Tag Archives | Paul Krugman

Revisiting Krugman on Reagan and Race (UPDATED)

Back in 2007, Krugman wrote a much-talked-about column in which he accused Ronald Reagan of exploiting white racism in his quest for the presidency.  He gave three specific examples of Reagan using “tacit race-baiting.”

One was Reagan’s speech at a County fair in Mississippi where, he says, Reagan “declared his support for states’ rights — which everyone took to be a coded declaration of support for segregationist sentiments.”  This event has been discussed in great detail, including on this blog, but suffice to say that this is at best an exaggeration; contemporary coverage of the event, while noting the controversial venue (near where three civil rights workers were murdered), does not support the idea that the audience thought Reagan was endorsing segregation.  As I wrote previously, “Reporters at the time reported that the audience didn’t perceive that Reagan was referring to race , e.g, the NY Times in October wrote, “Although Mr. Reagan did not elaborate on that occasion, he later explained that he was referring to his proposal to shift certain taxing powers and social programs such as welfare from the Federal to the state level. Most of those at the rally apparently regarded the statement as having been made in that context.”   An audio tape of the event (discovered after Krugman’s column appeared) further debunks Krugman’s take, showing that Reagan only mentioned states’ rights once in a context that had nothing to do with race, and the speech itself was about economic policy and never mentioned race.

A second example that Krugman gave was that “Reagan repeatedly told the bogus story of the Cadillac-driving welfare queen — a gross exaggeration of a minor case of welfare fraud. He never mentioned the woman’s race, but he didn’t have to.”  It turns out, however, as a wonderful investigative report [...]

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Why is the Obamacare Rollout Failing?

Why, it’s obviously because President Barack Obama and his top aides hate government, and therefore can’t be trusted to run a major government program. When the government is run by political forces committed to the belief that government is always the problem, never the solution, that belief tends to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Key priorities are neglected; key functions are privatized; and key people, the competent public servants who make government work, either leave or are driven out. What we really need is a government that works, because it’s run by people who understand that sometimes government is the solution, after all.

Doesn’t make any sense to you? It made just as little sense when Paul Krugman made the argument in 2008, imaginatively (to say the least) positing that George W. Bush and John McCain were wild-eyed libertarians, and that the former’s purported libertarianism was the cause of FEMA’s incompetence in dealing with Katrina.

I ridiculed the premise at the time (and again a year later), noting that “After eight years of “no child left behind,” Medicare expansion, aid to Africa for AIDS, drug warring, abstinence education, nation-building in Iraq and Afghanistan, and so forth and so on, and more of the same promised by McCain, the better question is, is there any problem that Bush and McCain DON’T think government should solve?”

As I recall, others rejoined that no, Krugman is right, incompetence by the Bush Admnistration is OBVIOUSLY due to Republicans all totally hating government. It must come as a surprise to Krugman and his defenders that government can prove itself to be wildly, disastrously incompetent even when run by people whom even Krugman would have to admit aren’t going to be confused with libertarians any time soon (assuming, of course, that Krugman actually ever believed [...]

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