07 Nov 2012

Dr. Freud, Dr. Krugman. Dr. Krugman, Dr. Freud

Economics, Krugman 35 Comments

Earlier today I was fascinated by the blatant contradiction in this post from Krugman:

There are many lists now circulating of the biggest winners and losers from the election; oddly, however, none of the lists I’ve seen mentions just how bad this result is for Wall Street’s Masters of the Universe.

The story, as you may recall, is that the financial industry — having brought both itself and the rest of the world to the edge of disaster — was bailed out by taxpayers. Yet far from being grateful, top financial types were furious at Obama for occasionally hinting that some of them might have misbehaved a bit. And investment bankers — who normally lean Democratic — went overwhelmingly to the other side, pouring cash into Mitt Romney’s coffers in the no doubt correct expectation that a Romney administration would dismantle financial reform and treat their wealth with the adulation they believe to be their birthright.

But Romney lost and Obama won. The limits of their power have been cruelly exposed, and the reelected president now owes them nothing. Did I mention that Elizabeth Warren is going to the Senate — a Senate that will be substantially more progressive and less Wall Street friendly than before?

Bad move, guys.

Do you see the contradiction? Krugman is simultaneously ridiculing Wall Street guys for pouting just because Obama doesn’t fawn over them–in other posts he calls it “hey ma he’s looking at me funny!”–and then goes on to say that because Obama won, these rich Wall Street guys are going to get hit. So how was their support for Romney a “bad move”? Try going through Krugman’s post, switching Obama and Romney, and replacing “Masters of the Universe” with “poor seniors dependent on Medicare.” Oh, you fools supported Obama because you were afraid of draconian cuts to entitlements?! Ha ha, now we’re unleashing Paul Ryan on you. Bad move, gramps.

Yet my fascination was compounded when I read Krugman’s next post, in which he psychoanalyzed Republicans in this way:

I’ll try to present some more coherent thoughts on a later occasion, but here’s my quick take: what we’ve just seen is a peek into the modern right-wing psyche, which is obsessed — more than anything else — with power. Policy is one thing; but equally or even more important is the sense of being with the winners, of being part of the team that will stamp its boots on the faces of the other guys.

Seriously, reading Krugman lately gives me the willies. Bad post, guy.

(If you don’t “get” what I’m saying, re-read Krugman’s discussion of the manhandling Wall Street is in for, because they had the audacity to support the loser in the election. Then read his psychoanalysis of Republicans. It’s creepy.)

35 Responses to “Dr. Freud, Dr. Krugman. Dr. Krugman, Dr. Freud”

  1. Arthur Krolman says:

    Krugman seems more loopy than usual. His comment

    ” bailed out by taxpayers. Yet far from being grateful, top financial types were furious at Obama”

    brushes over important historic fact: it was a Republican president that bailed out Wall St. with TARP in 2008 saying at the time, “”I’ve abandoned free market principles to save the free market system.”

  2. Jake says:

    I wonder if Krugman actually believes in the Dems as much as he professes to, or if this is just a character he plays on the internet to attract fans.

    I guess he’s still a scumbag either way.

  3. Randy Jackson says:

    ‘top financial types were furious at obama for occasionally hinting that some of them might have misbehaved a bit’
    i particularly enjoyed this because obama really hasnt done anything to go against the big wigs other than heat up the rhetoric a bit for the campaigns. brilliant insight on krugmans part!

  4. David R. Henderson says:

    Good catch, Bob.

  5. Jonathan M.F. Catalán says:

    I’m interested in how people will defend Krugman. That first post is something else; you’d think that the Democrat’s regulatory plan would remain the same, rather than change only because bankers decided to support Romney. The only thing I can think of — and I’m not advocating this defense — is that Krugman thinks that this makes the banks look more guilty than they did before (and Krugman must think they really are more guilty than the Democrats have accused them of being so far).

    What’s amazing is that there has been a recent spike in the literature on exactly this topic, and most serious work shows that bank management did not purposefully make bad investments (i.e. put the health of the company at risk for personal benefit). You’d think that an economist as serious and academic as Krugman would acknowledge this.

