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Craig Feigin | A Liberal Economist, My Hero
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15 Aug A Liberal Economist, My Hero

TAGS Paul Krugman, economics, U.S. politics


Paul Krugman is a Nobel laureate in economics. A big shot columnist in the New York Times.

And he is my personal hero.

I read him whenever I can – I try not to miss his columns – and what can I say – I just makes my day.

By  now you may have surmised that I am a liberal. No the wishy-washy kind. Not the kind with a guilt complex about it.

I am a liberal of the unabashed variety. One who wears his liberalism on its sleeve. And proud of it. And willing to argue that liberalism is as American as apple pie. Throughout its history, its liberal streak is what has made America humane, kinder. From emancipation of slaves to social security, from medicare to Pell grants for students, liberalism is what has smoothened the rough, ugly edge of capitalism.

That’s why it’s so wonderful to read Krugman, who essentially shares my ethos – but has a formidable intellect to back it up. And he does it with wit and verve.

From his New York Times perch, Krugman likes to talk about issues dear to him, and it’s not necessarily about economics, field of expertise. He’ll just as easily veer into politics and have a whale of a time punching holes in the inflated, dubious economic claims of conservative fantasy,

Krugman’s Aug. 15 column in the New York Times is about Hillary Clinton’s economic policy. He returns to a pet peeve of his – one which I happen to share – of how the U.S. media prism turns the perception of policy into a fun house of mirrors.

In the real world, Clinton’s policy would be seen for what it is – a solid but unambitious center-left policy to move America in the right direction. Yet it isn’t clear that this will be the way her proposal will be accepted. In the media world absolutely petrified by the notion of veering even a millimeter from the notion of objectivity, Clinton’s program will be reported with the same degree of seriousness as the one’s coming out of conservative candidates. So if a conservative proposes a program which gives massive cuts to the rich – their cure-all for all economic ills – and makes the math work by promising absurd economic growth, thanks to the wonders of the market – what will actually happen when those policies are enacted is that the elusive economic growth fails to materialize (surprise!) and popular programs are cut to the bone.

To give policy proposals like this and Clinton’s policy the same importance and weight is a pusillanimous act of the media, and Krugman makes the point very well.


Article referred to in my essay

Wisdom, Courage and the Economy by Paul Krugman. The New York Times, Aug. 15 2016

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