Wednesday , October 28 2020
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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

Trump Tells Coronavirus, ‘I Surrender’

2 days ago

As we head into the final stretch of the election, Covid-19 is on a roll.Coronavirus cases keep hitting records — among other things, five aides to Vice President Mike Pence have tested positive. Hospitalizations, which lag behind cases, are soaring. And deaths, which lag even further behind, are starting to rise, too. Put it this way: Just between now and Election Day, we’re likely to lose almost twice as many Americans to Covid-19 as died on 9/11.So how is the Trump administration responding? Actually doing anything about the pandemic is apparently off the table. What we’re getting instead is a multilevel public relations strategy: We’re doing a great job. Anyway, there’s nothing anyone can do. And besides, doctors are faking the numbers so they can make more money.These are, of course,

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When Libertarianism Goes Bad

6 days ago

A long time ago, in an America far, far away — actually just last spring — many conservatives dismissed Covid-19 as a New York problem. It’s true that in the first few months of the pandemic, the New York area, the port of entry for many infected visitors from Europe, was hit very hard. But the focus on New York also played into right-wing “American carnage” narratives about the evils of densely populated, diverse cities. Rural white states imagined themselves immune.But New York eventually controlled its viral surge, in large part via widespread mask-wearing, and at this point the “anarchist jurisdiction” is one of the safest places in the country. Despite a worrying uptick in some neighborhoods, especially in religious communities that have been flouting rules on social distancing, New

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Por qué Biden tiene que gastar a lo grande

7 days ago

¿Cuál debería ser la política económica de Joe Biden si gana (y si los demócratas asumen el control del Senado, para que en verdad pueda promulgar leyes)? Estoy bastante seguro de saber lo que sus economistas creen que debería hacer, pero no tengo la misma certeza acerca de que todos los miembros de su equipo …

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Why Biden Will Need to Spend Big

9 days ago

What should Joe Biden’s economic policy be if he wins (and Democrats take the Senate, so that he can actually pass legislation)? I’m pretty sure I know what his economists think he should do, but I’m not equally sure that everyone on his political team fully gets it, and I’m worried that the news media will experience sticker shock — that is, they may not be ready for the price tag on what he should and probably will propose.So here’s what everyone should understand: Given the current and likely future state of the U.S. economy, it’s time to (a) spend a lot of money on the future and (b) not worry about where the money is coming from. For now, and for at least the next few years, large-scale deficit spending isn’t just OK, it’s the only responsible thing to do.Today’s column will be about

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How the G.O.P. Can Still Wreck America

13 days ago

After 2016, nobody will or should take anything for granted, but at this point Joe Biden is strongly favored to beat Donald Trump, quite possibly by a landslide. However, Trump’s party may still be in a position to inflict enormous damage on America and the world over the next few years.For one thing, while Democrats are also favored to take control of the Senate, the odds aren’t nearly as high as they are in the presidential race. Why? Because the Senate, which gives the average voter in Wyoming 70 times as much weight as the average voter in California, is a deeply unrepresentative body.And it looks as if a president who is probably about to become a lame duck — and who lost the popular vote even in 2016 — together with a Senate that represents a minority of the American people are about

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Mitch McConnell’s Mission of Misery

16 days ago

I keep seeing news reports saying that the Trump administration is “pivoting” on economic stimulus. But Donald Trump has been reversing positions so frequently that it looks less like a series of pivots than like a tailspin.Over the course of just a week he went from demanding big stimulus, to calling off negotiations, to demanding big stimulus again, to calling for a small-scale deal using already allocated funds.It would be funny if the human consequences weren’t so terrible. At this point the best guess is that for the next three-plus months — that is, until President Joe Biden takes office (highly likely, though not certain) with a Democratic Senate (more likely than not, but definitely not a sure thing) — there will be little or no aid for the millions of families, thousands of

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Trump Is Killing the Economy Out of Spite