    • Bob Murphy says:

      You’d think that an economist as serious and academic as Krugman would acknowledge this.

      And that’s a rhetorical “You” I take it. Because I sure don’t think that of Krugman at this point.

    • Matt Tanous says:

      “Krugman must think they really are more guilty than the Democrats have accused them of being so far”

      I don’t see why. It’s not the bankers fault, right? It’s just “animal spirits”, no?

      “an economist as serious and academic as Krugman”

      Oh, you guys can always make me laugh.

      • Jonathan M.F. Catalán says:

        His academic work is usually very good. Normally, because it’s also much better researched, much more detailed, and it has to go through a peer review process where the kind of claims he wrote in this post wouldn’t fly.

        • Major_Freedom says:

          Economic peer review isn’t perfect of course, but at least it does a much better job at filtering out nonsense than the NYT.

          Maybe that’s why he took that gig, instead of remaining in academia full time.

          Maybe he didn’t even fully believe the stuff he wrote that made it to journals, but had to write it to get it accepted?

          • Major_Freedom says:

            Then again, lack of peer review can also help someone get GOOD ideas out that bad peer review limits.

        • Matt Tanous says:

          Well, it isn’t as ridiculous. I wouldn’t say his work on, say, New Trade Theory is even remotely sensible.

        • joeftansey says:

          Peer review only controls certain types of quality. No one actually goes and re-traces every step of the research. You typically have months, if not years, to familiarize yourself with the ins-and-outs of your project. The board doesn’t.

          Credibility comes from big names or big departments who have proven over the decades to be interested in objective research. If this was once true for Krugman, it is not true anymore. His blog is unconscionable.

  6. Tel says:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/07/usa-campaign-financialregulation-idUSL1E8M52AP20121107

    Wall Street left to rebuild Obama ties after backing Romney

    Wed Nov 7, 2012 1:52am EST

    Krugman:

    … oddly, however, none of the lists I’ve seen mentions just how bad this result is for Wall Street’s Masters of the Universe.

    November 7, 2012, 9:20 AM

    Credit where credit is due… as they say. Reuters are only the biggest news distributor on the entire darn planet, and the article has been copied to FOX news and just about everywhere else (all the way to Australia) so that would explain why Krugman had trouble finding it, and that would also explain why he needed to think up the exact same idea for himself (even the bit about Elizabeth Warren).

    • skylien says:

      So either he is a damn liar or he is quite sloppy or the lists he keeps watching are not many.

      Also it is only the 7th of November at 9:20 in the morning when he wrote this, only a few hours after the final results are in. How can you say such a thing at that point in time? If he did that at least a few weeks later or something and really no one mentioned it meanwhile ok, but this is really a cheap shot…

      • skylien says:

        A few weeks is a bit long maybe. However a few days would be appropriate..

  7. Gamble says:

    Bob Murphy wrote :”(If you don’t “get” what I’m saying, re-read Krugman’s discussion of the manhandling Wall Street is in for, because they had the audacity to support the loser in the election. Then read his psychoanalysis of Republicans. It’s creepy.)”

    Obama, Bernanke, Krugman and the winners are about to gleefully stamp on our faces with their boots?

  8. Ken B says:

    I picked up End this recession now!. I wanted to read it, but I just couldn’t. I tried three times. The first time I gave up was the nazi comparisons are wrong and we shouldn’t make them but have you noticed how extreme the republicans are . It got worse after that.

    He does though describe his job as being a ‘pundit’ not an ‘economist’.

  9. Teqzilla says:

    The ‘winning being more important than policy’ stuff is a bit much when Krugman has gone from being one of the most vociferous pundits on foreign policy to barely mentioning it at all. The same guy who pleaded mortification at Bush’s shredding of the constitution has never emitted a single flicker of interest in Obama’s assertion that the constitution empowers him to order the death of anyone that might take his fancy.

  10. Ken B says:

    “Bad move, guys.”

