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Hometown: Xenia, OH
Member since: Tue Sep 19, 2006, 04:46 PM
Number of posts: 20,295

Journal Archives

Krugman: Wall Street Now Hates Democrats (including you-know-who)

Over at Vox, Jonathan Allen notes that Hillary Clinton, sometimes derided on the left as doing Wall Street’s bidding, is actually getting a lot less Wall Street money than people think. Allen notes that during her husband’s administration Clinton was known for her relative antipathy toward financial types, which may be part of the story. But you should also put this in the context of finance’s hard turn against Democrats in general. In 2004, facing an election whose outcome was uncertain, finance and insurance split its donations almost equally between the parties; in 2012 it gave well over twice as much to Republicans as to Democrats.

The reason is, of course, financial reform. Anyone who tells you that reform was meaningless and that there’s no difference between the parties should follow the money, which thinks that there is a big difference indeed.


Not only "passed with a veto-proof majority"; Truman vetoed it then the "Republican dominated

Congress" passed it over his veto.

You are right. Unions cannot regain the health they had under FDR, or the relative health they now have in Europe and other developed countries, with Taft-Hartley restrictions, including 'right-to-work' laws, in effect.

Krugman: The EU may have been a great idea. The euro, not so much.

Annoying Euro Apologetics

Yes, I’m a dumb uncouth economist, completely unaware of the role of politics and international strategy in policy decisions, who never heard of the European project and its origins in the effort to put Europe’s legacy of war behind it, not to mention strengthen democracy in the Cold War.

Well, actually I do know all about that. The point, however, is that while the European project has at every stage combined economic objectives with broader political goals – it’s about peace and democracy through integration and prosperity – the project can’t be expected to work unless the economic measures are a good idea in and of themselves, or at least a non-catastrophic idea. What happened in the march to the euro was that European elites, in love with the symbolism of a single currency, closed their minds to warnings that currency union – unlike the removal of trade barriers – was at best ambiguous in its economic logic, and arguably, even ex ante, a very bad idea indeed.

After that slump, Finland experienced a long stretch of solid economic growth. But so did Sweden, and it’s hard to see any real difference in their degrees of success. There’s certainly nothing there to indicate that euro membership was crucial to growth. Since 2008, on the other hand, Sweden has – despite bobbling its monetary policy – done much better.

As I said, maybe there are good arguments against the proposition that the euro was a mistake. But pointing out that politics matters, and economies grow, doesn’t cut it; these aren’t the factoids you’re looking for.


Pew Poll: Iran Nuclear Agreement Meets With Public Skepticism. Large partisan divide.

Among those who are familiar with the agreement, three-quarters of Republicans (75%) disapprove of it, while just 14% approve. Opposition is particularly pronounced among conservative Republicans, with 82% disapproving of the agreement. Among moderate and liberal Republicans a smaller majority (58%) disapproves.

Democratic support for the agreement outweighs opposition by more than two-to-one (59% approve, 25% disapprove). And liberal Democrats are particularly supportive: 74% approve of the deal. Conservative and moderate Democrats who are familiar with the agreement support it by a considerably narrower margin (48% approve, 33% disapprove).

Most Americans Continue to Say Diplomacy is Best Way to Ensure Peace

In general, the public continues to say that good diplomacy, rather than military strength, is the best way to ensure peace. Nearly six-in-ten (58%) say good diplomacy is the best way to ensure peace; 30% say the best way to ensure peace is through military strength. These views have changed only modestly since the question was first asked two decades ago.

There continue to be wide partisan and ideological divides on this question: While 72% of Democrats (including 81% of liberal Democrats) say that good diplomacy provides the best path to peace, Republicans are more likely to say military might, rather than diplomacy, is the best way to ensure peace (49% vs. 36%).


I found some Krugman articles that dispel the "it was all the tech bubble" that caused the boom

in wages and employment during the Clinton years.

Clinton derangement syndrome

In my previous post I used the example of Clinton-era growth to argue that even growth in the mid-3s wouldn’t be enough to bring unemployment down anywhere near quickly enough. And sure enough, many of the comments are along the lines of “Clinton doesn’t deserve credit for the growth” or “It was all the tech bubble.”