20 days ago

SectionsSkip to contentSkip to site indexLast year Donald Trump called Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker, a “nasty, vindictive, horrible person.” Actually, she isn’t — but he is.Trump’s vindictiveness has become a major worry as the election approaches. He has already signaled that he won’t accept the result if he loses, which seems increasingly likely though not certain. Nobody knows what chaos, possibly including violence, he may unleash if the election doesn’t go his way.Even aside from that concern, however, a defeated Trump would still be president for two and a half months. Would he spend that time acting destructively, in effect taking revenge on America for rejecting him?Well, we got a preview of what a lame-duck Trump presidency might look like Tuesday. Trump hasn’t even lost yet,

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Bidencare Would Be a Big Deal

23 days ago

On Monday morning America’s most prominent beneficiary of socialized medicine, in the process of receiving expensive, taxpayer-financed care at a government-run hospital, was tweeting furiously. One of President Trump’s manic missives particularly caught the eyes of health care experts: his exhortation to “PROTECT PREEXISTING CONDITIONS. VOTE!”As always, it’s not clear whether Trump is merely being cynical or whether he is also genuinely ignorant.He’s definitely lying when he claims to have a plan that’s better and cheaper than Obamacare. No such plan exists, and he has to know that.But does he know that Americans with pre-existing medical conditions are already protected by the Affordable Care Act, which his administration is asking the Supreme Court to overturn? Does he realize that the

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The Very Strong Case for Bidenomics

27 days ago

Thanks to Donald Trump’s shouting and nonstop lying, there wasn’t much of a substantive policy discussion at the debate on Tuesday.But there were some broad — and unsurprisingly, false — assertions about economic policy. Joe Biden claimed that his tax and spending plans would create millions of jobs and promote economic growth. Trump claimed that they would destroy the economy.Well, everything we know suggests that Biden was right and Trump wrong. And I’m not the only one saying this. Nonpartisan analysts like Moody’s Analytics and the not-exactly-socialist economists at Goldman Sachs are remarkably high on Biden’s proposals.Before I get there, some history.There’s a widespread perception that Republicans are better than Democrats at managing the economy. But that’s not at all what the

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Trump’s Debt, His Future and Ours

September 28, 2020

The bombshell New York Times report on Donald Trump’s tax returns is a remarkable feat of journalism. The team deserves special praise for making their findings comprehensible to general readers, and not getting lost in the details.Yet like many other revelations in the Trump era, the tax news falls into the category of “shocking but not surprising.” Many observers had already surmised that Trump paid little or no taxes, that his claims of brilliant business success were a fiction, and that he is deep in debt. Now all of that is virtually confirmed. But what does it mean for America’s future?Everyone will come at this question from their own angle. When I read the Times report, I quickly found myself thinking about … the theory of business capital structure. No, really.For many people, no

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Trump’s Stalinist Approach to Science

September 24, 2020

Lately I’ve found myself thinking about Trofim Lysenko.Who? Lysenko was a Soviet agronomist who decided that modern genetics was all wrong, indeed contrary to Marxist-Leninist principles. He even denied that genes existed, while insisting that long-discredited views about evolution were actually right. Real scientists marveled at his ignorance.But Joseph Stalin liked him, so Lysenko’s views became official doctrine, and scientists who refused to endorse them were sent to labor camps or executed. Lysenkoism became the basis for much of the Soviet Union’s agricultural policy, eventually contributing to the disastrous famines of the 1930s.Does all of this sound a bit familiar given recent events in America?Those worried about a crisis of democracy in the United States — which means everyone

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Voting G.O.P. Means Voting Against Health Care

September 21, 2020

If you or someone you care about are among the more than 50 million Americans suffering from pre-existing medical conditions, you should be aware that the stakes in this year’s election go beyond abstract things like, say, the survival of American democracy. They’re also personal. If Donald Trump is re-elected, you will lose the protection you’ve had since the Affordable Care Act went into effect almost seven years ago.The death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg has made this even more obvious. In fact, it’s now possible that coverage of pre-existing conditions will be stripped away even if Trump loses to Joe Biden, unless Democrats also take the Senate and are prepared to play serious hardball. But health care was always on the line.Now, Trump denies this; like almost every other politician in his

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What Is It With Trump and Face Masks?

