19 Apr 2014

More of Krugman’s Conscience

Krugman 23 Comments

OK, I realize I might not be the fairest judge on this, but I’m pretty sure it is an accurate statement to say that Paul Krugman recently called cancer patients whiners. Go ahead and see if I’m right by reading my latest Mises Canada post.

23 Responses to “More of Krugman’s Conscience”

  1. Cosmo Kramer says:

    Statists can use that logic to be for any government program that takes away our freedoms. What’s next, banning liability car insurance?

  2. Major_Freedom says:

    Krugman is the Machiavelli of the left.

  3. Ken B says:

    You are being misleading. Leaving aside the “looks like” you call an escape hatch –let’s agree to close it — he calls some specific complaints by some cancer patients whining. That is nothing like the blanket statement you suggest. I call some specific religious opinions of some economists foolish. It’s wrong to say “Ken B calls economists foolish. “

    • RIchard Moss says:

      I call some specific religious opinions of some economists foolish…

      Well, I think comparing that to what Krugman wrote is wrong.

      In the quote Bob provides Krugman writes “… the complaints of some already insured people…” not “… some of the complaints of some already insured people …”.

      • Ken B says:

        Oh you will fit in well here. Let’s look at the whole sentence shall we?

        “Compared with those benefits, the complaints of some already insured people that they have less choice of doctors than before, or that they’re no longer allowed to retain minimalist plans, look like whining.”

        You cut out “that” and the rest. He is talking about specific complaints of “some already insured people”, namely their restricted choices in doctors or minimalist plans.

        • Mike T says:

          ken, do you think krugman is implicitly saying that, while some are whining, there are others with legitimate complaints? i’m genuinely curious. has krugman acknowledged in any of his writings about the ACA that some people may be worse off than before?

          • Ken B says:

            I have no idea. I only ever read him when Murphy or Landsburg link to him. Probably not, he’s a partisan shill most of the time on issues like this. None of which changes the fact that Bob misrepresented him.
            Arguing that, well Sacco and Vanzetti were probably guilty of something, is not a good argument. Andrew’ made the right point if you want to slam Krugman over his column.

        • RIchard Moss says:

          Is writing ‘complaints some people are making’ and mentioning two specific complaints (the two, or some?) the same thing as writing ‘some specific complaints people are making.’?

          Just doing my best to fit in.

  4. Mike T says:

    No, he’s quite clearly dismissing all complaints. His reference to “some” isn’t some of total cancer patients, it’s some of all people impacted which includes those suffering from cancer. this guy is such scum. he could have made a net benefit type argument by recognizing that “some” are going to suffer increased costs or decreased benefits than prior to ACA, but on net, more people will benefit. Nope, he couldn’t even throw those people a bone.

    • andrew' says:

      Worse. He is dismissing complaints if people with high deductible catastrophic insurance.

      This is what real insurance is and the one proven that works to reduce costs.

      Worse than a horrible person, he is being a bad economist

      • Ken B says:

        That he IS doing: dismissing the complaints of the already insured that their catastrophic plans are gone. But that is NOT what Mike T or Richard Moss say or that Bob implies.

        And yes, it is cavalier of him.

        • andrew' says:

          Worse than cavalier. He is calculating.

          And here is THE question for him and his ilk. Not for me. For them.

          How does working insurance that people like stand in the way of what they want to do?

  5. Bob Roddis says:

    When he has a draft, he gives it to Wells to edit. Early on, she edited a lot—she had, they felt, a better sense than he did of how to communicate economics to the layperson. (She is also an economist—they met when she was a postdoc at M.I.T. and he was teaching there.) But he’s much better at that now, and these days she focusses on making him less dry, less abstract, angrier. Recently, he gave her a draft of an article he’d done for Rolling Stone. He had written, “As Obama tries to deal with the crisis, he will get no help from Republican leaders,” and after this she inserted the sentence “Worse yet, he’ll get obstruction and lies.” Where he had written that the stimulus bill would at best “mitigate the slump, not cure it,” she crossed out that phrase and substituted “somewhat soften the economic hardship that we face for the next few years.” Here and there, she suggested things for him to add. “This would be a good place to flesh out the vehement objections from the G.O.P. and bankers to nationalization,” she wrote on page 9. “Show us all their huffing and puffing before you dismiss it as nonsense in the following graf.”

