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.
Krugman insists that the Brett Kavanaugh controversy is all about entitled, envious white men terrified of losing their status and privilege. We SLIGHTLY disagree. SLIGHTLY.
Bob and Tom discuss the work of Bob's favorite economist, Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk. Böhm-Bawerk refuted many an economic fallacy in his day, including Marxism itself. We discuss the arguments he made as well as how he made them.
Krugman surprises us by writing about economics. He tells us that in the wake of the financial crisis, the public and even other economists have drawn the wrong lessons. Contrary to what you've heard, says Krugman, the Keynesian macro model did great during the crisis, while microeconomics is overrated. Well yes, we agree that Krugman's model did great...if we overlook all the times it blew up in his face.
This week's column, which makes hysterical claims about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, is a combination of baseless assertion and historical ignorance. Joining us for this week's dismantling is special guest and James Madison biographer Kevin Gutzman, professor of history at Western Connecticut State University.
We take a listener question -- early-bird registrants for the Contra Cruise got this as a bonus -- about what would happen if one country went completely stateless, but the rest of the world stayed the same. Lots of potential consequences here, and we do our best to sort them out! Plus the usual fun.
The Cato Institute recently issued a ranking of economic freedom in the 50 U.S. states. Krugman thinks they're defining freedom too narrowly, for surely workers in New York, where they have many protections, feel freer than workers elsewhere. He further suggests a positive correlation between economic freedom and infant mortality. These and other Krugman claims are ground into sausage.
Senator Warren has proposed sweeping changes to how corporations would be allowed to operate in the United States -- no longer will they cater to stockholders only, but they will have to take into account the needs of a wide range of "stakeholders" (workers, communities, etc.). Special guests Gene Epstein and Peter Klein join Tom.
Krugman calls Nancy Pelosi "by far the greatest speaker of modern times," and says she "surely ranks among the most impressive people ever to hold that position." He credits her with helping push along financial reform, Obamacare, the stimulus, etc. -- and that gives us a chance to smash all those things.
Krugman advances two main arguments against cryptocurrency. One of them, it turns out, applies equally well to the U.S. dollar, a point Krugman fails to acknowledge. Neither argument carries much sting, and in fact cryptocurrencies can parry Krugman's criticisms without breaking a sweat.