    That’s a relief. I thought I was the only one who took Obama seriously when he talked about revenge . Nice to see Krugman shares my jaundiced view of the president’s character!

  11. Major_Freedom says:

    “Try going through Krugman’s post, switching Obama and Romney, and replacing “Masters of the Universe” with “poor seniors dependent on Medicare.” Oh, you fools supported Obama because you were afraid of draconian cuts to entitlements?! Ha ha, now we’re unleashing Paul Ryan on you. Bad move, gramps.”

    Honestly, if Krugman debated a republican doppleganger version of himself, he would almost certainly think “What a jerk”.

    ——————-

    “what we’ve just seen is a peek into the modern right-wing psyche, which is obsessed — more than anything else — with power.”

    Krugman just peeked into his own left-wing psyche. Left-wingers are just as obsessed with power as right-wingers. Left-wingers want power over wall street, schools, hospitals, communications, police, and armies. They want, more than anything else, power.

    Krugman’s first post that you quoted is a threat that a power hungry thug would foist upon bankers. And he has the nerve to accuse right wingers, not left wingers, of wanting power?

    You know what I think, Murphy? I think Krugman is not acting the creep, but is rather revealing his creepiness, because he feels empowered now that Obama got re-elected. He’s probably thinking to himself “now it’s time to get those greedy capitalists good and hard!”

    If he was suddenly transported to the Soviet Union circa 1930s, he would likely reveal even more thuggishness and creepiness. Private property rights seem to be the only thing holding this closeted commissarie back today. He’s limited to a bully pulpit at a dying company.

    • Jason B says:

      You pretty much summed up my own initial sentiments. How Krugman can sit there with a straight face and piss and moan about the republican power hungry psyche while saying nothing of ole High Cheeks’ hyper leftist statism is truly amazing to me. Of course I guess considering the source, it shouldn’t be all that surprising.

  12. Bob Murphy says:

    In case it’s not obvious, I am saying that Krugman is revealing what he himself thinks. Hence the title of my blog post, referring to the Freudian concept of “projection.”

    • Major_Freedom says:

      Well that just made my entire post superfluous.

      • Major_Freedom says:

        But it’s also good because it means I picked up what you laid down.

  13. LvM says:

    Wasn’t it a ‘bad move’ because ‘the reelected president now owes them nothing’?

  14. david nh says:

    Krugman:

    “I’ll try to present some more coherent thoughts on a later occasion”

    Hope springs eternal, I guess.

  15. Contemplationist says:

    This is simple leftist projection. Pick up a Commie propaganda poster from the 40′s for example. You see a lot of this projection – the enemies of ‘the people’ are vicious! theyll kill you all! while they were the ones killing their opponents.

  16. John T. Kennedy says:

    Forget Krugman, which American President incited his supporters to “punish our enemies” when speaking of his political opponents?

  17. Mike says:

    Such a grumpy old crowd here…

    Krugman didn’t say that Obama’s plan was to target Wall Street at all. As he says:
    “occasionally hinting that some of them might have misbehaved a bit.”
    That’s all Obama did.

    The issue here is that Wall Street lost his leveraging/lobbying power on Obama by supporting his opponent, when they had practically NO REASON to do it.

    So no, Krugman didn’t say that “because Obama won, these rich Wall Street guys are going to get hit.”

    He said that >because Wall Street went all against Obama<, now it could get hit. Could. Because they gave up the lobbying influence they could have over Obama.

    Wall Street hedge all their bets on Romney, so, bad luck now.

    As for the comparison with seniors, it's pointless: seniors are actually people who get to vote. If Romney crossed them, they'd kick him out of office in the next elections.
    Dollars, as far as I know, don't get to vote directly.

    it seems you can't really understand his posts.

  18. Mike says:

    In politics, Seniors are a voting block that makes up for 16% of the (actually voting) electorate.

    Wall Street is merely a lobbying group.

    Seniors can protest by voting. Wall Street can only protest by lobbying, bribing, and buying votes.

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