Bob minds the store and explains what is interesting about Krugman's discussion on bonds vs. stocks as ways to forecast recession, how an inverted yield curve signals problems, and the precise way that Trump could be depressing investment. Yet even though these abstract discussions are instructive, Bob argues that they don't really work in the cases where Krugman deploys them.
Show Notes for Ep. 200
Krugman says that since Trump's tax cuts amounted to nothing but a giveaway to wealthy shareholders, and since many of those are foreigners, the tax cuts amounted to a perverse foreign aid program.
Show notes for Ep. 199
In an "op-ed from the future," Krugman speculates about a world in which "the rich" have access to life-extending technology. Should they be allowed to have it if not everyone can afford it? This episode gets to the heart of the left-liberal worldview.
Show notes for Ep. 198
Krugman suggests that although it makes sense for much of the economy to be in private hands, there are some sectors where private control would yield perverse results. He devotes particular attention to so-called private prisons. So we set him straight. After all, that's why we're here.
Show notes for Ep. 197
There aren't any real socialists running in the Democratic Party, says Krugman, because none of them want to abolish private ownership of the means of production. Republicans level the accusation because they're ignorant idiots. Krugman wonders what would happen if Republicans began to be routinely referred to as fascists (as if isn't happening every day).
Show notes for Ep. 196
Krugman is horrified at Trump's pressure on the Federal Reserve to lower interest rates. Yet he thinks a case can be made for doing precisely that. What is Krugman to do?
Show notes for Ep. 195
Krugman is very impressed by Elizabeth Warren, who he thinks has a whole bunch of very good, detailed policy proposals. This is precisely what the world needs more of, he says: public policy proposals based on the best scholarly literature. He proceeds to misrepresent that literature. We nail him.
Show notes for Ep. 194
Krugman is horrified that Donald Trump has been critical of the National Health Service (NHS) in Britain. Why, the NHS is doing a great job! We put Krugman's arguments under a microscope.
Show notes for Ep. 193
We do another Q&A episode this week, a good portion of which revolves around the Federal Reserve: the best ways to undermine it, how we might transition away from it, whether a reckoning has to come even if the Fed never raises interest rates, and a lot more. Plus: would we rather debate ten duck-sized Krugmans or one Krugman-sized duck?
Show notes for Ep. 192
Bob flies solo to point out a shocking admission in Krugman's column: He actually thinks Democrats are lucky that Trump backed out of an infrastructure deal, even though Krugman also believes the deal would have helped the country. Bob goes on to explain what's wrong with Krugman's economic arguments for more government infrastructure spending.
Show notes for Ep. 191
Bob and Tom take some outstanding and very important and helpful listener questions in this episode, such as: what is one legitimate contribution a Keynesian has made? Can trade deficits be bad? What are the best critiques of Austrian economics you've heard? And plenty more.
Show notes for Ep. 190
The issue of international trade is not a simple one of a difference of opinion: Trump genuinely appears not to understand the subject. We sort it all out in this episode.
Show notes for Ep. 189
After having predicted that the election of Trump would lead to economic hard times as far as the eye could see, Krugman's new line is that of course the economy is strong: federal deficits have been driving it!
Show notes for Ep. 188
Krugman addresses the claim that Bernie Sanders, who until recently had been railing against "millionaires and billionaires," is a hypocrite since he's now a millionaire himself. Krugman proceeds to explain that among the super rich, most are right-wing and evil.
Show notes for Ep. 187
Had the Mueller report truly vindicated Krugman, we can be certain his victory-lap column would have come swiftly. Now that he's finally gotten around to mentioning it after a curious delay, he's jumping on the bandwagon of the Orwellian "Mueller proves we were right all along" segment of the American media.
Show notes for Ep. 186
Greg Mankiw, a professor of economics at Harvard, wrote an article for the New York Times urging America to preserve the Federal Reserve he loves. And what is that? A nonpolitical, nonpartisan, scientific economic management agency staffed by selfless advocates for the public good. David Stockman, director of the Office of Management and Budget under Ronald Reagan, joins us to dismantle it.
Show notes for Ep. 185
Krugman is very unhappy about the nominations of Stephen Moore and Herman Cain to the Federal Reserve's Board of Governors. (Cain's nomination now seems likely to be abortive.) Krugman devotes particular attention to Moore, whom he considers a partisan hack who changes his recommended policy depending on who is in power. We consider Krugman's accusations, and also discuss what the best monetary policy is regardless of the state of the economy.
Show notes for Ep. 184
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