September 17, 2020

Believe it or not — and I know many people will refuse to believe it — right now New York City may be among the best places in America to avoid catching the coronavirus.In New York State as a whole, the number of people dying daily from Covid-19 is only slightly higher than the number killed in traffic accidents. In New York City, only around 1 percent of tests for the coronavirus are coming up positive, compared with, for example, more than 12 percent in Florida.How did New York get here from the nightmarish days of April? It’s no mystery: partial herd immunity might be a small factor, but mainly the state did simple, obvious things to limit virus transmission. Bars are closed; indoor dining is still banned. Above all, there’s a face-mask mandate that people generally obey.New York isn’t

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The G.O.P. Plot to Sabotage 2021

September 14, 2020

Nobody knows for sure who will win in November. Joe Biden holds the advantage right now, but between the vagaries of the Electoral College and whatever October surprises the Trumpists cook up — you know they’re coming — who knows?One thing that’s clear, however, is that Republicans — not just Donald Trump, but his whole party — are acting as if there’s no tomorrow. Or, more precisely, they’re acting as if there’s no next year.And this means that if Biden does win, he will have to govern in the face of what amounts to nonstop policy sabotage from his political opponents.To see what I mean about acting as if there’s no next year, consider the large (and illegal) indoor rally Trump held Sunday in Nevada.Before the release of Bob Woodward’s new book, you might have argued that Trump doesn’t

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Trump’s Coronavirus Response Was Beyond Incompetent

September 10, 2020

Most cases in which cars kill pedestrians surely reflect negligence: drivers who were too busy talking on their cellphones or thinking about their golf games to notice the senior citizen crossing the street in front of them. A handful are acts of murder, like when a man killed a woman by plowing his car into counterprotesters at a neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Va.But sometimes drivers end up killing other people because they were engaging in clearly dangerous behavior, like driving well above the speed limit and running multiple red lights. The resulting deaths aren’t considered murder. But they might be considered manslaughter, which is when you didn’t specifically intend to kill someone but your irresponsible actions killed them all the same.Until this week I thought that Donald

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La miseria interna bruta está en ascenso

September 9, 2020

Regístrate para recibir nuestro boletín con lo mejor de The New York Times.¿Ahora estás mejor, en comparación a como estabas en julio?A juzgar por las apariencias, eso ni siquiera debería preguntarse. Después de todo, las acciones están al alza; la economía sumó más de un millón de empleos en “agosto” (explicaré las comillas en un momento), y los cálculos preliminares sugieren que el producto interno bruto ha crecido con rapidez en el tercer trimestre, que termina este mes.Sin embargo, el mercado bursátil no es la economía: más de la mitad de todas las acciones pertenecen al uno por ciento de los estadounidenses, mientras que la mitad inferior de la población solo posee un 0,7 por ciento del mercado.Por el contrario, los empleos y el PIB, son más o menos la economía. No obstante, no son el

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Gross Domestic Misery Is Rising

September 7, 2020

Are you better off now than you were in July?On the face of it, that shouldn’t even be a question. After all, stocks are up; the economy added more than a million jobs in “August” (I’ll explain the scare quotes in a minute); preliminary estimates suggest that G.D.P. is growing rapidly in the third quarter, which ends this month.But the stock market isn’t the economy: more than half of all stocks are owned by only 1 percent of Americans, while the bottom half of the population owns only 0.7 percent of the market.Jobs and G.D.P., by contrast, sort of are the economy. But they aren’t the economy’s point. What some economists and many politicians often forget is that economics isn’t fundamentally about data, it’s about people. I like data as much as, or probably more than, the next guy. But an

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Trump and the Attack of the Invisible Anarchists

September 3, 2020

On Thursday morning I walked across much of Manhattan and back again. (Why are all the doctors’ offices on the East Side?) It was a beautiful day, and the city looked cheerful: Shops were open, people were drinking coffee in the sidewalk seating areas that have proliferated during the pandemic, Central Park was full of joggers and cyclists.But I must have been imagining all that, because Donald Trump assures me that New York is beset by “anarchy, violence and destruction.”With only two months left in the presidential campaign, Trump has evidently decided that he can neither run on his own record nor effectively attack Joe Biden. Instead, he’s running against anarchists who, he insists, secretly rule the Democratic Party and are laying waste to America’s cities.There’s not much to be said

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Trump Had One Good Response to Covid-19. His Party Killed It.

