Krugman Follows Well-Worn Path to Nobel Prize: Outspoken Liberal Ideas
Call this free-market capitalismâs nightmare. The global financial markets are struggling, both political party presidential nominees are promoting populist ideals in their stump speeches and perpetual Bush-basher and ĂŒber-liberal New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has been awarded the highest prize in the land for economists.
On Oct. 13, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded Krugman the 2008 Nobel Prize for Economics for his âanalysis of how economies of scale can affect international trade patterns,â but having seemingly ignored his vicious attacks on capitalism â a field of economics that has brought so many around the world out of poverty.
However, in the wake of this big announcement and all the media attention it garnered, international trade isnât where Krugman, a liberal ideologue is lending his expertise.
Anti-Bush Ranting Even at Height of Financial Crisis
Itâs no secret Krugman is not a fan of President George W. Bush and ever since Bush was sworn into office in 2001, Krugman has been one of the most adamant opponents of the presidentâs policies, including his 2001 pro-growth, supply-side tax cuts.
But even as a few long-time banking institutions are failing and the public is looking for solutions â perhaps from a Nobel prize-winning economist, Krugman still wonât let it go, even on the eve of a new administration.
While on a media tour after winning the Nobel Prize, Krugman made a stop on CNBCâs Oct. 12 âSquawk Boxâ and was asked why he was so âreviledâ by many even though heâs a distinguished professor of economics at
âI was out there â you know we went through a period when a lot of people were worshipping George Bush â if you can say that,â Krugman said. âHe had an 80 percent approval rating, people were saying he is wonderful, anyone who criticizes him is unpatriotic and I was saying, âNo, heâs actually a pretty bad guy. Heâs got bad policies and heâs not being honest with us.ââ
However, attacking a president by claiming heâs dishonest and a âpretty bad guyâ is par for the course with Krugman.
Krugman: A History of Over-the-Top Hyperbole
Perhaps this is the path to win the favor of the
âIt was a shocking event. With incredible speed, our perception of the world and of ourselves changed. It seemed that before we had lived in a kind of blind innocence, with no sense of the real dangers that lurked. Now we had experienced a rude awakening, which changed everything,â Krugman wrote. âNo, I'm not talking about Sept. 11; I'm talking about the Enron scandal.â
âI predict that in the years ahead Enron, not Sept. 11, will come to be seen as the greater turning point in
Almost two years later, Krugman went back to his 9-11 playbook and praised documentary filmmaker Michael Mooreâs controversial film âFahrenheit 9/11â for being a âpublic service.â
âAnd for all its flaws, âFahrenheit 9/11â performs an essential service,â Krugman wrote in the July 2, 2004 Times. âIt would be a better movie if it didnât promote a few unproven conspiracy theories, but those theories arenât the reason why millions of people who arenât die-hard Bush-haters are flocking to see it. These people see the film to learn true stories they should have heard elsewhere, but didnât. Mr. Moore may not be considered respectable, but his film is a hit because the respectable media havenât been doing their job.â
In Krugmanâs most recent book, âThe Conscience of a Liberal,â the title of which plays off of Barry Goldwaterâs âThe Conscience of a Conservative,â the Times columnist claimed conservative icon former President Ronald Reagan used racist tactics for political gain.
âHis early political successes were based on appeals to cultural and sexual anxieties, playing on the fear of communism, and, above all, tacit exploitation of white backlash against the civil rights movement and its consequences,â Krugman wrote.
âWell, Iâm a pussy cat in real life,â Krugman said. âBut, give me 800 words, I start slashing.â
But, maybe if it werenât for Krugmanâs printed âslashing,â he would have never drawn the attention of the
In the 1970s, free-market economic icons Milton Friedman and Friedrich von Hayek won Nobel prizes for economics, but the last few years have really shown a trend toward liberalism.
The academy has awarded the prize to former President Jimmy Carter and former Vice President Al Gore along with the U.N.âs Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, as Australian Broadcast Corporation correspondent Lisa Millar pointed out.
âEconomists around the world have congratulated him on the prize worth $1.4 million, although there have been mutterings about the politicization of the awards. Former Vice President Al Gore won the Peace Prize last year. Democrat President Jimmy Carter won it in 2002,â Millar said. âAnd with an election just three weeks away, some believe the decision by the
Millar called Krugman an âunabashed liberal who thinks the economics of the Bush administration have been terribleâ and she pointed out his comments that dismissed the politicization of the award.
Even Krugmanâs own paper, the Times has detected this trend. In October 2007, after Doris Lessing, a former member of the Communist Party of the United Kingdom, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, Motoko Rich and Sarah Lyall noted the pattern of left-of-center ideologues winning Nobel Prizes.
âAlthough Ms. Lessing is passionate about social and political issues, she is unlikely to be as controversial as the previous two winners, Orhan Pamuk of Turkey or Harold Pinter of Britain, whose views on current political situations led commentators to suspect that the Swedish Academy was choosing its winners in part for nonliterary reasons,â Rich and Lyall wrote in the Oct. 11, 2007 New York Times.
Still, Krugmanâs selection reeks of partisanship and it will have a regrettable impact, according to William L. Anderson of Forbes.com.
âTodayâs announcement that Paul Krugman won the Nobel Prize in economics, although not earth shattering, indicates that outright political partisanship is not a deterrent to winning,â Anderson wrote on Oct. 13. âThis is not as tragic a moment in western civilization as the sacking of
The Welfare State as Krugmanâs Utopia
In âConscience of Liberal,â Krugman predicted in 2009 the
âThe question is, what should the new majority do?â Krugman wrote. âMy answer is that it should, for the nationâs sake, pursue an unabashedly liberal program of expanding the social safety net and reducing inequality â a new New Deal. The starting point for that program, the twenty-first century equivalent of Social Security, should be universal health care, something every other advanced country already has.â
For Krugman, the welfare state is the best path to equality, a value he relentlessly has obsessed over in his writing.
âYet you can't understand whatâs happening in America today without understanding the extent, causes and consequences of the vast increase in inequality that has taken place over the last three decades, and in particular the astonishing concentration of income and wealth in just a few hands,â Krugman wrote in The New York Times Magazine on Oct. 20, 2002.
However, since Krugman was named the sole winner of the Nobel Prize, he is an instant millionaire and that begs the question how he will handle his automatic entrance into the club of the ârich and tasteless,â as Business & Media Institute adviser Don Luskin asks in an Oct. 14 column for National Review.
âWhatever the committee was thinking, the only remaining question is what the living Paul Krugman will do with his $1.4 million prize,â Luskin wrote. âWill he pay taxes on it at the low rates established in 2003 by George W. Bush, a president and a policy that Krugman has worked so assiduously to discredit? Or will he voluntarily pay at the higher rates he advocates?â