November 7, 2003

#130: Paul Krugman knows even less about Southern politics than Howard Dean...

P. Krugman

[This post slightly revised 11-9]
The main thing we learn from Flags Versus Dollars (11/07/03) is that Paul Krugman knows even less about southern politics than Howard Dean. At least HoDe broadened somewhat his stereotypical view of southern voters by throwing in guns and gays as hot button issues down in Dixie. But to Krugman the Southerner is just a primitive subject in a reward-based learning experiment´┐Żsort of like a lab rat choosing which tunnel to run down to get the goodies. As he sees it, the southern "choice" is between racist symbols and federal dollars. He then recounts all the evidence as to why the South seems to always run down the wrong tunnel, i.e., vote against what HE considers their best interests. He did this before in True Blue Americans (05/07/02) in which he calculated how much more Bush red states get back in federal dollars than they pay in. This time he's calculated how much more the Gore blue states got in tax-cut dollars than the poorer red states. Either way the South could improve their "cash flow" by voting for the Democrats.

Krugman's frustration with the South's voting pattern might be paraphrased this way:

How can you Crackers keep voting Republican after all we've done for you the last 70 years? Don't you know you're biting the hand that feeds you!
The "hand" he's referring to, of course, is the New Deal social welfare entitlements system that is the crowning achievement of 20th century liberalism. But in the South, as in much of the rest of the country, they've caught onto the long run consequences of all these New Deal programs and are rebelling against them despite the favorable cash flow of federal dollars. These consequences include the creation of a self-perpetuating dependent class, the destruction of the family unit by a dysfunctional welfare system, the collapse of the public education under the weight of Democratic sponsored teachers' unions, and a tax code that penalizes success, especially in new businesses.

As one small example, even the heavily southern Congressional Black Caucus (20 out of 36 members) overwhelmingly favors ending the estate tax. To Krugman's chagrin it looks like these folks want to get ahead too.

Meanwhile, the leading Democratic presidential candidates don't get it either. In addition to Confederate flags they still see the South in terms of shotguns and pickup trucks. The clips of John Kerry dressed in a freshly bought hunting jacket holding a dead pheasant (to keep up with Dean in the hunt for the pro-gun vote) was too rich for words.

We'll say it again. It's going to be a Bush blowout and Krugman and the Dems don't even understand their predicament.

[The Truth Squad is a group of economists who have long marveled at the writings of Paul Krugman. The Squad Reports are synopses of their discussions. ]

[ I saw a great line by Senator Zell Miller of Georgia. He said something like "Howard Dean knows as much about the South as a hog knows about Sunday!" --JW]

Posted by John Weidner at November 7, 2003 3:40 PM
Weblog by John Weidner