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Paul Krugman

Paul Krugman

Paul Robin Krugman (born February 28, 1953) is an American economist, Distinguished Professor of Economics at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and an op-ed columnist for The New York Times. In 2008, Krugman won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his contributions to New Trade Theory and New Economic Geography.

Articles by Paul Krugman

Donald and the Delusion Discount

5 days ago

The events of the past few weeks destroyed whatever credibility Donald Trump may still have had on economic policy. And investors are celebrating. At this point, evidence that Trump tweets are sound and fury signifying nothing is, in effect, good news.Let’s review what happened. First, having gone to great lengths to get a new trade agreement with Mexico and Canada — an agreement that was very similar to the existing agreement, but one he could slap his own name on — Trump basically blew up his position by threatening to impose new tariffs unless Mexico did something about border issues that have nothing to do with trade.This obviously weakens if it doesn’t destroy Trump’s ability to negotiate future agreements, on trade or anything else. After all, what’s the point of making deals with an

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Heroes of the Great Patriotic Trade War

7 days ago

I’d like to make an important announcement to New York retailers: NEW JERSEY HAS AGREED TO IMMEDIATELY BEGIN BUYING LARGE QUANTITIES OF WHITEFISH SALAD FROM OUR GREAT PATRIOT GOURMET MARKETS.What’s that you say? There was no such agreement? New Jersey doesn’t even have any kind of centralized purchasing mechanism for food products? I say fake news! Conspiracy by the deep state!O.K., you know that I’m not serious. But Donald Trump was serious when he tweeted this:ImageAlso, chocolate rations are increasingCreditTwitterThis tweet raises two immediate questions:1. Why, like so many Trump tweets, does it read like a bad translation from the original Russian?2. What the heck is he talking about?There was, after all, no mention of agricultural products in the statement of agreement. And Mexico,

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Mar-a-Lago Comes for British Health

9 days ago

Probably everyone who followed Donald Trump’s visit to Britain has a favorite scene of diplomatic debacle. But the moment that probably did the most to poison relations with our oldest ally — and undermine whatever chance there was for the “phenomenal” trade deal Trump claimed to be offering — was Trump’s apparent suggestion that such a deal would involve opening up Britain’s National Health Service to U.S. private companies.It says something about the qualities of our current president that the best argument anyone has made in his defense is that he didn’t know what he was talking about. He does, however, know what the N.H.S. is — he just doesn’t understand its role in British life. After all, last year he tweeted that Britons were marching in the streets to protest a health system that

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Trump Makes America Irresponsible Again

12 days ago

Donald Trump’s plan to impose tariffs on Mexican exports unless our neighbor does something — he hasn’t specified what — to stop the flow of asylum-seekers is almost surely illegal: U.S. trade law gives presidents discretion to impose tariffs for a number of reasons, but curbing immigration isn’t one of them.It’s also a clear violation of U.S. international agreements. And it will reduce the living standards of most Americans, destroy many jobs in U.S. manufacturing, and hurt farmers.But let’s put all of that to one side and talk about the really bad stuff.Trump says that “TARIFF is a beautiful word indeed,” but the actual history of U.S. tariffs isn’t pretty — and not just because tariffs, whatever the tweeter in chief says, are in practice taxes on Americans, not foreigners. In fact,

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After Draghi (Wonkish)

23 days ago

Mario Draghi’s term as president of the European Central Bank ends in October. It has been a tumultuous tenure; among other things, he very clearly saved the euro from collapse in 2012-13, which arguably makes him the greatest central banker of modern times.But I come not to celebrate Draghi but to ask about the state of the euro as the age of Draghi draws to an end. This isn’t a rant. I’ve long been a euroskeptic, and there has been immense suffering in Greece, and to a lesser extent in Spain and Portugal. But Europe’s overall performance since the 2008 crisis has been better than I believe most U.S. observers realize.The big problem now, I’d say, is the extreme fragility of Europe with respect to any future shocks. In the years since Draghi came in, the euro area has done surprisingly

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Trump Tantrums the Dems Out of a Trap

