Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the controversial left-wing member of Congress, got into a Twitter war when she observed that a mere croissant at La Guardia Airport goes for $7, yet some people think $15 is too much to ask for a whole hour of human labor! She started it, we finish it.
Show notes for Ep. 183
In paying his respects to the recently deceased Alan Krueger, author of the widely discussed 1994 Card-Krueger study on the minimum wage, Krugman praises him for changing the way economists think about that subject. According to Krugman/Krueger, the labor market is more complicated than we thought, and increases in the minimum wage appear to have little to no effects on employment. Here's our reply to all this.
Show notes for Ep. 182
Krugman starts off more or less all right in this one, arguing that robots aren't the reason wages aren't higher. But then he goes off into cloud cuckoo land, blaming the problem on a decline in labor unions. We also discuss the controversy about the connection (now broken, say some) between productivity and wages.
Show notes for Ep. 181
Krugman can't get over the stupid things his opponents get upset about, and how full of irrational rage they are -- quite unlike today's left, you understand.
Show notes for Ep. 180
This week, although we do cover Krugman a bit, we use a recent Caitlin Johnstone article as a springboard for discussion. With social media and traditional media in swarm mode against perpetrators of thoughtcrime, what is the best approach to maintain one's good name?
Show notes for Ep. 179
This week Krugman endorses Elizabeth Warren's plan for subsidized child care at the federal level. It's so cheap, and it would help so many people! Meh.
Show notes for Ep. 178
Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) is picking up steam (thanks to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders), to the point that even Krugman is alarmed. Yes, he says, you will have to raise taxes to pay for what progressives want. This is the episode folks have been asking us for.
Show notes for Ep. 177
Socialism isn't all that radical, insists Krugman. Plus: virtually all people who call themselves socialists just want to be like Denmark, not Venezuela or the Soviet Union. They just want poor people cared for! Anyone who thinks nicey-nice socialism like this could lead to bad outcomes is crazy and unreasonable, he says. So, as usual, we respond.
Show notes for Ep. 176
Krugman says nobody really supports free-market (what he calls "conservative") economics. Racists tolerate it because it's the only way they can get their racism fix; the Republicans, who give them the racism they seek, cling to "conservative" economics, so racists grudgingly accept it. But most Americans are far left on economics, which is why Howard Schultz, who's trying to combine some kind of fiscal restraint with social liberalism, is encountering so much hostility. It's a nutty column, but it yielded a great, punchy episode.
Show notes for Ep. 175
The proposals to tax the rich much more heavily are coming fast and furious from Democratic presidential candidates. We examine the ideas and so-called economics behind it all.
Show notes for Ep. 174
Krugman says that the case for putting the government directly in charge of approximately one-third of the economy is very strong. We're not so sure it's quite so strong.
Show notes for Ep. 173
Krugman points out that even though Republicans have been calling for limited government for as long as anyone can remember, now that the federal government shutdown is upon us they're desperate to get emergency funding for various government functions. In this episode, we discuss this argument, as well as whether the shutdown is really a "big libertarian experiment," as Krugman claims.
Show notes for Ep. 172
Paul Krugman loves Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and says her suggestion for a much higher top marginal income tax rate is actually well founded and economically sound. Now if the column were just about that, it'd make for a great episode of Contra Krugman. But the way Krugman speaks of "the rich" is downright sinister, and we hit that head on as well.
Show Notes for Ep. 171
Krugman can't believe that the same people warning about expansionary monetary policy under Barack Obama are suddenly concerned about contractionary monetary policy under Donald Trump. You already know part of the answer: Krugman is as inconsistent as the folks he criticize are. But we have much more for you, particularly: what's so bad about the Federal Reserve's intervention into the economy?
Show Notes for Ep. 170
Why can't Krugman be a plain old economist who speaks in a nonpartisan way? That's what supporters asked after hearing him speak dispassionately about trade on a recent podcast. His answer: people who oppose me on fiscal and monetary policy are partisan cranks with no scientific standing, so they deserve to be smashed. In this episode, we do the smashing.
Show Notes for Ep. 169
Newly elected member of Congress Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been calling for a "Green New Deal," which she says will at once confront the dangers of climate change and also provide good jobs at living wages and overturn racial and gender injustices. We are unconvinced.
Show notes for Ep. 168
We take on additional hard questions for libertarians: quarantines (for infectious/incurable diseases), terrorism, Somalia, and climate change.
Brazil's economy was booming and everything looked great, and then it suffered a severe slump. What the heck happened? Well, whether or not you're interested in Brazil you'll be interested in Krugman's attempted answers and our replies. (You'll also be shocked to learn that Krugman has quietly changed his position on Brazil, hoping no one would notice. No such luck, Paul.)
Krugman laments that the Senate disproportionately represents people he obviously dislikes. we use that as a springboard for a lively discussion of the recent midterm elections and what's really going on in American politics.
The apparent murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the hands of the Saudis was the subject of this Krugman column, which discusses and criticizes the Trump response. Foreign-policy expert Scott Horton joins us for this chilling episode.
Aboard our third Contra Cruise, we take on some of the hardest questions libertarians have to answer: roads, the poor, defense, and more.
During and after the financial crisis the Fed increased the monetary base to an unprecedented extent. Everyone hailed it for its wisdom. but that alleged solution is now a major problem hanging over the economy. What if anything can the Fed do now?
The media is delighted that William Nordhaus shared this year's Nobel Prize in economics. Why, he warns about the damage likely to be caused by climate change, just as we do! Not so fast, alarmists. Not so fast.