February 27, 2004

#146: The bugle call of partisan hackmanship

P. Krugman

Paul Krugman's last bastion of academic respectability rests on his consistent defense of free trade. Hence the protectionist talk coming from the Kerry and Edwards camps must make him cringe. Nevertheless, in The Trade Tightrope (02/27/04), he once again answers the bugle call for partisan hackmanship by making excuses for Kerry on the trade issue (Edwards, apparently, is too far overboard even for Krugman). The result is one of those "just watch the silver screen folks, and don't pay any attention to that man behind the curtain" deals. Read this column if you must. It's pathetic.

There's one howler:

"Put it this way: there's a reason why the two U.S. presidents who did the most to promote growth in world trade were Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman, while the two most protectionist presidents of the last 70 years have been Ronald Reagan and, yes, George W. Bush."
What on earth is he talking about? And this is his last sentence! So the column ends with a breathtaking assertion followed by not one word of justification.

What's the name of that public editor again? Okrent, or something? His position is that when facts are presented in error, they must be corrected even if they are camouflaged in opinion columns. Fair enough, but then he has to deal with the Krugman loophole. Outrageous assertions made without any facts don't require corrections!

[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. ]

Posted by John Weidner at February 27, 2004 8:53 AM
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