23 days ago

I gotta say, it was very clever of Nancy Pelosi to steal Donald Trump’s strawberries, pushing him over the edge into self-evident lunacy.As everyone knows, Trump stormed out of a meeting on infrastructure, apparently out of uncontrollable rage over Pelosi’s remarks pointing out that the administration’s stonewalling on all fronts, including raw defiance of the law requiring that it provide the president’s tax returns, obviously amount to a coverup of something (and maybe multiple things.) And Democrats should be grateful.And I don’t just mean that they should be grateful to see Trump displaying his unfitness for office, which has long been clear to close observers, in such a dramatically unhinged way that only cultists can fail to see it. He’s also helped them with a political dilemma.You

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Killing the Pax Americana

May 11, 2019

O.K., they weren’t supposed to start the trade war until I got back from vacation. And I really have too many kilometers to cover and hills to climb to weigh in on a regular basis or at great length. But since I’m currently sitting in an outdoor cafe with my coffee and croissant, I thought I might take a few minutes to address two misconceptions that, I believe, are coloring discussion of the trade conflict.By the way, I don’t mean Trump’s misconceptions. As far as I can tell, he isn’t getting a single thing about trade policy right. He doesn’t know how tariffs work, or who pays them. He doesn’t understand what bilateral trade imbalances mean, or what causes them. He has a zero-sum view of trade that flies in the face of everything we’ve learned over the past two centuries. And to the

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Trump Is Terrible for Rural America

May 9, 2019

Economists, reports Politico, are fleeing the Agriculture Department’s Economic Research Service. Six of them resigned on a single day last month. The reason? They are feeling persecuted for publishing reports that shed an unflattering light on Trump policies.But these reports are just reflecting reality (which has a well-known anti-Trump bias). Rural America is a key part of Donald Trump’s base. In fact, rural areas are the only parts of the country in which Trump has a net positive approval rating. But they’re also the biggest losers under his policies.What, after all, is Trumpism? In 2016 Trump pretended to be a different kind of Republican, but in practice almost all of his economic agenda has been G.O.P. standard: big tax cuts for corporations and the rich while hacking away at the

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The Economics of Donald J. Keynes

May 6, 2019

I made a bad economic call on election night 2016, predicting a Trump recession. But I quickly realized that political dismay had clouded my judgment, and retracted the call three days later. “It’s at least possible,” I wrote on Nov. 11, 2016, “that bigger budget deficits will, if anything, strengthen the economy briefly.”What I didn’t realize at the time was just how much bigger the deficits would get. Since 2016, the Trump administration has, in practice, implemented the kind of huge fiscal stimulus followers of John Maynard Keynes pleaded for when unemployment was high — but Republicans blocked.Contrary to what Donald Trump and his supporters claim, we are not seeing an unprecedented boom. The U.S. economy grew 3.2 percent over the past year, a growth rate we haven’t seen since … 2015.

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The Sabotage Years

May 4, 2019

Do you remember the great inflation scare of 2010-2011? The U.S. economy remained deeply depressed from the aftereffects of the burst housing bubble and the 2008 financial crisis. Unemployment was still above 9 percent; wage growth had slowed to a crawl, and measures of underlying inflation were well below the Federal Reserve’s targets. So the Fed was doing what it could to boost the economy — keeping short-term interest rates as low as possible, and buying long-term bonds in the hope of getting some extra traction.But Republicans were up in arms, warning that the Fed’s policies would lead to runaway inflation. A Congressman named Mike Pence introduced a bill that would prohibit the Fed from even considering the state of the labor market in its actions. A who’s who of Republicans signed an

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The Trouble With Joe and Bernie

May 2, 2019

It’s still very early, but Joe Biden has emerged as the clear front-runner for the Democratic nomination. Bernie Sanders is in second place, although he appears to be fairly far behind, and one poll shows him in a statistical tie with Elizabeth Warren. So what should we think about the men currently leading the field?Well, I have concerns. Not about electability, a topic about which nobody knows anything. Never mind what today’s general election polls say: What will polling look like after the inevitable Republican smear campaign? The answer to this question depends, in turn, on whether news organizations will cooperate with those smears as gleefully as they did in 2016.No, my concerns are about what will happen if either man wins. Are they ready for the political trench warfare that would

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The Zombie Style in American Politics

