Ep. 37 Our Most Brutal Takedown Yet: Krugman on the Clinton Economy

1 June 2016     |     Tom Woods     |     19

In this column, Krugman takes things to a whole new level. He tries to draw lessons from the Clinton boom in the 1990s, which he incorrectly says was better than the Reagan boom, even though he himself admits there are no applicable lessons from that boom. It’s awful, and we beat him to an intellectual pulp.

Krugman Column

Remembrance of Booms Past” (May 23, 2016)

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Contra Columns

Krugman’s Call for a Housing Bubble,” by Dan Sanchez
Paul Krugman and the Housing Bubble,” by Gene Epstein

Krugman on the Internet

Paul Krugman Responds To All The People Throwing Around His Old Internet Quote,” by Jay Yarow



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  • https://www.facebook.com/david.rogers.hunt David_Rogers_Hunt

    The 1990’s was an economic success because the Democrats had the White house and the Republicans had the legislature,… and the Republicans wouldn’t do anything the Democrats were seen as supporting,… and, as a result, spending went down (somewhat). Spending was cut entirely for political perceived advantages to the Republicans.

    This is not, necessarily, a bad thing!

  • Keegan Idler

    I prefer the episodes you do without guests.

  • ClearSkys

    Gene Epstein makes some insightful comments here, he is a good guest to have in my opinion. It’s interesting that he calls the Clinton’s era budget surplus “technical surplus”, first time I hear it described in those terms. I am guessing that Gene calls the surplus “technical” for accuracy because there was in fact no real surplus since the debt was increased every single year of Clinton’s presidency.

    • Hidden

      I never heard of this before. Wasn’t it because there was a Democratic president and Republican congress? I thought that stopped them from coming to a compromise.

  • Europa Dimico!

    Krugman’s blatant and obsequious partisanship should be looked upon by economists of all schools as disgraceful and embarrassing to the field. If future historians bother to comb through his work, wondering perplexedly why he was so popular, they would find his disastrous predictions and careless inconsistencies, and be none the wiser.

  • CristobaI

    I cannot believe that Krugman quote Murphy rolled out about the Tech-Bubble “solution.”

    Why is that not on billboards across America…???

    • Ron H.

      If I had to guess, I’d say it’s because the ContraKrugman show has a very limited budget. Perhaps a GoFundMe crowd sourcing effort is in order.

  • Kyle J Gibson

    Enjoyed the episode, however the typing in the background was at times distracting.

  • Excelsior1958

    Why don’t you start doing these in video. I really hate podcasts. I am very visual.

    • Martin Jones

      But don’t stop the pod casts. I like to listen to them while I drive. Much better than talk radio.

  • max

    Volker was appointed by Carter. Most of Reagan deregulation was started by Carter. I wonder if we should reevaluate the role of that most unlucky president in the great productivity increases of the Reagan/Clinton era.

  • Voluntary Interaction

    Excellent episode! Now, whoever was typing while the guest was talking, please never do that again…Bob! Better yet, never type at all during the show if it can be heard.

    • Martin Jones

      I was wondering what that sound was.

    • http://www.TomWoods.com Tom Woods

      When we have a guest, he’s mixed in with Bob’s track, so ambient noise can’t be removed. Won’t happen again.

      • Voluntary Interaction

        No worries. I just like giving Bob a hard time 😉 And thank you!

  • Bill Potts

    Holy crap! Gene Epstein is the reason this episode was so good. Have him as a guest more often!

  • http://www.economicmanblog.com Roger Barris

    Great job by Gene Epstein but as much as I love a good smack down of Krugman, he is misinterpreting Krugman’s point about technology.
    Krugman is not saying that technology creates jobs. As Epstein rightly points out, technology is agnostic on the creation of jobs and, in fact, if anything (on a first-order basis) it typically reduces jobs. Krugman is instead making a Keynesian statement about aggregate demand. He is saying that the prospect of tremendous productivity improvements due to technology lead to a large amount of private investment. This private investment (in the classically Keynesian sense of C+I+G+(X-M)) increased aggregate demand, which in turn produced full employment. He is NOT saying that technology created jobs. He is saying that INVESTMENT in technology, by increasing aggregate demand, created jobs. Therefore, he is being consistent when he says that investment in infrastructure or carbon reduction would also increase aggregate demand and the demand for labor. ANY INVESTMENT, in the Krugman world, would produce the desired effect (as Bob Murphy pointed out with his comment about preparing for an invasion by aliens). He is just saying that we cannot count on a new tech boom to assure that this will be private sector investment.
    There are many bases to assail this column by Krugman, and Epstein got most of them with his other comments, but this attack is misguided.
    Roger Barris

  • Bob_Robert

    I’ve often said that the gridlock of having the Whitehouse and Congress in opposition is why the 1990s were any good at all.

    If Clinton or Trump is elected, each will have such a rabid opposition that it may bring back gridlock. Bring Back Gridlock! Gridlock is “checks and balances” in action, and is great for the taxpayer.

  • MaryMacMaster

    The only thing that Krugman is expert at is at being a well practiced pathological liar.