August 31, 2020

For the most part, America under Donald Trump’s leadership has offered an object lesson in how not to handle a pandemic. Delay and denial deprived us of any chance of containing the coronavirus’s early spread; impatience and further denial led to a huge second wave of infections.As I pointed out in a previous column, a great majority of U.S. Covid-19 deaths have taken place since April 17, the day Trump tweeted out his support for demonstrators demanding that states end restrictions on high-risk activities.And in America, uniquely among advanced nations, common-sense precautions like wearing face coverings and avoiding large indoor gatherings have become battlefields in the culture war.Yet in one area — economic policy — America did a surprisingly good job, containing the hardship and

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April Was Trump’s Cruelest Month

August 27, 2020

On Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence peddled an extraordinary fantasy about Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus. Pence’s tale of heroic, decisive leadership was so completely at odds with reality that pretty much the only words he spoke that weren’t lies were “a,” “and,” and “the.”And most media organizations did, indeed, point out the falsehoods.Yet what seems to me to be missing from much of the commentary on the Republican carnival of disinformation is an acknowledgment that Trump’s worst hour came not during Covid-19’s initial surge but weeks later, when he did all he could to push America into a reckless — and maskless — reopening.And he’s doing it again. Speaker after speaker at the Republican National Convention referred to Covid-19, if at all, in the past tense. Their

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QAnon Is Trump’s Last, Best Chance

August 24, 2020

Last week’s Democratic National Convention was mainly about decency — about portraying Joe Biden and his party as good people who will do their best to heal a nation afflicted by a pandemic and a depression. There were plenty of dire warnings about the threat of Trumpism; there was frank acknowledgment of the toll taken by disease and unemployment; but on the whole the message was surprisingly upbeat.This week’s Republican National Convention, by contrast, however positive its official theme, is going to be QAnon all the way.I don’t mean that there will be featured speeches claiming that Donald Trump is protecting us from an imaginary cabal of liberal pedophiles, although anything is possible. But it’s safe to predict that the next few days will be filled with QAnon-type warnings about

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Stocks Are Soaring. So Is Misery.

August 21, 2020

On Tuesday, the S&P 500 stock index hit a record high. The next day, Apple became the first U.S. company in history to be valued at more than $2 trillion. Donald Trump is, of course, touting the stock market as proof that the economy has recovered from the coronavirus; too bad about those 173,000 dead Americans, but as he says, “It is what it is.”But the economy probably doesn’t feel so great to the millions of workers who still haven’t gotten their jobs back and who have just seen their unemployment benefits slashed. The $600 a week supplemental benefit enacted in March has expired, and Trump’s purported replacement is basically a sick joke.Even before the aid cutoff, the number of parents reporting that they were having trouble giving their children enough to eat was rising rapidly. That

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Trump, the Mail and the Unbinding of America

August 17, 2020

In June the independent website Factcheck.org made a dig at Joe Biden, publishing a post titled “Biden Floats Baseless Election Conspiracy.” Biden, you see, had suggested that Donald Trump “wants to cut off money for the post office so they cannot deliver mail-in ballots.” There was, said the post, no evidence that Trump’s “stance toward the U.S. postal system is related to the presidential election.”A few days ago Factcheck.org conceded that Biden had, in fact, been right. The confirmation? Trump’s own statements.Nancy Pelosi is calling the House back from summer recess to consider legislation on the issue, and for good reason: There are not one but two possible constitutional crises looming. In one, millions of votes never get counted. In the other, delays in the counting of mail-in

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Trump’s Racist, Statist Suburban Dream

August 13, 2020

Conservatives do love their phony wars. Remember the war on Christmas? Remember the “war on coal”? (Donald Trump promised to end that war, but in the third year of his presidency coal production fell to its lowest level since 1978, and the Department of Energy expects it to keep falling.)Now, as the Trump campaign desperately searches for political avenues of attack, we’re hearing a lot about the “war on the suburbs.”It’s probably not a line that will play well outside the G.O.P.’s hard-core base; Joe Biden and Kamala Harris don’t exactly come across as rabble-rousers who will lead raging antifa hordes as they pillage America’s subdivisions.Yet it is true that a Biden-Harris administration would resume and probably expand on Obama-era efforts to finally make the Fair Housing Act of 1968