April 30, 2019

SectionsSkip to contentSkip to site indexRussia didn’t help Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. O.K., it did help him, but the campaign itself wasn’t involved. O.K., the campaign had a lot of Russian contacts and knowingly received information from the Russians, but that was perfectly fine.If you’ve been trying to follow the Republican response to revelations about what happened in 2016, you may be a bit confused. We’re not even talking about an ever-shifting party line; new excuses keep emerging, but old excuses are never abandoned. On one side, we have Rudy Giuliani saying that “there’s nothing wrong with taking information from Russians.” On the other side, we have Jared Kushner denying that Russia did anything beyond taking out “a couple of Facebook ads.”It’s all very strange. Or,

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Armpits, White Ghettos and Contempt

April 25, 2019

“If you live in the Midwest, where else do you want to live besides Chicago? You don’t want to live in Cincinnati or Cleveland or, you know, these armpits of America.” So declared Stephen Moore, the man Donald Trump wants to install on the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors, during a 2014 event held at a think tank called, yes, the Heartland Institute.The crowd laughed.Moore is an indefensible choice on many grounds. Even if he hadn’t shown himself to be extraordinarily misogynistic and have an ugly personal history, his track record on economics — always wrong, never admitting error or learning from it — is utterly disqualifying.His remarks about the Midwest, however, highlight more than his unsuitability for the Fed. They also provide an illustration of something I’ve been noticing for

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Survival of the Wrongest

April 24, 2019

Evidence has a well-known liberal bias. And that, presumably, is why conservatives prefer “experts” who not only consistently get things wrong, but refuse to admit or learn from their mistakes.There has been a lot of commentary about Stephen Moore, the man Donald Trump wants to put on the Fed’s Board of Governors. It turns out that he has a lot of personal baggage: He was held in contempt of court for failing to pay alimony and child support, and his past writings show an extraordinary degree of misogyny. He misstates facts so much that one newspaper editor vowed never to publish him again, and he has been caught outright lying about his past support for a gold standard. Oh, and he has described the cities of the U.S. heartland as “armpits of America.”But it’s also important to put Moore

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The Great Republican Abdication

April 22, 2019

So all the “fake news” was true. A hostile foreign power intervened in the presidential election, hoping to install Donald Trump in the White House. The Trump campaign was aware of this intervention and welcomed it. And once in power, Trump tried to block any inquiry into what happened.Never mind attempts to spin this story as somehow not meeting some definitions of collusion or obstruction of justice. The fact is that the occupant of the White House betrayed his country. And the question everyone is asking is, what will Democrats do about it?But notice that the question is only about Democrats. Everyone (correctly) takes it as a given that Republicans will do nothing. Why?Because the modern G.O.P. is perfectly willing to sell out America if that’s what it takes to get tax cuts for the

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Bernie Sanders and the Myth of the 1 Percent

April 18, 2019

A peculiar chapter in the 2020 presidential race ended Monday, when Bernie Sanders, after months of foot-dragging, finally released his tax returns. The odd thing was that the returns appear to be perfectly innocuous. So what was all that about?The answer seems to be that Sanders got a lot of book royalties after the 2016 campaign, and was afraid that revealing this fact would produce headlines mocking him for now being part of the 1 Percent. Indeed, some journalists did try to make his income an issue.This line of attack is, however, deeply stupid. Politicians who support policies that would raise their own taxes and strengthen a social safety net they’re unlikely to need aren’t being hypocrites; if anything, they’re demonstrating their civic virtue.But failure to understand what

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The 2008 Financial Crisis as Seen From the Top

April 16, 2019

FIREFIGHTING The Financial Crisis and Its Lessons By Ben S. Bernanke, Timothy F. Geithner and Henry M. Paulson Jr.For a few months in 2008 and 2009 many people feared that the world economy was on the verge of collapse. They had good reason to be afraid. Financial markets were virtually frozen, with credit almost unavailable to anyone except the safest of borrowers. The real economy was in free fall: Over the winter America was losing 700,000 jobs a month, while world trade and industrial output were falling as fast as they did in the first year of the Great Depression.In the end, however, the worst didn’t happen. The financial crisis caused huge, lasting damage. But the bottom didn’t fall out completely.What saved us? There were multiple factors. But one element was that key public

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Republicans Are the Real Extremists

April 15, 2019

All of Donald Trump’s major policies have failed substantively, politically, or both. His one big legislative achievement, the 2017 tax cut, remains unpopular. His attacks on Obamacare have only enhanced public approval of the program. His fearmongering has cemented majority opposition to his proposed border wall.But while today’s G.O.P. can’t do policy, it commands a powerful propaganda machine. And this machine is now dedicated to a strategy of portraying Democrats as extremists. It might work — but it shouldn’t, because Democrats aren’t extremists, but Republicans are.The attack on Democrats has largely involved demonizing two new members of Congress, Representative Ilhan Omar and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Omar is Muslim, and the usual suspects have gone all-out in using

