In this episode, Bob flies solo and fields another Contra Cruiser request. Specifically, he explains the standard Austrian approach to air pollution, and then talks about the risks of catastrophic climate change. Do libertarians just have to hope nothing really bad happens?
We get this question all the time: what did Krugman win it for, and can you explain it in an episode? It involves trade, and we're discussing it today.
It's one thing to find problems with the current monetary system. It's quite another to recommend an alternative. Switzerland has establishment commentators going berserk over its own proposal -- why, this would return us to the "Dark Ages," warns Business Insider. We're less interested in Switzerland than we are in figuring out what changes would move us in the right direction, and what changes would amount to the cure being worse than the disease.
Krugman bewails the mistakes and poor judgment of the establishment on both sides of the Atlantic, because the result has been a popular revolt tending towards fascism. We also discuss the euro, and Krugman's claim that "austerity" caused great damage to Europe. Paul Gottfried is our special guest.
Krugman is unconvinced by the Trump plan to get Americans lower drug prices, and tries to figure out why those prices are so high. Let's just say that in this episode we help him do a better job of that....
Krugman makes fun of the idea that conservatives and libertarians are treated particularly unfairly. Why, people criticize Krugman, too, and that's all right by him! Well, we have more fun in this episode than in any episode in recent memory. Not to mention: Tom says something fairly outrageous and decides to edit it out -- then let himself be talked into keeping it in the episode. You'll know it when you hear it....
Philip Goff argues that libertarians make a variety of unsupported and unsupportable assumptions when they claim that taxation is theft. We defend the libertarian claim against Goff. (What else did you expect us to do?)
Krugman says renewable energy is getting less expensive and more realistic as a power option all the time, and that the only thing standing in the way are shills for the various fossil-fuel industries. Really?
Opponents of protectionism sometimes misrepresent what the real danger of it is. It isn't going to cause a depression or mass unemployment. But it does do something -- beyond just raising domestic prices -- that undermines everyone's standard of living.
Krugman insists on the validity of the Phillips Curve, which purports to show an inverse relationship between unemployment and inflation, but the causal mechanism Krugman sees between them is straight out of Keynesian la-la land.
Today we branch out a bit and take on one of Robert Reich's popular (but obviously simplistic) videos about what's gone wrong with the economy. Why, we once had strong labor unions, education, and health care, and then big money corrupted politics and we don't have any of these things, and that's where our problems come from. We're further told that the financial crisis was caused by banks "gambling," and by fraud. (He never asks why the banks should suddenly have started gambling at a particular moment, as opposed to 50 years ago; there certainly was no "deregulation" that artificially encouraged "gambling," contrary to popular belief.)
Trump's tariffs are bad economics, so Krugman isn't entirely wrong, but his cheerleading for some of the well-known trade agreements needs the gentle correction we're known for on this show....
Krugman insists that Republicans are unique in refusing to admit to making mistakes, lying about their intentions, etc. Of course, these are characteristics of the entire regime, but Krugman, who is deeply tied to that regime, can never admit this. Bob and Tom, however, are subject to no such constraints.
Krugman insists that "the stock market is not the economy," and that downturns in the stock market need not portend bad economic times. But he takes the opportunity of stock market volatility to evaluate the present condition of the economy and its prospects for growth.
Krugman thinks Bitcoin serves no good purpose, except perhaps for people who are up to no good, and is powered by libertarian fantasies and paranoia. Bob and Tom have some fun banter on this one.
Krugman complains about Trump again this week, and blames him for (among numerous other things) the loss of U.S. credibility abroad. We take a stroll down (recent) memory lane to add some perspective: there's plenty of presidential crappiness to go around.
This week we bypass Krugman's columns to discuss the different schools of Keynesianism, how and when they emerged, and what their differences are.
Krugman hits a bunch of themes in this one, among them Alexander Hamilton, Russiagate, and the claim that no president ever acted on the desire to imprison his opponents. We restore a bit of perspective by glancing back at American history.
Immediately after the 2016 election, Krugman predicted markets would "never" recover, but after a strong 2017, Krugman is suddenly reminded that presidents don't have much influence over the economy after all. But if we should need more stimulus, he says, we'll be sorry we don't have a Keynesian in office.