Man Without Qualities

Sunday, December 01, 2002


Krugman Truth Squad points out that Professor Krugman is again in complete error in construing and reporting the data underlying his polemic that a "spectacular" rise in social inequality is now afoot in America:

As we have pointed out before, when Krugman cites research in support of a point, it is a good idea to actually read the citation. In this case, he completely misses (deliberately we suspect) an essential point. The data show there is no bias in intergenerational income mobility. A child with parents in the top 10 percent of income is just as likely to fall, and fall just as far, as a child born to parents in the lowest 10 percent is to rise.

Notwithstanding these errors, and the many of Professor Krugman's other egregious errors and omissions catalogued by the Krugman Truth Squad, for example, Brad DeLong writes that "[i]t's not that anybody really disagrees with the substance of what he has been saying" when Professor Krugman savages the Administration and Mr. Bush, personally.

Since Professor Krugman clearly has many who disagree with the substance of what he is saying, including the Krugman Truth Squad [partial index here], Jane Galt and many other Bloggers and columnists, perhaps Professor DeLong will tell us how he has determined that such people are "nobodies." Professor DeLong also thinks that the voters who tossed the Democrats out of control of the Senate a few weeks ago - in large measure as a result of Mr. Bush's campaign gallivantings around the country - were either (1) "nobodies" who don't count from the Olympian intellectual heights of the Berkeley economics department or (2) signaling agreement with Professor Krugman's pot-shots. Perhaps Professor DeLong can resolve the ambiguity in his thinking here.

And while he is at it, perhaps he can resolve the separate ambiguity as to how it happens that he, who holds himself out as fulsomely insistent on the "politeness" of the commenters on his website, has no problem keeping company with a commenter who, in response to one of the Good Professor's critics, left behind the following droppings on November 30, 2002 05:15 PM - a full 24 hours ago:

Hi there. This is Jason Leopold. I'll get right to it. I don't know who Patrick Sullivan is, where he gets his information, whether he is a journalist or just some right wing Nazi, but he is out of his mind.

Professor DeLong's "Politeness Policy" states, among other refined restrictions, that: "Comments on this website will be polite to me and to other commentators, or their comments will be deleted. ... For example: Commenters who compare others (or me) to Stalin, Pol Pot, Hitler, or Mussolini should not expect their comments to remain in the database. " The Good Professor also says that such judgments will be made "[i]n whose judgment? Mine, of course."

Since Mr. Leopold's comments have remained in the Good Professor's database for the past 24 hours, it seems that he views characterizations as "Nazis" of people such as Mr. Sullivan who do not agree with the DeLong orthodoxy as sufficiently "polite" - and not at all covered by his maxim that "Commenters who compare others (or me) to Stalin, Pol Pot, Hitler, or Mussolini should not expect their comments to remain in the database."

The reader may decide for herself whether this is an inconsistency that damages the Good Professor's credibility. Certain academics would counsel Professor DeLong that he has every incentive not to burn his credibility--it is, after all, the only thing he has to sell.

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