November 2010 M T W T F S S « Oct 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30
First, Paul complains that government works are underpaid when education level is factored in. Steven Landsburg points out that they work less and have larger pensions, and then asks:
How can we ever be sure we’ve counted everything important? We can’t, as long as we do it Krugman’s way. So let’s do something sensible instead. Let’s look at quit rates. Quit rates in the public sector are about one third what they are elsewhere. In other words, government employees sure do seem to like holding on to their jobs. More than just about anyone else, in fact. Doesn’t that tell us everything we need to know about who’s overcompensated?
On macro matters, the professor thinks deficit spending on teachers is a wise use of debt that our future generations will have to repay. Wouldn’t it be nice if they could vote? Let’s hope they are taught the necessary skills to make enough income to fund their government services AND repay our misguided stimulus experiments. Todd Henderson at Truth on the Market weighs in on that theory:
Money not spent gets saved, and perhaps this is what Krugman has in mind. But saved money is not idle. If the savings to into the bank, the bank uses that money to lend it out to businesses looking to start or expand. On might argue that the banks are not lending out enough, but the reason for this is to help increase the stability of the financial system – remember too much lending was the problem – so this money is socially productive. If the savings go into stocks or bonds or other investments, again, this money is being allocated to increase the productive capacity of the economy. Money is not idle, it just works in different ways. So again, the question is not whether we should spend money but who should decide. For instance, if the Bush tax cuts are not repassed, my taxes are estimated to rise by about $1000 per month. This is money I won’t have to spend at this coffee shop, to repair my home, to send my daughter to art camp, and so on. This money will be available to spend on teachers, but why them and not the barista, plumber, or art teacher?
The distinguished professor is at it again with The Flimflam Man:
But it’s the audacity of dopes. Mr. Ryan isn’t offering fresh food for thought; he’s serving up leftovers from the 1990s, drenched in flimflam sauce.
Even before getting into the details of the plan, Krugman launches into an ad hominem we’ve-dismissed-this-before attack. Given trillions in unfunded liabilities mainly caused by 1930s & 60s leftovers, perhaps we should hear congressman out on this, Paul? Or do you perhaps have a better solution to all those liabilities? How about your awesome fiscally responsible friends in the Democratic Party?
The Tax Policy Center finds that the Ryan plan would cut taxes on the richest 1 percent of the population in half, giving them 117 percent of the plan’s total tax cuts. That’s not a misprint. Even as it slashed taxes at the top, the plan would raise taxes for 95 percent of the population.
That’s some fuzzy math, but when you view the world in terms of haves and have-nots, it makes perfect sense: one man’s gain is another’s loss. If I gain a pound of weight, someone must have lost a pound. If Daddy Warbucks pays 99% of city’s tax revenue, and you decrease it to 95%, well he can’t get better off if we’re not worse off right? The truth is he could get anywhere from 1 to 1000% of the plans total tax cuts depending on how much the rest of the taxpayers would have to pay, or not pay in a lot of cases.
And the money is ours to begin with. This notion that all income derives from the federal government and therefore it has a right to decide how much of our paycheck we’re allowed to keep has been disseminated by progressives like Krugman for the last 150 years. NEWS FLASH: It’s a government of the people and by the people. The people will decide how much of our income the government gets. Otherwise, it’s a violation of the 13th amendment.
And we already know, from experience with the Medicare Advantage program, that a voucher system would have higher, not lower, costs than our current system. The only way the Ryan plan could save money would be by making those vouchers too small to pay for adequate coverage. Wealthy older Americans would be able to supplement their vouchers, and get the care they need; everyone else would be out in the cold.
In practice, that probably wouldn’t happen: older Americans would be outraged — and they vote.
Oh, so paying for Obamacare with $200 billion in “savings” from Medicare will happen? Hell yeah, they vote. Can you say “Doc Fix”? And if you’re concerned wealth older Amercians will get too much, you just have to means test it, so there will be more for poorer retirees. Enough with the strawmen, Paul.
In 2007, at the height of the “Bush boom,” such as it was, median household income, adjusted for inflation, was still lower than it had been in 2000.
Do households work or vote? I always thought it was workers (silly me) but evidently Paul would like households to be mad at Bush so they don’t do anything “unenlightened” in November. So he reminds them of the higher income they (houesholds) had a the peak of the dot-com boom, pre-9/11-Enron economy than they had at time of the “Bush boom”.
Only problem is, households are always changing and were growing faster than the working population. Notice how he didn’t say “adjusted for household demographic changes” in addition to inflation. See What Does Median Household Income Really Mean?
So what about take-home pay? If you made the same amount as in 2000, but Uncle Sam confiscated less, aren’t you better off? The charts below clearly indicates that fact. While personal mean and median income was practically flat during the Bush years, Americans’ post-tax dollars continued to rise:
Like the rest of the intelligentsia, Krugman is simply deflecting scrutiny away from Obama’s abysmal performance handling the recession. I suppose Paul would say the stimulus packages and bailouts weren’t large enough, even though many economists are predicting their dire consequences for future administrations. Individuals can’t spend their way into prosperity; neither can governments.
