Since I’m still getting ready to hammer him for his defense of Gruber post, I want to make sure to heap kudos on Steve’s most recent post on Krugman, regarding Krugman’s post defending Obama’s immigration announcement. Some key excerpts:
Dammit, I hate this stuff. Krugman says (and I agree with him) that it’s cruel to deport people. He ignores the fact that it’s also cruel to keep other people out. Krugman says (and I agree with him) that letting more people in would put pressure on the welfare system. He ignores the fact that allowing people to stay also puts pressure on the welfare system. Why should we prioritize kindness to those who are already here over kindness to those who are clamoring to get here?
There might be a really good answer to that question, but you’d never know it from reading Krugman. In fact, the takeaway from Krugman’s column is that the cruelty of deportations is unacceptable only because Krugman says so, and the cruelty of closed borders is a necessary evil only because Krugman says that too. So the next time you want to know whether some other policy is unacceptably cruel or not, the only way to find out is to ask Paul Krugman.
According to Krugman, if you support the cruelty of deportations, you’re an evil person, but if you support the cruelty of closed borders, you’re a pragmatic adult. Why? Because Paul Krugman said so. Might there be a subject — like, oh, say, economics — that can help us think more clearly and systematically about such issues? If so, you’d never learn about it by reading Krugman. He wouldn’t want to risk teaching his readers to think.
BTW, I really have not studied the immigration issue enough to comment on Obama’s announcement per se. The only thing I would reiterate is that I think it’s a bad idea for ultra-libertarians to refer to their position as “open borders,” since it’s not really what they believe and it is a red flag to those supporting a stronger State-enforced border.