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Purity vs. Pragmatism, Environment vs. Health

April 11, 2019

Right now there are two big progressive ideas out there: the Green New Deal on climate change and “Medicare for all” on health reform. Both would move U.S. policy significantly to the left. Each is sponsored by a self-proclaimed socialist: the Green New Deal by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Medicare for all by Bernie Sanders. (Of course, neither of them is a socialist in the traditional sense.) Both ideas horrify not just conservatives but also many self-proclaimed centrists.Yet while they may seem similar if you think of everything as left versus right, they’re very different on another dimension, which you might call purity versus pragmatism. And that difference is why I believe progressives should enthusiastically embrace the G.N.D. while being much more cautious about M4A.You see, for

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Why Does Trump Want to Debase the Fed?

April 8, 2019

As far as I know, the Federal Reserve — the world’s most important economic policy institution — doesn’t have an anthem. But if it were to adopt one now, the choice would be obvious: “Send In the Clowns.”You see, the Fed’s governing board currently has two vacancies, and Donald Trump has proposed filling those vacancies with ludicrous hacks. If he succeeds, one of our few remaining havens of serious, nonpartisan policymaking will be on its way toward becoming as corrupt and dysfunctional as the rest of the Trump administration.Stephen Moore and Herman Cain are, of course, completely unqualified — I say “of course” because their lack of qualifications is, paradoxically, a key qualification not just for Trump but for the G.O.P. in general. There are plenty of genuine monetary experts with

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Donald Trump Is Trying to Kill You

April 4, 2019

There’s a lot we don’t know about the legacy Donald Trump will leave behind. And it is, of course, hugely important what happens in the 2020 election. But one thing seems sure: Even if he’s a one-term president, Trump will have caused, directly or indirectly, the premature deaths of a large number of Americans.Some of those deaths will come at the hands of right-wing, white nationalist extremists, who are a rapidly growing threat, partly because they feel empowered by a president who calls them “very fine people.”Some will come from failures of governance, like the inadequate response to Hurricane Maria, which surely contributed to the high death toll in Puerto Rico. (Reminder: Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens.)Some will come from the administration’s continuing efforts to sabotage

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Republican Health Care Lying Syndrome

April 1, 2019

There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and Republican claims about health care.O.K., it’s not news that politicians make misleading claims, some more than others. According to a running tally kept by Daniel Dale of The Toronto Star, as of Monday morning, Donald Trump had said 4,682 false things as president.But G.O.P. health care claims are special, in several ways. First, they’re outright, clearly intentional lies — not dubious assertions or misstatements that could be attributed to ignorance or misunderstanding. Second, they’re repetitive: Rather than making a wide variety of false claims, Republicans keep telling the same few lies, over and over. Third, they keep doing this even though the public long ago stopped believing anything they say on the subject.This syndrome demands

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The Incredible Shrinking Trump Boom

March 30, 2019

So far, Donald Trump has passed only one significant piece of legislation: the 2017 tax cut. It was, to be fair, a pretty big deal: corporations, the principal beneficiaries, have already saved more than $150 billion, and over the course of a decade the tax cut will probably increase the budget deficit by more than $2 trillion.But the tax cut was supposed to do more than just give stockholders more money — or at least that’s what its proponents claimed. It was also supposed to lead to many years of high economic growth, 3 percent or more at an annual rate.Independent observers were skeptical, to say the least. They conceded that the tax cut might lead to a brief sugar high, because that’s what big deficits do. But any favorable effects on growth, they argued, would soon fade out. And they

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G.O.P. Cruelty Is a Pre-existing Condition

March 28, 2019

It’s already clear how the 2020 election campaign will be waged. Republicans will claim, falsely, that Democrats want to take away your hamburgers. Democrats will assert, truthfully, that Republicans want to take away your health care.I guess we’ll see which argument wins.On Monday, the Trump administration adopted a new position on a lawsuit over the Affordable Care Act, telling a federal appeals court that it now supported the complete elimination of the law, which has made health insurance available to many Americans who wouldn’t have it otherwise.We have a very good idea what would happen if this lawsuit were to succeed. Around 20 million Americans would lose health coverage. While Donald Trump reportedly thinks that attacking the A.C.A. will please his base, the greatest devastation

