As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Monday, August 10, 2009

Paul Krugman: making heads explode everywhere

Sorry I have not been a more reliable poster, but my weekend was relatively killer. I don't know how Dave does it. So I recommend you read Paul Krugman, like usual. This piece will make right-wing heads explode even more than anything else I've cited from him. Especially this part:

All in all, then, the government has played a crucial stabilizing role in this economic crisis. Ronald Reagan was wrong: sometimes the private sector is the problem, and government is the solution.

But there's one key word in there: sometimes. What separates the modern liberal from the modern conservative in this era is the politics of pragmatism. Paul Krugman is not going to go out of his way, for instance, to claim that the private sector is always the problem and government is always the solution--far from it. Instead, he is saying, in the fashion of a true Keynesian economist, that neither option is going to be right 100% of the time.

This stands in marked contrast to the modern conservative movement, which holds that any government "intrusion" is bad--because if it's government, it must be bad, without recourse to any further policy debate. The modern conservative does not start a policy debate with the baseline of "what works?" but rather one of "government is always bad. Taking that consideration into account, what's the best we can do?"

A pragmatist, simply put, is one who is not bound by the rigors of such ideological purity testing, and feels obligated to come up with what actually works. For instance--you can get that if the health care system worked well, there wouldn't be such pressure to reform it.