unpaid thoughts on the dismal science

Saturday, April 20, 2002  
Matthew Hoy has put up a fairly long analysis of yesterday's Krugman column.
7:17 AM

Friday, April 19, 2002  
Economist J. Bradford DeLong asks, "Does it matter that George W. Bush is dumb and lazy?". According to Professor DeLong, the answer is "yes" and the result is "total chaos". I wish he could have been more specific.

7:14 PM

James D. Miller has a different take on today's Krugman column.
7:07 PM

Paul Krugman's latest, "Wealth Versus Health", engages in an old logical fallacy, the false choice. In this case, you are either in favor of tax cuts for the very wealthy, or you're in favor of the health of the elderly. Easy choice, eh? Assuming that you're not pure evil, then you must be in favor of repealing the tax cut so that we can save the nation's elderly from slow, agonizing death. But clearly, I could make the same false choice argument about Medicare and any other Federal program. Thus, every dollar spent on agriculture subsidies, the National Endowment for the Arts, AIDS research, anything, is a dollar that could have been spent on Medicare. While it's true that the tax cut is larger than any of those programs I mentioned, it doesn't change the fundamental zero sum game that Krugman has set up: if you spend a dollar on one thing, you can't spend it on something else. I look forward to seeing Krugman denounce the NEA, but I'm not holding my breath. Krugman's liberal tendencies clearly indicate that he prefers throwing money at pampered performance artists rather than saving the elderly from a slow, agonizing death. Oh, well.
12:06 PM

Wednesday, April 17, 2002  
Robert Kuttner showcases his deep knowledge of economics in his latest column for the Boston Globe, "The scam of airline deregulation". Kuttner's thesis is that airline ticket prices are unfair and that the unfairness is all due to airline deregulation. How does he support this thesis? Does he do a detailed econometric study of ticket prices before and after de-regulation, controlling for all relevant variables and then submit that study to a scholarly, peer-reviewed economics journal for publication? Nope, he just looks at two tickets, one bought by his wife and one bought by him, separately, to the same location! All hail Kuttner for this incredible time saving technique of determining the costs and benefits of regulation! Sheesh! The whole column is pretty horrible. Read it with a barf bag handy.
8:20 PM

Krugman Watch: Random Jottings has a nice post on Krugman's recent column on Thomas White, "The White Stuff". Click on it just to see the great picture of Krugman!
12:40 PM

Tuesday, April 16, 2002  
I used to like Paul Krugman's writing a lot and I had a lot of respect for the guy. Nowadays, I keep a barf bag handy when I read any of his stuff that isn't about international trade. Amazingly, today's column, although not about trade, manages to be almost 100% barf free. In "Losing Latin America", Krugman reviews the aborted coup against Venezuela's Hugo Chávez. Chávez is, in his own words, a "Maoist", so I expect he will cause enormous grief and suffering to his people as long as he's in power, but he was fairly elected so the military coup against him was completely unjustified, to say the least. The Bush administration, of course, was the only country to not condemn the move thus, as Krugman says, "reminding everyone of the bad old days when any would-be right-wing dictator could count on U.S. backing." Of course, no Bush-basing column would be complete without praise for President Clinton:
The best you can say is that some of the disaster victims, notably Mexico, seem to have recovered their balance (with a lot of help, one must say, from the Clinton administration) and moved onto a path of steady, but modest, economic growth.
UPDATE: I just spotted this over at the Washington Post. Maybe Chávez was asking for it hard enough to deserve it after all.
11:22 AM