I don’t expect to see a lot happening in Congress this summer other than investigations, mostly by Republican led committees, and party charges and counter charges and gridlock and more gridlock, all mostly political theater.
Little of the serious business of the nation will get done, so I will likely post once a week instead of the usual twice and save us all some frustration. Meanwhile some of you might wish to pay more attention to my Blogroll (to the left), so let me say a little about that.
I chose the six blog sites with the idea of providing a balance of liberal and conservative views on politics and economics. Today I will concentrate on economist Paul Krugman, who gets star billing because he is brilliant and a powerful liberal voice through his blog, his column in the New York Times, his numerous layman-friendly books, and his frequent appearances on TV political talk shows. While there are highly respective right leaning economists as well, they are not as ubiquitous in making their points known. Also, unlike Krugman, they don’t tend to suggest those with whom they disagree are either idiots or villains.
Of course, many on the far right easily match or exceed Krugman in that regard, but their credentials in economics are about as weak as mine. They are ideologues not economists. In contrast, the most respected right-leaning economists are usually academics who shy away from politics, are accustomed to more genial disagreements and not as quick to accuse as Krugman. Rightly or wrongly, he blames them for bolstering the far right and he thinks his disagreements with them are often too important to play nice.
A good example of Krugman in action is the fairly recent controversy over an older, influential economic study by Harvard economists Ken Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart. The study has given support to those who believe in the need for government austerity (cutting spending to reduce debt) as a cure to our overall economic problems. However, a recent review of that study has revealed an important statistical error as well as some questionable assumptions which undermine the support it has given to those who stress the need for government austerity immediately.
Since Krugman has led the charge for more government stimulus (spending incurring more debt) as our immediate response to a still weak economy (and putting off tackling the debt problem until it is stronger), he has had much to say about that Harvard study and its weaknesses.
This split in economic theory is important because it underlies the political polarization in which the left wants more government money applied to expanding our economy and reducing joblessness, while the right wants to reduce government spending, claiming this spending doesn’t really solve our economic problems but just deepens and defers them to later generations. That this urgency about national debt was not often stressed by the right during the G. W. Bush years is another story.
I’m not trying argue those points here, but merely noting that Krugman argues his position regularly with his blog and other forms of communication. And at times he has as many as five posts a day with links to friends and foes alike. Whether you agree with Krugman or not, reading his posts is an ongoing education in economics.
To get a better sense of Krugman’s thinking and his way of expressing himself, I suggest clicking the Krugman blog link and scrolling down to one of his June 2 posts titled: The Spat. There he defends himself from what Ken Rogoff has called “very personal” attacks, even noting that Rogoff “is a magnificent economist”…. just not in this instance.
While liberal to the core, he seems to be dealing with facts more than ideology most of the time. Of course, many would disagree, so I provide some balance to Krugman’s crusading ways with three sites on my Blogroll from conservative perspectives.
You can figure out which three those are if you investigate all of the six linked blogs, or you can wait for me to return to the topic this Friday.
Just exploring Krugman’s prolific postings seems plenty for now.
- Reinhart And Rogoff Vs. Krugman – Business Insider (businessinsider.com)