Man Without Qualities

Friday, June 14, 2002

The Silliness Gap

Paul Krugman's columns have become so consistently ridiculous, and Jane Galt and other good bloggers do such a good, if increasingly unchallenging, job taking the columns apart, that the Man Without Qualities will not attempt a general analysis of today's Krugman silliness. However, a few observations are irresistible.

Mr. Krugman writes:

"In 1981 those captains of industry were paid an average of $3.5 million, which seemed like a lot at the time. By 1988 the average had soared to $19.3 million, which seemed outrageous. But by 2000 the average annual pay of the top 10 was $154 million. It's true that wages of ordinary workers roughly doubled over the same period, though the bulk of that gain was eaten up by inflation. But earnings of top executives rose 4,300 percent."

Mr. Krugman has shown himself to be a Clinton-Gore apologist con brio - sometimes with subtlety. Here, he chooses the intervals 1981- 1988 and 1988-2000 to discuss chief executive compensation. Are we to believe that no figures for the interval 1992-2000 were available to Mr. Krugman? But using THAT interval would have had the unfortunate effect of making explicit that the disparity in chief executive pay over ordinary worker pay accelerated greatly during the Clinton administrations. No.No. Mr. Krugman can't do that. Mr. Clinton made much of this disparity in his original 1992 campaign, so exposing the fact that his administration aggravated what he and his camp present as a "problem" would expose a tender bit of Clinton-Gore hypocrisy.

Mr. Krugman needles fellow economist Glenn Hubbard, now chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, as having "demonstrated his fealty during the first Bush administration "with a ludicrously rigged study."

Mr. Krugman demonstrates his fealty to the Clinton-Gore Administrations and the Democratic establishment with almost every column, here by the simple expedient of cooking his books by choosing an interval that ludicrously absorbs the first Bush Administration into the Clinton-Gore era.

Mr. Krugman is apparently so silly that he doesn't realize he is selling out to benefit people who would toss him overboard for a farthing.

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