On this final episode of Contra Krugman after nearly five years, we analyze Krugman's horrified response to state reopenings after the lockdowns.
With his usual magnanimity, Krugman declares that the epidemiologists have been completely accurate in their warnings during the pandemic, whereas those who want to reopen the economy are trying to kill workers. Tom and Bob beg to differ.
In his attempt to praise Powell and criticize Trump, Krugman admits that the "real economy" is in terrible shape, and that the stock market has done well only because of low interest rates and the Fed's emergency actions. Krugman says this pattern holds not only for our post-covid world, but ever since the mid-2000s. He thus ironically agrees with Austrian critics who've warned for years that the Fed was blowing up massive asset bubbles.
Krugman is unhappy that the "right wing" is more apt to listen to people he considers quacks than to people he considers experts, and he says the COVID-19 problem is yet another example. We are unconvinced.
Guest co-host Richard Ebeling -- who was one of Bob's own economics professors -- joins me to discuss Krugman's qualified support for the $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill recently signed into law, and why we shouldn't be cheering.
This episode delves into all the key questions surrounding the economics of the coronavirus crisis: bailouts, Federal Reserve policy, payments to individuals, the effects of the shutdown, and more.
In a perhaps surprising move for someone who said "deficits matter again" upon Trump's election, Krugman now makes the case for perpetual budget deficits in the range of 4% of GDP. This will facilitate much-needed "stimulus spending" in an era of weak growth and low inflation. Tom and Bob point out the fallacies in this thinking.
What really matters, says Krugman, is financial regulation. And only Elizabeth Warren can deliver, because Bernie will expend his political capital on unwinnable issues, and Bloomberg's heart isn't in it. We respond, as usual.
Krugman complains that during the Obama years, when deficit spending was desperately needed, obstructionist Republicans opposed it out of what they claimed was principle, but was mere spite. Now, he says, with a Republican in the White House, they couldn't care less about deficits. What's really going on here? That's our topic for this episode.
Krugman says Greta Thunberg is closer the economics mainstream than are her critics. Quite a few whoppers to deal with in this one, as you can surely imagine.
That's Krugman's message now. Interestingly, back in 2003 the very indicators he's now using to tell us not to worry were actually less pronounced, and yet back then he was warning of a "fiscal train wreck." In any case, today we discuss what the genuine problems with the deficit are, and why it makes perfect sense to be concerned about it.
Show notes for Ep. 215
Krugman blames the "austerity" that began a decade ago for ensuing economic ills and political instability. This is a fashionable enough view, but the evidence against it is more or less overwhelming. Enjoy!
Show notes for Ep. 214
Although details are still emerging, a deal has evidently been reached between China and the United States regarding trade. Did Trump accomplish anything (from his standpoint)? Was the whole thing a waste of time and resources? Did it create uncertainty in the business world? What should we think about trade deficits? It's all in here, folks.
Show notes for Ep. 213
We discuss the impeachment, Krugman's selective praise for whistleblowers, and what the correct approach to the problem of "crony capitalism" should be.
Show notes for Ep. 212
We recorded this episode before a live audience at -- of all places -- the Austrian central bank in Vienna, where the Austrian Economics Center held a two-day academic conference. We respond to Krugman's key claim: namely, that Eurosclerosis is long over, and that Europe can no longer be cited with any plausibility as evidence that significant social spending and regulation retard employment.
Show notes for Ep. 211
Krugman is impressed by the detail and alleged seriousness of Elizabeth Warren's Medicare for All plan and how it will be paid for. Bob and Tom, by contrast, are not so impressed.
Show notes for Ep. 210
Krugman criticizes Democrats who think automation is behind American job losses. But just when he's sounding sensible, he jumps back into "inadequate spending" being the problem.
Show notes for Ep. 209
We got a lot of requests for an episode on debt after Krugman tweeted that "debt is money we owe to ourselves." What's the real truth?
Show notes for Ep. 208
Historian and podcast host Brion McClanahan joins Bob to discuss Krugman's defense of Elizabeth Warren against the big bad plutocrats, who apparently are threatening to support Trump if she's the Democratic nominee. Krugman dismisses the possibility that these wealthy people might oppose Warren's wealth tax, and instead suggests that the real reason they hate Warren is that she hurt their feelings.
Show notes for Ep. 207
Krugman says people on the political right get inordinately worked up over minor regulations that have a clear public benefit, and that such people now have a champion in the White House. Could there be a reason other than derangement for why people get upset about various kinds of regulation? Bob and Tom discuss.
Show notes for Ep. 206
Krugman argues that an undemocratic, authoritarian regime is being built in the United States, and cites Sharpiegate and Trump's treatment of the auto industry as prime examples.
Show notes for Ep. 205
We take listener questions in this episode, from Krugman's worst blunders, to how the Fed might return interest rates to their natural level, to a former Fed official's implication that the Federal Reserve ought to make Trump's reelection more difficult.
Show notes for Ep. 204
Because Krugman is a bore, Tom and Bob field questions from the listeners. They handle objections about their recent arguments concerning the economics of slavery, clear up apparent contradictions in the libertarian handling of free trade and the welfare state, and explain Rothbard's view of debt repudiation.
Show notes for Ep. 203
David Stockman, director of the Office of Management and Budget under Ronald Reagan, joins Tom (Bob is on vacation) to explain what's really happening with the current inverted yield curve, as well as how to tell real growth from phony growth, and a lot more.
Show notes for Ep. 202
The ordinarily serene Bob Murphy is genuinely outraged in this episode, in which we cover Krugman's casual claim that Donald Trump is trying to establish an "authoritarian, white nationalist regime." Needless to say, it does not matter what your opinion of Trump is. This idea is out of some sort of alternate reality that in no way corresponds to the real world, but which in classic Orwellian style is presented as if all reasonable people just know it to be true.
Show notes for Ep. 201