The Corner

America’s Least Plausible Populist?

Paul Krugman, a New York Times columnist, Nobel Prize winning economist, Princeton professor, and Centenary Professor at the London School of Economics has a beach house in St. John and two cats named Doris Lessing and Albert Einstein. He has written that the reason he got into economics in the first place is “because I read Isaac Asimov’s Foundation novels, in which social scientists save galactic civilization, and that’s what I wanted to be.” I don’t think I am venturing into ad hominem when I say he has a well-earned reputation for having a very high self-regard and a pronounced tendency to denigrate the intelligence of those who lack the proper credentials or who simply disagree with him.

In his column today he goes after “policy elitists” whom he describes as “self-appointed wise men, officials, and pundits in good standing” who go around “lecturing the rest of us.”

I thought that use of the word “us” was the funniest thing I’ve read in a while.

Update: Some readers and commenters are complaining that I’ve defended elitism in the past and that I failed  to address the substance of Krugman’s article.


Sure, I’ve defended elitism in the past. And I’ll do so again in the future. I’m not attacking Krugman for being an elitist. I’m laughing at him for trying to sound like he isn’t one. I kind of  thought that would be obvious.

As for the substance of his argument. You’ve got to be kidding. The substance of his argument is the same junk he’s been screaming about for years. Bush — chiefly through his tax cuts and the Iraq war — is the source of all of our problems.

My critics who think I’m ignoring this argument may have a point. But they miss why I’m ignoring it. I’m ignoring it because it is stale beyond words. He is correct that the policy elite has been behind the curve, but only someone blinded by his deep-seated and utterly conventional liberal-policy-elite passions would point to the tax cuts and the Iraq war as proof of the point or, more importantly, pretend that it is a novel insight.

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