This blog will be an attempt to summarize the blog posts of Krugman. The emphasis will be to keep things very short and to the point so you know the jist of what is happening. Obviously you can go directly to Krugman’s blog for greater insight – but who has time/energy! The point here is give updates on big trends he is writing about and give ya’ll an update on who he is yelling at, fighting with, and his latest pontifications. Also you might think – why can’t I just read his twice weekly column? Hopefully I will keep the posts here shorter than his columns too and just give the most important and critical insights – but I will also talk about the fights and insults and idiosyncrasies he is known for. You won’t get that from his columns. And this part is what makes following him kind of fun – it’s actually a bit of entertainment to see him call out people for being rubes, liars and also read his arrogance. I actually mean the word arrogance in a positive light – I can’t imagine he would disagree that he comes across as arrogant, it’s that he genuinely feels he needs to come across that way in order to stand out and get people’s notice.
Why am I doing this? Hmm, good question, I think it is mostly because I thought I was a fiscal conservative – I thought the government should always spend less money and reduce taxation thus allowing the private sector to expand and create more opportunities for more people – but after reading his stuff for many years I understand there are exceptions. Forbes, WSJ, etc. however don’t feel there are any exceptions and I enjoy seeing them slug it out with each other. It really is a long running (four plus years at this point) drama and I want to see how it plays out. Secondly, he gives a lot of evidence for his positions and when I have the time, I like to try and figure out and understand what he is saying – it’s kind of like why certain people do crossword puzzles – it’s a great feeling when you figure them out, well I feel the same when I actually truly understand one of his posts.
A disclaimer is that I don’t have any deep knowledge of economics besides some early macro classes in the first year of college before I bailed out for something easier and much more interesting – history. But I think this helps me, since I really don’t understand a lot of economic lingo and will try and not use it in this blog – heck I still can’t figure out the phrase: ‘Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions’. I do have background from reading the Times, Forbes, and the WSJ consistently and trying to understand bigger macro fiscal needs. I used to be very fiscal conservative but reading Krugman’s blog over the years has convinced me to temper that a bit when in a balance sheet recession and a liquidity trap. Arrgh sorry about that – but couldn’t resist those two phrases. Reading Krugman just a little bit you’ll come across those words frequently. Balance sheet recession just means that the US economy did not grow in the last recession because too many people and organizations owned too much money so they could not spend anymore. I guess this is compared to a bubble bursting recession like in 2001 where the economy didn’t grow because the stock market collapsed and people and organizations felt poorer or a stagflation recession from the 70’s where the economy didn’t grow since there was high inflation and unemployment. Liquidity trap means that the government can’t help the economy recover using normal means (reducing the interest rate and thus getting more people to borrow and spend) since the interest rate is already close to zero.
Also a quick note on his and my political vantage points. While I certainly respect his economic analysis (or else I would not be doing this!) I do not agree with his viewpoints generally on world view or climate. For example back in the early to mid 2000’s he was lightening rod against Bush for his policies in Guantanamo Bay and he firmly believes in climate change. In these areas I believe he is over-stepping is bounds. While he is entitled to his opinions, I believe when he writes about these subjects he uses the same arrogant tone as when he talks about economics – but in these situations the answers are not as black and white and he seems to belittle people who don’t agree. Thankfully with the on-set since 2008 of the economic crisis his mentions of things like Gitmo and climate change have been minimal, he has focused on topics he knows best.