Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Paul Krugman, an Inspiration to Us All

Paul Krugman, NYT columnist and alleged economist, keeps trying to practice political punditry. Well, he needs a lot more practice. Here are some bits (in italics) from today's column, interspersed with my comments:

Yet many voters still believe that Mr. Bush is doing a good job protecting America.

Well, so far, he is. I guess that fact is too obvious for Krugman to grasp.

...Dick Cheney is saying vote Bush or die....

Actually, Cheney said something to this effect: You're more likely to die if Kerry is elected. It wasn't a threat, it was a prediction. And not a bad one.

Can Mr. Kerry, who voted to authorize the Iraq war, criticize it? Yes, by pointing out that he voted only to give Mr. Bush a big stick.

Oh, was there an asterisk attached to Kerry's vote? I didn't see it in the Congressional Record.

Mr. Kerry can argue that he wouldn't have overruled the commanders who had wanted to keep the pressure on Al Qaeda, or dismissed warnings from former Gen. Eric Shinseki, then the Army's chief of staff, that peacekeeping would require a large force. He wouldn't have ignored General Conway's warnings about the dangers of storming into Falluja, or overruled his protests about calling off that assault halfway through.

He could argue those things, but he would be seen as nothing better than a Monday-morning quarterback. In any event, Krugman is studiously ignoring economic principles and bureaucratic facts of life: He doesn't address the opportunity costs associated with the actions he implicitly endorses, nor does he acknowledge the very likely fact that Bush (and Rumsfeld) acted on military and diplomatic advice in taking their decisions.

And why is Krugman doing offering advice about how to win a war he didn't want in the first place? What does he know about it, anyway? When I want to fight a war, I ask a general for advice. When I want to solve a problem in economics, I ask a real economist for advice. Where does that leave Krugman? Well, when I want to write a snarky post, I read Krugman for source material.