    On the rare occasion when they disagree about something, she will be the one urging him to be more outraged or recalcitrant. She pushed him to denounce the filibuster. She wanted him to be more stubborn in holding out for the public option in the health-care bill. He spent a few sleepless nights wrestling with his conscience about that but ultimately decided that a flawed bill was so much better than no bill at all that he had to support it. “You can get beaten down,” he says. “When Robin and I started writing about health care, single payer was clearly the way to go. And then bit by bit you start saying, ‘O.K., you take what you can get.’ There’s a trap I’ve seen some people fall into—you let your vision of what should be get completely taken over by what appears possible right now—and that’s something I’m trying to avoid.”


  6. Bob Roddis says:

    I find it odd that someone who graduated from high school two years after me in 1971 during Viet Nam and the draft had no interest in politics until almost the age of 50 in 2000.

    In his columns, Krugman is belligerently, obsessively political, but this aspect of his personality is actually a recent development. His parents were New Deal liberals, but they weren’t especially interested in politics. In his academic work, Krugman focussed mostly on subjects with little political salience. During the eighties, he thought that supply-side economics was stupid, but he didn’t think that much about it. Unlike Wells, who was so upset when Reagan was elected that she moved to England, Krugman found Reagan comical rather than evil. “I had very little sense of what was at stake in the tax issues,” he says. “I was into career-building at that point and not that concerned.” He worked for Reagan on the staff of the Council of Economic Advisers for a year, but even that didn’t get him thinking about politics. “I feel now like I was sleepwalking through the twenty years before 2000,” he says. “I knew that there was a right-left division, I had a pretty good sense that people like Dick Armey were not good to have rational discussion with, but I didn’t really have a sense of how deep the divide went.”

    For the first twenty years of Krugman’s adult life, his world was divided not into left and right but into smart and stupid. “The great lesson was the low level of discussion,” he says of his time in Washington. “The then Secretary of the Treasury”—Donald Regan—“was not that bright, and you could have angry exchanges where neither side understood the policy.” Krugman was buoyed and protected in his youth by an intellectual snobbery so robust that distractions or snobberies of other sorts didn’t stand a chance. “When I was twenty-eight, I wouldn’t have had the time of day for some senator or other,” he says.

    • andrew' says:

      Or that after 50 someone suddenly ceases self-promotion to pursue a conscience.

      Maybe they just picked a new goal of self promotion.

      Its funny how he “used” to be an arrogant PRI…guy.

      • Bob Roddis says:

        Right. Because after 2000, Krugman was no longer an arrogant p**** concerned only with career-building.

  7. John says:

    It seems to me that Bob and nearly everybody commenting have way more than enough to disagree with Krugman about without resorting to a claim that he thinks cancer patients are big whiners. Krugman has been saying that the vast majority of hardship claims surrounding Obamacare have not withstood scrutiny, and that many of those who lost their policies actually ended up with better policies under the ACA, and actually have little to legitimately complain about. I don’t know that at least the first point is subject to real (as opposed to emotional or fanciful) factual dispute. I suppose one could criticize Krugman for not expressly carving out (as he probably should have) those very sick people who have lost good coverage for their Sloan-Kettering specialists, as reported in the Times, but do we really think Krugman just couldn’t care less about that? I mean, on that logic, one could say the opponents of Obamacare on this site don’t care about the many, many cancer patients bankrupted and dying because they lost or couldn’t get insurance prior to the ACA. I can tell that’s not true of Bob and others commenting just by reading the comments. I think one has to cut Krugman the same slack. Wrong? Sure. Heartless and unfeeling? He doesn’t read that way to me, any more than Bob does.

    • andrew' says:

      I have ONE rule.

      It is the one Krugman always breaks.

      Cur him some slack? I’d love to.

  8. andrew' says:

    Cancer patients ar in a sense heroes.

    It is not their fault the experiments we do on them are expensive, painful, and ineffective and the results often wasted.

    In fact they would quite prefer otherwise.

    • andrew' says:

      BTW. It us us who told them they really mean the .01% or lower.

      The 1% is your doctor, your accountant, maybe even your lawn guy. He is one of the guys who makes your car and a lot of other stuff.

      The arbitrary 1% number is just electioneering and smarter propaganda than Romney’s 47% or whatever.

      • andrew' says:

        Jumping back to aca, Krugman says the benefits of aca are immense because he is dismissing the net costs- one if which is that what insurance should be has been made illegal, which us one reason aca won’t even achieve zero sum.

    • Gamble says:

      American medicine cuts you and or drugs(poisons) you.

      No other options.

      • andrew' says:

        You can (so far) Opt out.

        You just can’t opt out of paying.

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