Um, I never claimed that it was all Clinton’s achievement. Nor did what I said have anything to do with the sources of the growth (it wasn’t all a bubble, but that’s another issue). I used the Clinton year because they offer a useful example of what growth at the kind of rate we just saw in the 3rd quarter means for employment.

Yes, I had a parenthetical aside about Clinton-era growth being faster than most people realize. So?

But I guess I sort of expected this. Even now, any mention of anything good that happened between the end of 1992 and the beginning of 2001 is like waving a red flag. Amazing.


Clinton presided over eight years of job growth, with job growth at roughly equal rates in the first and second halves of that eight-year period, and the internet bubble inflated only in the second half.

Yes, dotcoms went to ridiculous levels — but people weren’t borrowing vast amounts to buy them, so there wasn’t a deleveraging crisis when the bubble burst.

The point here is that while there was irrational exuberance in the 1990s, the Clinton-era expansion wasn’t fundamentally unsound the way the expansion of 2003-2007 — the “Bush boom” — was.


I’m old enough to remember the cries of doom when Clinton pushed through an increase in top tax rates. If you were reading the WSJ editorial page, or Forbes, or listening to Newt Gingrich, you knew that it was time to sell all your stocks and wait for the depression.

And Obama, of course, was bringing on hyperinflationary collapse with his health reform and tax hikes at the top.

Needless to say, none of it happened; what the Democratic booms show is that you can strengthen the safety net and raise taxes on the wealthy without causing economic disaster.

If politics made any sense, Democrats would be celebrating Clinton in the way Republicans celebrate the blessed Ronald, and they’d be hailing Obama as Saint Bill’s second coming.


Is Donald Trump the New Ross Perot? Or the Next Pat Buchanan?

Who are these Trump backers? As the accompanying table shows, they are disproportionately white. Favorable views of Trump among African Americans are minimal, and Hispanic boosters are at a higher level than blacks but well below that of whites. Older voters (those age 65 and over) undoubtedly form his core; in fact, the 65+ group is the only age cohort to view him favorably, 59% to 39%, virtually the opposite view of all other age groups. Trump has particularly little appeal among younger, more diverse voters: 20% of those under 30 rate Trump favorably (versus 60% unfavorably). Trump also fares somewhat better with men than women, and those with lower incomes ($40,000 and less).

How does the Trump profile compare to Ross Perot ...? ... there are significant similarities in the support profile of Trump and Perot, as shown in Table 2. Perot’s vote was disproportionately white, male, and Republican or Independent. However, there is one notable difference: Perot fared best not with the oldest cohort but with voters between 25-29 years, and more generally with voters under 50 — not the retirees attracted to Trump.

The other modern candidate bearing some resemblance to Trump also comes from 1992. Populist conservative Pat Buchanan challenged President Bush in the Republican primaries, and ran fairly strongly in the New Hampshire primary (37% to Bush’s 53%). ... Buchanan trailed Bush 18% to 77% nationally among Republicans; still, the former Richard Nixon aide and TV personality ran better with men, younger voters, and those with less than a high school education (and presumably, those with lower incomes).

It’s easy to conclude that Donald Trump isn’t going to help the GOP’s image with Hispanics and many swing voters, but it’s also impossible to know how much Trump will actually injure the Republican brand in this cycle. How long will he stick around? If Trump drops out before the voting begins in early 2016, or even midway through the primary season, voters will have many months to forget and move on. Yet Trump could stick it out, get his slice of votes all the way to June, and deliver a raucous, memorable address to a huge TV audience at the national convention. In the short term, Trump takes up a huge amount of media oxygen. There’s only so much coverage to go around, and if television segments and news stories continue to focus on Trump, that’s airtime that candidates with less name recognition — like Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, John Kasich, and many others — are not getting.

In the worst nightmare for the eventual Republican nominee, Trump might run as an independent in November once the primary process has concluded. “Sore-loser” laws that exist in 44 states do not generally apply to presidential candidates, and even in the few cases where they do, a court challenge by Trump might well be successful. In part, this is because the “candidates” on the ballot in a general election for president are the electors, not the politicians to whom the electors are pledged.


Krugman: Hurray for Obamacare. The great conservative nightmare has come true.

