Paul Krugman Watch: Framing The Divide As Foolishness Rather Than Strategy Serves No One

Paul Krugman writes that the right wing strategy is based on false principles. But he misses the point:

There were some technical problems with my earlier post on GOP deficit phoniness, although not in any way that changes the message. So, here’s an update. I use the intermediate-cost estimate from CRFB (pdf) for the four Republican plans, and for consistency, I use CRFB’s own estimate (pdf) for Obama. … So it remains true that all of the proposals, except maybe Ron Paul’s (which contains huge and probably impossible spending cuts) would lead to higher deficits than Obama, based on a common assessment. … So let me rephrase my question: what conceivable evidence would convince people that supply-side magic doesn’t work?


1) The conservative strategy is to starve the beast as the only hope of preserving their freedom and their culture. In that context, their approach is entirely rational for Schumpeterian reasons: in the battle between the public intellectual who would undermine their culture, and the entrepreneur who would preserve it, they are funding the entrepreneur. Again, this is an entirely rational strategy. It is absolutely straightforward. Just as it is rationally Schumpeterian that the public intellectuals like yourself seek to fund the state.

2) There is no community of common interest in the country any longer. The combination of immigration, relocation, the dissolution of the family, and the consequential abandonment of traditional values by the lower classes, when combined with the evolution of technology that rewards those who can process and use abstract rules and principles has guaranteed a permanent and irreversible conflict of values.

This is a religious conflict. This era is a battle of the communal religion of the secular state, and the aristocratic religion of the traditional classical liberals. The left’s strategy is to enable the lower classes to have a beneficent lifestyle. The right’s strategy is to constrain the reproductive ability of the lower classes and concentrate investment in the middle classes. Even if they must suffer hardship to obtain their political ends. There is nothing new about this conflict of visions. Its the female sentiment and male sentiment writ large.

Progressive economists are terrible historians and worse political philosophers. You cannot have consensus on policy in a divided electorate. Arguing over technicalities is simply a self congratulatory distraction.

I cannot tell whether you are intellectually honest. You are framing the debate under a false assumption that is contrary to the data. Since you’re doing that, it’s either an accident or an intentional misrepresentation. I don’t know which.

But by falsely framing the discourse, you do a disservice as a public intellectual, and hinder the resolution of the underlying conflict.

Demographically, your side will win within thirty years assuming there is no unforeseen change. But it will not because you convince anyone.

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