Why won't Paul Krugman post on Bill Black watch
[T]he clear and present danger isn’t that the G.O.P. will be able to achieve its long-run goals. It is, rather, that Republicans will gain just enough power to make the country ungovernable, unable to address its fiscal problems or anything else in a serious way. As I said, banana republic, here we come.
Well, the question of our banana republic nature seems to be another abstract technical debate; Princeton academic and Nobelist Krugman thinks we're not there yet; MIT academic and IMFer Simon Johnson thinks we are already there. So, opinions differ among economists. How to resolve the matter? Let me propose a simple test:
A common and well-known characteristic of banana republics is that the elite have "impunity" for crimes. So:
In the United States, does the elite have impunity for crimes?
Of course they do. Check out UMKC professor Bill Black, who successfully prosecuted many bankster criminals cleaing up the S&L crisis* on bankster criminality during the last bubble, on Bill Moyers. Then run a Google search on "accounting control fraud." [Also see Dan PS on impunity just today.]
All this must be obvious to Professor Krugman. And yet the dog does not bark in the night. Why? Unfortunately, I think the answer is hidden in plain sight, in another part of the same column:
The late Irving Kristol, one of the intellectual godfathers of modern conservatism, once wrote frankly about why he threw his support behind tax cuts that would worsen the budget deficit: his task, as he saw it, was to create a Republican majority, “so political effectiveness was the priority, not the accounting deficiencies of government.” In short, say whatever it takes to gain power. That’s a philosophy that now, more than ever, holds sway in the movement Kristol helped shape.
Or, more subtly, "Don't say whatever it takes." Sadly, and so indicatively, what once was an Eschatonian parody of winger stupidity has become the new baseline: "I used to like Paul Krugman when he stuck to writing about economics, but now he's just so partisan." I wish Krugman would stop writing about partisan politics, since the Ds can pay to have their memes propagated, and they don't really need his help. And I wish he'd start writing again about political economy, since a lot of people who really do need his help could use it.
NOTE * Indicating that the body politic was much more healthy during Reagan's day than it is under a D President who is also the greatest orator of our time, bringer of hope and change, et cetera. I know I keep linking to this interview, but everyone really should read it. Especially if you think the commodity that passes for "news" in this country is in any way important or interesting, or anything other than an empty calories distraction from news that would really feed us.