Was I on the edge of my seat, waiting for the Supreme Court decision on Obamacare subsidies? No — I was pacing the room, too nervous to sit, worried that the court would use one sloppily worded sentence to deprive millions of health insurance, condemn tens of thousands to financial ruin, and send thousands to premature death.

It didn’t. And that means that the big distractions — the teething problems of the website, the objectively ludicrous but nonetheless menacing attempts at legal sabotage — are behind us, and we can focus on the reality of health reform. The Affordable Care Act is now in its second year of full operation; how’s it doing?

The answer is, better than even many supporters realize.

Now, you might wonder why a law that works so well and does so much good is the object of so much political venom — venom that is, by the way, on full display in Justice Antonin Scalia’s dissenting opinion, with its rants against “interpretive jiggery-pokery.” But what conservatives have always feared about health reform is the possibility that it might succeed, and in so doing remind voters that sometimes government action can improve ordinary Americans’ lives.

That’s why the right went all out to destroy the Clinton health plan in 1993, and tried to do the same to the Affordable Care Act. But Obamacare has survived, it’s here, and it’s working. The great conservative nightmare has come true. And it’s a beautiful thing.


Nice to hear from Krugman on the success of Obamacare.

Attacking the character of the poster rather than responding to content of the post.

It also shows Democratic support (and republican opposition) for NAFTA & free trade generally.

... opinions of NAFTA today are no longer bi-partisan, with Democrats far more positive than Republicans about the agreement. Majorities of Democrats believe NAFTA has been good for consumers and for companies (only 41% and 37% of Republicans respectively agree). Half of Democrats say NAFTA has been good for the economy (just 37% of Republicans think that). However, Democrats divide evenly on whether NAFTA has been good for U.S. jobs (half of Republicans say it has not). Overall, Democrats say NAFTA has been good for the country, while Republicans disagree.

And by two to one, Democrats say free trade generally is good for the United States, something Republicans, whose party is known more for favoring free trade, divide on in this poll.

That seems to be what every poll shows.

The campaign rhetoric in the 1932 presidential race between FDR and Hoover was weird.


After making an airplane trip to the Democratic convention, Roosevelt accepted the nomination in person. In this history-making speech, Roosevelt promised to "abolish useless offices" and "eliminate unnecessary functions of Government", stating that "Government – Federal and State and local – costs too much", and promised to help facilitate the "restoration of the trade of the world".

... there emerges one great, simple, crystal-pure fact that during the past ten years a Nation of 120,000,000 people has been led by the Republican leaders to erect an impregnable barbed wire entanglement around its borders through the instrumentality of tariffs which have isolated us from all the other human beings in all the rest of the round world. ... By our acts of the past we have invited and received the retaliation of other Nations. I propose an invitation to them to forget the past, to sit at the table with us, as friends, and to plan with us for the restoration of the trade of the world.

Go into the home of the business man. He knows what the tariff has done for him. Go into the home of the factory worker. He knows why goods do not move. Go into the home of the farmer. He knows how the tariff has helped to ruin him.

Making matters worse for Hoover was the fact that many Americans blamed him for the Great Depression. For more than two years, President Hoover had been restricting trade and increasing taxes on the wealthy with legislation such as the Smoot–Hawley Tariff Act and the Revenue Act of 1932.

Roosevelt lashed out at Hoover: "I accuse the present Administration of being the greatest spending Administration in peacetime in all our history." Garner (FDR's VP) accused Hoover of "leading the country down the path of socialism." ... His attempts to campaign in public were a disaster, as he often had objects thrown at him or his vehicle as he rode through city streets. In his addresses, Hoover attacked Roosevelt as a capitalist president who would only make the Depression worse by decreasing taxes, reducing government intervention in the economy, promoting "trade the world", and cutting "Government –Federal and State and local". However, with unemployment at 23.6%, Hoover's criticisms of Roosevelt's campaign promises did nothing more than further lower his popularity with the public. Roosevelt himself did not have a clear idea of the New Deal at this point, so he promised no specific programs.


Apparently campaign rhetoric has always been an inexact science.

Thankfully, once FDR took office he governed like a true liberal which is way more important.
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