There’s been some discussion about criticism of Paul Krugman around lately. And Scott Sumner made the mistake of asking his readers to focus on how it makes them feel while contrasting rather colorful criticism of Krugman with the same that is more to the point. I have a lot of passion for the subject of economic policy and I’m providing just a bit of warning here that Sumner opened up that tempest in the teapot (insert smirky, smiley face here).
I understand that Sumner was making a point regarding the effectiveness of how ideas are presented, rather than anything having to do with Krugman himself, I have to say that I don’t understand the need to focus on him at all. I agree. Name calling is, in most cases, counterproductive. But where to go with that? What is the big picture?
I use the word “enemy,” as in the title, figuratively, as a sort of placeholder in prioritizing issues and people involved with those issues for consumption of my time, of which lately I have very little. I feel sheer animosity toward no one personally, though perhaps my feelings toward me ex-husband come close.
With that said, however, I am nearly unashamed of any content of the things I’ve said or will say about graft, negligence, and indolence on the part of bureaucrats who, through their actions and behavior, haplessly or knowingly, and on massive scale, disrupt the lives and livelihoods of millions of people who count on them for practical, sober, informed, diligent, and trustworthy execution of their duties as public servants every day. Colorful criticism of regulatory capture, bureaucratic betrayal of the public trust, intellectual abuse of the public, and epic fail in appointed fiduciary positions of monetary policy formation that results in a humanitarian disaster is nothing personal, but well deserved considering the gravity of the outcome – of which I count myself among the many millions of victims having the utterly personal understanding of what it is to experience it.
Words are words. Bureaucratic gross negligence that results in avoidable economic harm that runs second in scale to the severity of harm of the Great Depression is way beyond just words. Any bureaucrat involved in the creation of such a calamity should be grateful to be merely insulted as a consequence. The suitable remedy is not for them to continue on in their posts, thus needing to be persuaded to do the right thing. No, no, no. At the very least, the suitable remedy includes dismissal with their reputations in such tatters as render them economically viable only in the context of peddling hotdogs from a beach-side vending cart in perpetuity. What goes around should come around. I wonder if Bernanke is devoting his lucrative after-life to charities that assist the unemployed. No? What are the “guess-timents” regarding the motivation for his involvement with PIMCO? You know, the currently somewhat tarnished bond kings. What about Yellen who gets a public escort to work every day as a sort of changing of the guard kind of spectacle? Isn’t there something just a little unjust going on there? I think so.
Krugman was a private citizen when tight money crashed the economy. He had not the means to control the outcome, nor to prevent it. He is NOT my “enemy” and conquering Krugman will do little to solve the political problems that are the root cause of the crash:
- Regulatory capture, insularity, and graft at the Fed
- The spoils system (the practice appointing political supporters to public posts)
- Archaic and undemocratic structure of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal Open Market Committee that unduly politicizes monetary policy combined with lack of accountability – to anyone!
- Ambiguity in substance and absence of legal recourse in the Fed’s mandates and its institutional definition – it sucks up everything green and good in this world with the sky as the limit without means to stop it.
I am not saying Krugman is generally friendly toward my political ideas. He’s not. I am saying the only value to be had in spending any amount of my time on Krugman is to highlight those few things on which we agree – because they are important to my primary purpose – monetary remedies to and prevention of mishaps like the Great Recession. No other battle of ideas is worth my time until this gigantic monetary calamity, hungry for victims and looking for another time to happen is choked off by the throat.