Krugman: Romney's CEO Experience Not Relevant To Being President

From this Sunday's This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Paul Krugman pointed out why Mitt Romney's claims that his experience as a CEO would not help him were he to become president. As Krugman noted in his column this week, America is not a
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From this Sunday's This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Paul Krugman pointed out why Mitt Romney's claims that his experience as a CEO would not help him were he to become president. As Krugman noted in his column this week, America is not a corporation. To the contrary as Krugman noted here, were we unfortunate enough for Mitt Romney to have a chance to follow through on his campaign promises about cutting the size of government, it would be "a total disaster."

ROBERTS: One thing that happens though is that people always talk about these business men like they are some big saviors. And they run for governor all the time. They've run for Senate from time to time and gotten elected.

But by and large, we don't elect them. By the time the election day comes along, enough has been said about their businesses that disturbs people, but even more so, their sort of lack of political ability disturbs people. And so you have to be careful about running as a businessman.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And that does to a big --

ROBERTS: And generally, we don't vote for them.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That leads to a big development. The cover of this week's "Economist." It's got Mitt Romney up there, under the headline "America's Next CEO."

Paul, you weighed in on this this week in "The New York Times", saying America is not a corporation.

KRUGMAN: Yes, it's, you know, even if we had Steve Jobs running instead of -- instead of Mitt Romney, you know, or Gordon Gekko, whoever we're getting here, those are not the same skills that are required. It's not the same -- it's not even intellectually the same thing.

The things that you have to run an economy are very, very different from things you have to do to run a corporation. And, you know, the thing about Romney is his opponents don't have to make a case that he was evil. They just have to cast doubt on his case, which is I know how to run this thing because I ran a successful business.

And, of course, you know -- we have a situation which is macroeconomic problems. And macroeconomic problems are almost exactly the kind of thing we're thinking like a corporate leader, is all wrong.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And, George Will, did Mitt Romney make a mistake in -- and maybe a mistake akin to what the Obama administration did when they promised 8 million jobs -- 8 percent unemployment coming out of the stimulus by saying that he created more than 100,000 jobs at Bain Capital?

WILL: Well, it invites a lot of bookkeeping as to what the net-net is. How many created and how many destroyed. The fact is, capitalism, in some of its aspects, is a lot like surgery, it's necessary. But you don't want to look at it up close because it's unpleasant.

And I think the American people understand this. George, the part of our society that has seen the most creative destruction is the intensive industry of agriculture. A hundred years ago, 30 percent of the American people were working in agriculture. Today it's less than 2 percent. I don't think the Americans are upset by that.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But how about on the point that Peggy was making, George, do you think, you know, in order to put this election away, Republicans are going to have to really corral at lot of its blue-collar base who aren't in love with Wall Street?

WILL: They're not in love with Wall Street. They're not in love with the professorial president. And it's going to be very hard for them to fall in love with Mitt Romney.

That's why the Republicans, so far, one of the lessons of their campaign is that the enthusiasm and energy they were counting on to drive their campaign throughout 2012, the enthusiasm is not yet there.

ROBERTS: Except that Obama is likely to give it to them. I mean, that is the case. They're expecting Barack Obama to inject the enthusiasm into the Republican base.

NOONAN: One of the great phrases that has been used in defense of venture capitalism and Bain Capital is Schumpeter's "creative destruction." Whenever I hear Republicans say that, I want to say, you know what, America has been looking for five years at a lot of destruction, creative and non-creative.

They're not going to like that defense. They're going to like a defense that says, guess what, I can create jobs, I have a plan. We can move this thing forward. We can save our country. Treatises on the essential nature of capitalism, I think, won't do it for Mr. Romney.

KRUGMAN: Yes. If we just talk substance about that instead of the campaign for a moment, the fact of the matter is that creative destruction is a great thing when the economy is near full employment and when the issue is clearing away the deadwood and getting new companies, we can make that case.

But that's not the world we're living in right now. We're living in a world that is kind of in a low-key version of the Great Depression, an economy with 13 million people out of work, with 4 million people out of work for more than a year.

What you really need, substantively, is you need something that is about creating demand, about expanding employment. We don't want ruthlessness. We don't want -- you know, and particular, we don't want to be slashing government spending while the economy is still deeply depressed.

So if we actually do end up with a President Romney and if he actually does the things that he says he's going to do, then it would be a total disaster.

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