Critical Condition

Krugman Speaks!

Why is it that health-care socialism — oops, reform — has proven so difficult to enact through Congress?  Fear not, dear readers, the ineffable Paul Krugman has solved this particular puzzle by invoking the ghost of Richard Nixon, directly I might add, and not through the use of ouija boards and other similar tools needed by such amateurs and mere mortals as my good friend Michael Ledeen. Professor Krugman is on the case and he has solved it: This looming failure is the preferred outcome of “the right-wing fringe,” “crazy [as] a pre-existing condition” (whatever that means), that has taken over the Republican party.  Moreover, there is the “vast expansion of corporate influence” as illustrated by the “huge army of lobbyists permanently camped in the corridors of power,” with their “misleading ads” and “fake grass-roots protests.” 

And then there is the grand finale, the intellectual coup de grace, the crowning glory of KrugmanThink: “Given the combination of G.O.P. extremism and corporate power, it’s now doubtful whether health reform, even if we get it — which is by no means certain — will be anywhere near as good as Nixon’s proposal, even though Democrats control the White House and have a large Congressional majority.” 

So there we have it: The Democrats control the Beltway, but “lobbying and lies” have worked their magic. The lobbyists and the right-wing fringe have gotten to the centrist Democrats, who don’t know lies when they encounter them. It’s a huge conspiracy designed to deny health care to the masses. The only thing missing is a grassy knoll.

Now, let me be blunt: This argument is shameless in its dishonesty even by Krugman standards. All those seniors and others deeply concerned about their future health care needs?  They are the right-wing fringe.  All those lobbyists — Phrma and AHIP and the AMA and the AHA, ad infinitum — that the White House and the Congressional Democrats have coopted? They are tools of the Republicans. Etc.

And so I have a simple question: Does the New York Times op-ed page have any editors at all? Just asking.

Benjamin Zycher is a senior fellow at the Pacific Research Institute.