He bent the truth to help the passage of the health care reform bill and now Paul Krugman is bending the truth to attack its critics:
Newt Gingrich, the Republican former speaker of the House — a man celebrated by many in his party as an intellectual leader — had to say: If Democrats pass health reform, “They will have destroyed their party much as Lyndon Johnson shattered the Democratic Party for 40 years” by passing civil rights legislation.
Nice paraphrasing, Paul. Goebbels would be proud. He actually was referring to LBJ’s economic policies, but since the current Speaker of the House wants to turn this into a civil rights issue, I can see why all opponents are racists in his mind. The editor even notes this fact at the bottom of the column.
Let’s see, who can we dishonestly vilify next, Paul?
Who in modern America would say that L.B.J. did the wrong thing by pushing for racial equality? (Actually, we know who: the people at the Tea Party protest who hurled racial epithets at Democratic members of Congress on the eve of the vote.)
Ah, yes. The “Teabaggers”, a favorite target of the knee-jerk Left. All opponents of government expansion are only concerned about non-whites getting benefits. Never mind that the vast majority of health care proponents and beneficiaries are white. Guilt by association. What do people who call Bush Hitler say about Paul’s side?
Yes, a few conservative policy intellectuals, after making a show of thinking hard about the issues, claimed to be disturbed by reform’s fiscal implications (but were strangely unmoved by the clean bill of fiscal health from the Congressional Budget Office) or to want stronger action on costs (even though this reform does more to tackle health care costs than any previous legislation).
Strangely unmoved by CBO estimates that have failed to predict skyrocketing costs in the major entitlement programs… crazy indifferent conservative intellectuals! And how does it tackle costs if you add 30 million to the system, then tax and under reimburse supply, Mr. Nobel? Why is Massachusetts (a practical guinea pig) in such bad shape? Out of talking points?
Truth lost this battle, but when this program turns out like all the others, there will be plenty of truth to fear on the Left.
Political Math wonders, as do I, how Krugman can deny the harsh reality of budget projections and skyrocketing debt:
The president has no plans to reduce mandatory spending whatsoever. In fact, his only change to entitlement spending is to increase it.
via How Big is $9 Trillion? – Willful Omissions From Paul Krugman « Political Math via Cafe Hayek.
You got to hand it to Krugman. He’s either willing to stake his entire reputation prescribing a government monopoly (or at least less competition) in health care or he’s giving new meaning to cognitive dissonance:
In Britain, the government itself runs the hospitals and employs the doctors. We’ve all heard scare stories about how that works in practice; these stories are false. Like every system, the National Health Service has problems, but overall it appears to provide quite good care while spending only about 40 percent as much per person as we do
via Swissifying American health care – STLtoday.com.
A recent academic study showed NHS delays in bowel cancer treatment were so great that, in one in five cases, cancer which was curable at the time of diagnosis had become incurable by the time of treatment.
Cash-strapped NHS hospitals chase private patient ‘bonanza’ Society Guardian via Cato
Unfortunately, the way Krugman is flat-out lying for this government is reminiscent of another Paul.
Mr. Obama was especially good when he talked about controlling medical costs. And there’s a crucial lesson there — namely, that when it comes to reforming health care, compassion and cost-effectiveness go hand in hand….
Many health care experts believe that one main reason we spend far more on health than any other advanced nation, without better health outcomes, is the fee-for-service system in which hospitals and doctors are paid for procedures, not results. As the president said Wednesday, this creates an incentive for health providers to do more tests, more operations, and so on, whether or not these procedures actually help patients.
I like how Paul accuses the entire medical profession of malice by prescribing unnecessary procedures and tests without any consideration of the patient’s well being. I also like how he dodges the critical question, just like the President did last night: how is something that’s supposed to save us all money going to add $1 Trillion to the national debt over the next 10 years?
This is a massive wealth redistribution program and nothing more. He could make health care more efficient just by letting people buy insurance out of state, or divorce health insurance from employment. These are obvious incremental remedies that wouldn’t break the bank, and could only reduce costs and make health coverage more secure.
Nobel laureate Paul Krugman says that he was attracted to economics because it seemed to him to reveal “the beauty of pushing a button to solve problems” (“Obama’s Nobel Headache,” April 6). Alas, like all economists who mistake their theories for reality, Mr. Krugman misses far too many of the all-important nuanced and ever-changing real-world facts masked by the Greek letters that economists of Mr. Krugman’s ilk use in their complex-seeming but inevitably simplistic mathematical equations.
I was attracted to economics for a reason quite the opposite of the one that appealed to Mr. Krugman, namely, because it helps explain how incalculably complex and productive social orders emerge from billions of individual actions, where no one of these actions is meant to achieve anything more than improvement in the welfare of the individual actor. This type of economics – associated most famously with Adam Smith – teaches that it is hubris of the most extreme sort to imagine that problems can be solved by pushing buttons.
Social-engineer wannabes such as Mr. Krugman might mean well, but they are dangerous; they suffer from what another Nobel laureate economist, F.A. Hayek, called “the fatal conceit.”