I didn't even want to write about Krugman's absurd piece today: "Mugged By the Moralizers," in which he completely fails to understand what has America so angry. Krugman mis-diagnoses the problem:
"“How many of you people want to pay for your neighbor’s mortgage that has an extra bathroom and can’t pay their bills?” That’s the question CNBC’s Rick Santelli famously asked in 2009, in a rant widely credited with giving birth to the Tea Party movement.
It’s a sentiment that resonates not just in America but in much of the world. The tone differs from place to place — listening to a German official denounce deficits, my wife whispered, “We’ll all be handed whips as we leave, so we can flagellate ourselves.” But the message is the same: debt is evil, debtors must pay for their sins, and from now on we all must live within our means.
And that kind of moralizing is the reason we’re mired in a seemingly endless slump."
Krugman brushes aside "debt moralizers" as wingnuts who want others to suffer, and mockingly derides "moralizers" as the root of the problems, where he of course sees the solution as spend spend spend.
Fortunately, a few comments on Krugman's piece really hit the nail on the head, and are very worthy of publication here:
From "DC" in NJ:
"As a Democrat but one who lives closely with Tea Partiers, I have to say you are seriously misreading the problem. The complaint is not at all about morality or moralizing, although certainly there is an undercurrent of righteousness. It is about what the Tea Partiers regard as a vast fiscal irresponsibility and a deep inequity in what they see as the government enabling the 'lazy' poor and the irresponsible big spenders.
The undercurrent is that while you and I were scrimping and doing without a vacation and a new bathroom, our neighbor was spending idiotically with money he didn't have. And who is rewarded? The neighbor. While bankers and Wall Street was gambling with money that wasn't theirs, you and I were working two shifts or 10 hours each for both husband and wife. And whom does Obama reward? The bankers. While you and I were responsibly spending $500/month on health insurance we could barely afford, our low income neighbor decided against health insurance - although he enjoys drinking beer and partying - and when he had needed medical he just went to emergency, free of charge because he has no assets. Whom does the government support? The beer guzzling neighbor (I have seen this personally many times by the way--something higher income people in their gated communities never see).
That is what Rick Santelli's rant is about---it is very little to do with moralizing and everything to do with a deeply American sense that things ought to be fair, that hard work should pay off and laziness and irresponsibility ought to be punished.
By miscategorizing the problem you cannot find the solution; by condescendingly dismissing the complaint as merely one of 'moralizing' you ignore that there is indeed a valid world view here that the Tea Partiers and others are addressing. Do I agree? No. But that doesn't make their world view simplistic and without any merit..."
Kudos DC - very well put. It's the parable of the Ants and the Grasshoppers, Krugman - read it.
I also liked comment # 81 - from Mike in Shenzhen, but I don't want to excerpt it here as it brings up a little more potential for off-topic nonsensical backlash in the comments.