OK, the bad news is that so in order to watch Paul Krugman, you have to first endure Paul Ryan (R-Pissant) and his smarmy little mug, but don’t worry, the good news is he goes away pretty quickly!
But then — and this is more bad news — he is replaced by another idiot (Morning Joe) and Ed Rendell, who we have come not to like so much now that he is chairing the corporate-sponsored “Fix the Debt” campaign.
So anyway the video begins with Joe and whatshername asking Paul Krugman what the hell is going on in Spain. No, not as in “why is there 50% youth unemployment” but as in, “why are they buying your book over in Spain and also in Japan?” Important questions indeed.
Well, Joe and lady who sits next to Joe, they are buying his book in Spain because the economy is going to hell because of a little thing called “austerity,” which Paul Krugman patiently explains about for a few minutes, before moving on to explain why almost every aspect of our economic policy is wrong.
But this is the American media, so when someone is making sense, using “facts,” he or she must immediately be challenged by someone who does not make sense, and does not have any interest in “facts,” for balance, so at around 7:20, the camera spins around and Ed Rendell (who we used to really like!) starts talking about “people like Paul Krugman,” and how he is wrong about our need to “get entitlements under control.”
(Note: by “entitlements” he means “the benefits that you paid for, with your taxes, to avoid eating cat food when you get old.”)
Paul Krugman then gently reminds him about “facts” and “precedent,” and how dysfunctional our government is because it literally cannot do two things at once (spur job growth AND worry about the deficit).
Then Joe jumps in and expresses his worries about entitlements. This is what we call “rich, white people problems” given that Joe will never have to worry about paying for medical care, and will never have to worry about scraping together money for groceries, and will never have to really worry about anything pertaining to his financial well-being, because he is a millionaire. Therefore, he has time to really decide what he THINKS about entitlements, and conclude from all that thinking that entitlements are too generous, which of course makes sense to Joe because dire crushing poverty is a reality that he has never experienced and never will experience.
Anyway, it goes like that, with everyone saying stupid things to Paul Krugman, and Paul Krugman patiently explaining why he, a Nobel prize winner in economics, is right and they, who are not Nobel prize winners in economics, are wrong, until he finally gets testy when Ed Rendell tells him that his argument “makes no sense” because the Simpson-Bowles deficit-reduction plan “said we can do both,” cut the debt and spur the economy.
Krugman: So two guys can write a report that calls for all kinds of good stuff and they can’t even get their own commission to agree on the report. And you’re saying this should be our policy? We need to focus on what is urgent right now, which is creating jobs and getting this economy back to full employment.
Rendell: But the way you do that is to build a political coalition to do something about the long-term debt.
Krugman: Have you been living in the same country as I have these past five years?
Scarborough: My message is, we’ve got a coming collapse if we don’t take care of our entitlements.
Krugman: it’s a long way off, it’s not necessarily even true. All you’re saying is that we should lock in now the health care changes that we think we would have had to make within 15 years.
Haass (note: yes, Richard Haass is there too): Not just lock in changes, we’ve got to make real cuts over the next decade.
Krugman: No we don’t.
Haass: Yes, we do, we have got to find another $2 trillion…But what if [your] assumptions are wrong? You’re basically willing take enormous risks with the American economy.”
Krugman: people like me have been saying for five years, don’t worry about these deficit things for the time being, they’re a non-issue. Other people have been saying, ‘Imminent crisis, imminent crisis!’ How many times do they have to be wrong and do people like me have to be right before people start to believe this?
Haas: You’re right until the day you’re wrong, and that’s a bad day.
Well, Paul Krugman, this is what happens when you bring “facts” to an “ideology” fight, and also when you try to talk to people whose salary depends on them not understanding anything you are saying.