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Republicans Really Hate Healthcare

March 26, 2019

Of all the political issues that divide us, health care is the one with the greatest impact on ordinary Americans’ lives. If Democrats hadn’t managed to pass the Affordable Care Act, around 20 million fewer Americans would have health insurance than currently do. If Republican-controlled states hadn’t refused to expand Medicaid and generally done as little as possible to support the act, national progress might have tracked progress in, say, California – so another 7 or 8 million people might have coverage.You obviously know where I stand on this political divide. But I’m starting to believe that I misjudged Republican motives.You see, I thought their behavior was cynical and strategic: They opposed Obamacare because they thought there was political mileage in scaring people about change,

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Trump’s Kakistocracy Is Also a Hackistocracy

March 25, 2019

It’s no secret that Donald Trump has appointed a lot of partisan, unqualified hacks to key policy positions. A few months ago my colleague Gail Collins asked readers to help her select Trump’s worst cabinet member. It was a hard choice, because there were so many qualified applicants.The winner, by the way, was Wilbur Ross, the commerce secretary. That looks like an even better call now: Ross’s department has reportedly prepared a report declaring that imports of European cars threaten U.S. national security. This is both ludicrous and dangerous. It gives Trump the right to start a new phase in his trade war that would inflict severe economic damage while alienating our allies — and, as a result, undermine national security.Until recently, however, one agency had seemed immune to the

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Don’t Make Health Care a Purity Test

March 21, 2019

We’re now in the silly season of the Democratic primary — a season that, I worry, may last all the way to the nomination. There are many honorable exceptions, but an awful lot of reporting seems to be third order — not about the candidates, let alone their policy proposals, but about pundits’ views about voters’ views of candidates’ electability. It’s a discussion in which essentially nobody has any idea what he or she is talking about.Meanwhile, however, there are some real continuing policy debates. They’re not mainly about goals: Whoever the Democrats nominate will profess allegiance to a progressive agenda aimed at reducing inequality, strengthening the social safety net and taking action on climate change. But there are some big differences about how to achieve those goals.And the

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Holy Voodoo, Batman!

March 20, 2019

The 2019 Economic Report of the President is out, and everyone is having fun with the bit at the end that acknowledges the help of student interns – a list that includes Peter Parker, Aunt May, Bruce Wayne, and Jabba the Hutt:ImageSuper internsCreditEconomic Report of the PresidentThe White House is passing this off as a deliberate joke. More likely, someone slipped superheroes in to see whether anyone in charge was actually paying attention, and proved that they weren’t.But the bigger news from the report involves the supposed economic payoffs from the Trump tax cut. Even the White House now acknowledges that the tax cut won’t do all they said it would – their wildly optimistic economic projections depend on the claimed payoff to other economic policies that they themselves haven’t

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Mourning the Loss of Alan Krueger

March 19, 2019

ImageAlan Krueger at the White House in 2011.CreditAndrew Harrer/BloombergThis article is part of Paul Krugman’s newsletter. You can sign up here to receive it each week.Normally this newsletter would be concerned with events in the wider world. But right now I just have to write about the shocking death — reportedly by suicide — of my former Princeton colleague, the economist Alan Krueger, at the age of 58.I thought I knew Alan reasonably well and never saw a hint that something like this might be coming. But people’s lives often feel very different from the inside than they look on the outside.What I can talk about is Alan’s work and why it mattered so much to other economists, myself very much included. For his research arguably did more to change how we view the economy than that of

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Getting Real About Rural America

March 18, 2019

Things clump together; the periphery cannot hold.As you read this, Democratic presidential hopefuls are crisscrossing Iowa, trying to assure farmers that they share their concerns. Commentators are publishing opinion pieces about how Democrats can win back rural voters. Think tanks are issuing manifestoes about reviving heartland economies.There’s nothing wrong with discussing these issues. Rural lives matter — we’re all Americans, and deserve to share in the nation’s wealth. Rural votes matter even more; like it or not, our political system gives hugely disproportionate weight to less populous states, which are also generally states with relatively rural populations.But it’s also important to get real. There are powerful forces behind the relative and in some cases absolute economic

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