24 Mar 2010

Michael Kinsley Gets Bullied By Krugman, Yglesias Fans

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Back in the day, when I actually daydreamed about being on CNN’s Crossfire–this was about the time that I had a crush on Paula Abdul, to give you some perspective here–I always liked Michael Kinsley. I couldn’t stand his political views, but he seemed like he actually believed in what he was saying, and that it would be anathema to him to misrepresent his opponent’s views just to win through a cheap debating ploy.

With that background, you can imagine my anger when I read of Kinsley’s back-and-forth with Paul Krugman regarding inflation. Kinsley wrote this piece wondering how it can be possible that we got through the financial crisis just by printing up a trillion dollars and there won’t be any (price) inflationary consequences. Then Krugman put the dunce cap on Kinsley. Kinsley came back here with the following great paragraphs:

Krugman should stop bullying people with accusations of economic ignorance. I would never pretend to know a tenth of economics Paul knows. But if he means, in calling this distinction a matter of “textbook economics [subtext: you idiot],” that economic textbooks make this distinction, he is wrong. Or at least no such distinction between inflation and hyperinflation is made, despite an extensive discussion of inflation, in the leading economics textbook, by Harvard Professor Gregory Mankiw.

I have been waiting for Paul Krugman to tell me how we are going to handle the debt, once we get this recession out of the way. No, really. There’s no economist whose judgment I trust more. (About economics, that is.) I’ve been all for the stimulus and the jobs bill and even, I guess, the sundry bailouts. But don’t we at some point have to start paying the money back? And how are we going to do that? Krugman’s failure (unless I’ve missed it) to give us an answer to that question is one of the things that makes me worry.

But Krugman’s bullying is par for the course. What really drove me over the edge (as I waited in Goodyear so I was primed to be irritable) was reading the comments section in Matt Yglesias’ post. Just skim them. Not only do they claim Kinsley is an idiot for worrying about price inflation, but they also claim (a) Kinsley is a rich white guy and that has something to do with this, and (b) the financial markets aren’t forecasting inflation so it must be a dumb worry.

This is the same group of people who want stricter regulation to rein in the excesses displayed during the housing boom years, remember.

But the thing that’s really aggravating about all this, is that if, say, the dollar crashes in 8 months and we start running 12% annualized CPI growth, it’s not as if Krugman, Yglesias, et al. are going to say, “Gosh, I apologize for trashing Kinsley back in March 2010.” I don’t know what they’ll say, but I imagine it will involve international crackdowns on currency speculators.

2 Responses to “Michael Kinsley Gets Bullied By Krugman, Yglesias Fans”

  1. Bob Roddis says:

    These “progressives” never never ever care about facts, logic or fairness. Ever. We all need to get used to it. It’s like the law of gravity. Or the laws of Austrian economics.

    Tom Woods was on “public” radio yesterday. For the first 7 minutes, the NPR host (they must clone the same guy) let the opposing Duke Ginsburg Clerk Law Professor drone on about how there was no talk of nullification or states’ rights during the Dubya years. He’s saying this apparently to Tom Woods. Simply astonishing.

    The comments to the show are equally dumb and amazing. I never knew that Tom Woods was just another angry white conservative.

  2. Teqzilla says:

    Kinsley has now made a follow up to the follow up which includes an enjoyably sly portion in reference to Krugman’s 03 article.