A Tale Of Two Pundits: Krugman Vs. Forbes On The Economy

It's instructive to look at the not only who the Sunday news shows book to discuss the issues of the day, but also who else they book with them. So when Fareed Zakaria wants to talk economy, he leaves it to Nobel laureate for economics Paul

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It's instructive to look at the not only who the Sunday news shows book to discuss the issues of the day, but also who else they book with them. So when Fareed Zakaria wants to talk economy, he leaves it to Nobel laureate for economics Paul Krugman...but then follows up with a corporatist safely ensconced in the 1 percent, Steve Forbes. Krugman has been arguing that Wall Street ignores or dismisses the Occupy Wall Streeters at their own peril, since what they lack in a media voice currently, they have as movement to demand the conversation:

Yeah, we had…we are just three years out the greatest banking crisis since the 1930s, brought on by excesses by the part of the financial industry and the financial industry was bailed out at the public’s expense and risk and yet we’re still at an economic crisis. Somehow all of that discussion, who are these guys, why are we supporting them, why haven’t they paid more for this, what are the reforms that are going to stop this from happening again, all of this disappeared from the debate. We’ve been arguing about who’s going to cut Social Security, and what about that budget deficit and we’ve lost the whole thread of the core issue of our society right now. And these protesters, who are a mix of all sorts of people, suddenly brought that back into the center of our national debate. For that, that’s an enormously positive contribution.

It's not hard to grasp: the financial sector took advantage of every possible loophole in an effort to make as much money as possible, creating commodities out of thin air that couldn't even be properly accounted for or tracked. And as will happen when you build on a bubble, the bubble burst and then it was left to us--the taxpayers who were left with underwater mortgages--to fix the problem the greed of the financial sector created. But unlike the rest of us who screw up, there were no consequences to these institutions, no safeguards put in place to keep it from happening again. They didn't even fire the ones responsible. There's nothing disputable in anything Krugman states.

But Steve Forbes doesn't want to think about that. It's still not Wall Street's fault. And all these regulations (which ones are those?) and new taxes (which ones are those?) are making things too uncertain for those poor Wall Streeters to feel comfortable letting go of the trillions of dollars they're sitting on.

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FORBES: The whole notion that government, by that way, can jump start the economy is a false one. Where do they get that trillion dollars from? It does not come from heaven, what it comes from borrowing or printing money, which is a form of taxation, or taxation itself. So remove resources from the private sector--where it could be put into productive use—perpetuates a lot of things that should not be perpetuated. Again, if you let the private sector…

ZAKARIA: The private sector is saving right now because it has a cloud over it.

FORBES: Because of the weak dollar, sending private capital overseas, uncertainty about the tax code, massive new regulations coming on health care and the financial sector, those are real headwinds. If the government…if President Obama had done nothing when he took office, he’d be a genius today.

No, you liar, if Obama had done nothing, we'd be sitting in the middle of another Great Depression and there would be people calling for your selfish, corporatist-loving head. But sure, go ahead and wring your hands over the private insurance industry getting a bunch of new clients with the new healthcare regulations, whinge about the possibility of paying Clinton-era tax rates. I'm sure that the 99 percent who have been covering for your sorry ass really feel bad for you and your compadres on Wall Street.

About Nicole Belle

Nicole Belle's picture
Mom, Wife, Media Critic/Political Analyst, Blogger, Austen Fanatic, Unapologetic Liberal NicoleBelle@crooksandliars.com

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