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Trump Sends In the Economic Quacks

August 10, 2020

As the U.S. economy careens toward disaster, congressional talks about what to do appear to have ground to a halt. So on Saturday President Trump — speaking at one of his golf courses, of course — announced four executive measures that, he claimed, would rescue the recovery.Unfortunately, one of the measures was vacuous, one trivial and one unworkable. And the fourth may do substantial harm.The vacuous measure simply calls on government agencies to “consider” helping renters facing eviction. The trivial measure waives interest and defers principal repayment on student loans.The unworkable measure supposedly provides new aid to the unemployed, who have lost pandemic benefits because Senate Republicans don’t want to provide them; but the announced program would be an administrative nightmare

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Coming Next: The Greater Recession

August 6, 2020

One pretty good forecasting rule for the coronavirus era has been to take whatever Trump administration officials are saying and assume that the opposite will happen. When President Trump declared in February that the number of cases would soon go close to zero, you knew that a huge pandemic was coming. When Vice President Mike Pence insisted in mid-June that “there isn’t a coronavirus ‘second wave,’” a giant surge in new cases and deaths was clearly imminent.And when Larry Kudlow, the administration’s chief economist, declared just last week that a “V-shaped recovery” was still on track, it was predictable that the economy would stall.On Friday, we’ll get an official employment report for July. But a variety of private indicators, like the monthly report from the data-processing firm ADP,

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The Unemployed Stare Into the Abyss. Republicans Look Away.

August 3, 2020

In case you haven’t noticed, the coronavirus is still very much with us. Around a thousand Americans are dying from Covid-19 each day, 10 times the rate in the European Union. Thanks to our failure to control the pandemic, we’re still suffering from Great Depression levels of unemployment; a brief recovery driven by premature attempts to resume business as usual appears to have petered out as states pause or reverse their opening.Yet enhanced unemployment benefits, a crucial lifeline for tens of millions of Americans, have expired. And negotiations over how — or even whether — to restore aid appear to be stalled.You sometimes see headlines describing this crisis as a result of “congressional dysfunction.” Such headlines reveal a severe case of bothsidesism — the almost pathological

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The Nightmare on Pennsylvania Avenue

July 30, 2020

Every worker’s nightmare is the horrible boss — everyone knows at least one — who is utterly incompetent yet refuses to step aside. Such bosses have the reverse Midas touch — everything they handle turns to crud — but they’ll pull out every stop, violate every norm, to stay in that corner office. And they damage, sometimes destroy, the institutions they’re supposed to lead.Donald Trump is, of course, one of those bosses. Unfortunately, he’s not just a bad business executive. He is, God help us, the president. And the institution he may destroy is the United States of America.Has any previous president failed his big test as thoroughly as Trump has these past few months? He rejected the advice of health experts and pushed for a rapid economic reopening, hoping for a boom leading into the

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The Cult of Selfishness Is Killing America

July 27, 2020

America’s response to the coronavirus has been a lose-lose proposition.The Trump administration and governors like Florida’s Ron DeSantis insisted that there was no trade-off between economic growth and controlling the disease, and they were right — but not in the way they expected.Premature reopening led to a surge in infections: Adjusted for population, Americans are currently dying from Covid-19 at around 15 times the rate in the European Union or Canada. Yet the “rocket ship” recovery Donald Trump promised has crashed and burned: Job growth appears to have stalled or reversed, especially in states that were most aggressive about lifting social distancing mandates, and early indications are that the U.S. economy is lagging behind the economies of major European nations.So we’re failing

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Why Can’t Trump’s America Be Like Italy?

July 23, 2020

A few days ago The Times published a long, damning article about how the Trump administration managed to fail so completely in responding to the coronavirus. Much of the content confirmed what anyone following the debacle suspected. One thing I didn’t see coming, however, was the apparently central role played by Italy’s experience.Italy, you see, was the first Western nation to experience a major wave of infections. Hospitals were overwhelmed; partly as a result, the initial death toll was terrible. Yet cases peaked after a few weeks and began a steep decline. And White House officials were seemingly confident that America would follow a similar track.We didn’t. U.S. cases plateaued for a couple of months, then began rising rapidly. Death rates followed with a lag. At this point we can

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