Paul Krugman Leads a Choir …

by on March 31, 2009

To the Editor:

Whether we personally “trust” Paul Krugman or not is beside the point, and his preference for Hillary’s distant health plan is hardly a logical objection to his opposition to the Geithner bank “cash for trash” plan. The problem is, Krugman is only one of many on the left assailing the White House’s overly Wall Street-friendly halfway measures: an entire choir of supporters, from shrewd economists Nouriel Roubini or William Greider, plus savvy pundits Robert Kuttner and Arianna Huffington together reject that virtually bankrupt big banks should and can be saved.

What “nationalization” means differs, and details from Krugman are notable by their absence, but his stridency (and “despair”) speak to a real problem: Obama doesn’t want to confront or offend a swath of business fatcats (all sorts of investors and big asset holders) because that jeopardizes his liberal legacy goals: reform of the health system, energy delivery, and education.

After all, Krugman is not forcing the Obama Administration to fudge seriously on transparency, to make nice to the same executives who’ll make billions on the new toxic asset bailout, or join the cheerful if naive optimists hoping better times will obscure the magnitude of trillions of unburied, smelly dead loans.

As with his worrisome surge in Afghanistan, Obama’s economics are trying to accommodate critical power structures so he can keep his domestic dreams alive. But all these involve painful and high-risk trade-offs and Krugman’s personal integrity is not the issue. You are left having to “trust” Geithner, the Republican banker who led the NY Federal Reserve during the fall meltdown, helped fashion the dubious TARP program, and now promises band-aids when systemic reform may define genuine solutions, certainly the only progressive solution that promises to offset increasingly undemocratic, unfair distribution of goods and services since Reagan.

I fear equally what happens if Geithner succeeds (restoring the old, bad order) or, if he fails, inviting another egregious depression with fewer political choices because trillions will already have been squandered. What if Krugman is right, that Obama only has one real shot to fix everything?

Robert Becker
Mendocino, CA

To the Editor:

It is my opinion that the most important concern regarding the above article is whether Paul Krugman is either lying or telling the truth.

Although I too am willing to question the direction that President Obama is taking us, I strongly believe that the matter of trust in Paul Krugman’s criticism should be grounded on whether the facts surrounding his information are true or false.

Second subject. Personally, I have serious questions regarding the green technology advice that is being given to President Obama on employing “windmill component production” and “building weatherization services” as not being economically viable and sustainable.

Inasmuch as the economy and energy concerns are so critical to our country’s future and soveriengty, I would appreciate feedback and further discussion regarding ways and means to make green technology serve as an economic engine for 21st century growth and development.

Thank you,

Jehan Mansur

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