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Monday, October 13, 2008


Given the hysterical attribution of "extremity" and "divisiveness" to Paul Krugman's usually sensible and always accessible work by the extreme right wing as well as by the pampered superficial "moderates" inside the beltway who coddled that extreme right wing for so long in the name of "balance" while it marauded across the world to our ruin, I used to joke that nothing short of an award of the Nobel Prize for Economics could get Krugman a shot on Obama's cabinet or the like, where he might do real good (that is to say, even more real good).

Of course, this attribution of "divisiveness" was always inspired, quite simply, by the fact that Krugman was so often so right about the ways in which the Right was wrong and said so fearlessly and articulately. Reading Krugman's warnings in 2000 about what a Bush Administration would be like will make you tear your hair out in frustration, not to mention his prescient warnings about social security privatization, reckless Fed policies, and the Housing Bubble. "Nobody could have predicted," indeed.

Now that Krugman has won the Nobel, we can be sure that his status as a public intellectual fighting for old school liberalism (not always in ways that are quite as arch-progressive as I would like personally, but usually nudging in the direction of the left wing of the actually possible as the old saying goes) will be enhanced, whether or not he gets a shot at a powerful post in a Next New Deal Obama administration.

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