, a vast edifice of bullshit and lies. Krugman is actually treating this stuff as if it were serious. "Look! Internal contradictions!"

mass's picture
Submitted by mass on

what I think Krugman is doing here. I don't think he's naive or simply an Obama apologist.

Joe's picture
Submitted by Joe on

God, you're so right about this stuff. Please keep hitting Krugman hard every time he pushes this wankery.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

From February, before the shocking, shocking hijack:

Obama's version of the commission is a weak substitute for what he really wanted: a panel created by Congress that could force lawmakers to consider unpopular remedies to reduce the debt, including curbing politically sensitive entitlements like Social Security and Medicare.

In Krugman's view, if you order from Domino's, their driver was "hijacked" when he delivers you the pizza you asked for.

Submitted by jawbone on


Get the word out civil but utterly clear wording.

I gotta do yard stuff, but I'll go there when it's dark outside. (I almost wrote RL stuff, but, in reality, what's more real than what Obama and Peterson want the Obama Cat Food Commission to do to us and to citizens yet unborn? So, make sure this set up whack job is referenced as the OBAMA Commission. Do not let anyone think it was anyone else's -- other that Pete Peterson's, of course.)

Submitted by Hugh on

Krugman is an Establishment hack. I love that someone actually said that Krugman was trying to "nudge" Obama. That is funny for so many reasons. Anyone remember Cass Sunstein, one of Obama's erstwhile gurus and his book "Nudge", that markets and the economy only needed tweaking to keep them running efficiently? The events of the last 3 years completely blew his philosophy out of the water. The same could be said for Krugman nudging Obama. Has anyone any evidence that Obama has been nudged to the left on any issue since assuming the Presidency? Can we please stop with the magical thinking?

And what does Krugman's "current venue" have to do with anything? He is a Nobel prize winning economist and a tenured professor at Princeton. That is about as cushy as it gets. Or are we talking about his gig at the NYT? Bob Herbert doesn't seem to have any problems writing reality based columns there. If he can do it, why can't Krugman?

Well, I will tell you why not. It is not because Krugman can't it is because he won't. He is too much a part of the Establishment to challenge it. As I have said many, many times, he will criticize what the Establishment does but he will never criticize the Establishment itself, that is its legitimacy. In Krugman's universe, the Republicans are crazy and the Democrats are misled. He maintains this no matter how much evidence to the contrary. The result is these characteristic convolutions. Obama created this commission. In fact, he and the Congressional leadership announced their intention to create this commission on the very day Coakley was crashing and burning in Massachusetts and losing Ted Kennedy's Senate seat in the most liberal state in the nation. That was how disconnected from political reality they were. Later when he wrote the Executive Order creating the commission he specifically added in entitlements although they are not part of the regular budget. Then he picked conservative pro-business Social Security hating co-chairs. And Krugman is talking about the commission being hijacked, and there are some who actually buy Krugman's argument and defend him, just amazing.

There are only three possibilities. Krugman is stupid, in denial, or complicit. I am willing to stipulate that Krugman is not stupid, but this deep into the Obama Presidency the in denial excuse is running mighty thin. At some point, just as we must with liberal orgs and the elite blogs, we must accept that by refusing to move into opposition to Democrats and Obama, they are denying the resources they command to be used for organizing alternatives and that they are complicitly maintaining the people and policies that they say they are criticizing. If they are not going to do any of the heavy lifting then they need to STFU and get out of the way.

Submitted by Randall Kohn on

Respectability is a powerful lever, and I sense he's using it to pry open many closed minds at once, more than the whole lot of us will ever reach. If he told us how he really feels, he might lose his cushy venue overnight.

A couple years ago I put forth here at Corrente the proposition that Obama is a Republican agent or at the very least a corporate ringer. This idea was frowned on as tinfoil, even here. Now it's widely accepted, and not just here. Firedog and OpenLeft commenters are now mostly on board. Even at DU this idea is entertained. (I haven't checked kos.) Today it was raised as a hypothetical by Thom Hartmann.

When you're on the inside, you use your inside voice. Considering how FAR inside Krug is, I think he aquits himself well - more honorably, say, than Jon Stewart or Rachel Maddow who have so much less to lose and yet are so much MORE circumspect.

And I also ask myself, given such a cool setup, what would I do? How hard would I push?

Submitted by lambert on

Randall, a called shot like that deserves a link.

Maddow isn't worth investing in, and Stewart is about schtick (though it's really great schtick). That's why I criticize Krugman.

Submitted by Randall Kohn on

I first started this theme (although not focused yet on Obama) back in early August 2008:

The reason the Democrats act this way is really quite simple.
By Randall Kohn on Sat, 08/02/2008 - 7:33pm

They're Republicans.

Several of my comments for a couple weeks were along that same line. I didn't begin suggesting this of Obama in particular until later that same month:

Pssst....none of this is odd.
By Randall Kohn on Thu, 08/21/2008 - 10:01am

It all makes PERFECT sense once you realize Obama is a Republican agent. Losing is his job.

That, and making sure the Democrats get no benefit even if he wins.

I got much pushback here, and rightfully so because it was a very strong claim, made without direct supporting evidence. (Without being involved in the campaign, such evidence would be hard to collect.) But it seems to track what others have observed since then.

And what I feel now is not any impulse to pat myself on the back for seeing this so clearly so early, but stunned amazement that others were not seeing it. It's not as if he tried to hide it. His facial expressions, his word choices, his subject choices all seemed to SCREAM "What part of 'I'm a Republican' don't you get?"

Brian.Nelson's picture
Submitted by Brian.Nelson on

From what I am hearing, the people who are going to be suffering and paying the most are our grandchildren. This is exactly what the experts thought would happen when all the spending started.


Nehmen Sie sich die Zeit, um das Glücksspiel zu lernen und lernen Sie das online casino kennen bevor Sie Ihr Spielerkonto eröffnen, damit Sie vorbereitet sind.

Submitted by Hugh on

I don't get the argument that Krugman has this great reputation and pulpit to preach from and he can only keep them if he doesn't tell the truth, if he doesn't rock the boat but only touches the sides from time to time. As I said, Bob Herbert is at the same newspaper and he manages to do it. I guess that is the definition of the new pragmatics: lying your ass off to save your media time is the responsible thing to do. Of course, if you are lying your ass off, what does your media time do for the rest of us. I just don't see how misinforming us is doing us any favors.

Nor is Krugman pulling his punches on Democratic ownership of the Cat Food commission the one and only instance. He was feeding us the line just a couple of weeks ago that we better elect Democrats because the Republicans are crazy. Indeed he comes up with one of these every few weeks.

Brian.Nelson's picture
Submitted by Brian.Nelson on