PAUL KRUGMAN IS NOT THAT COSMIC, BUT I AM
"Paul Krugman's fear for lost decade," by Will Hutton. The Observer. June 14, 2009:
WH [Will Hutton]: So rein in the financial monster and give a fiscal stimulus. So you would leave the American way of doing capitalism untouched?
PK [Paul Krugman]: I'm not that cosmic in this stuff. But it is true that Gordon Gekko [the anti-hero of Oliver Stone's film Wall Street, motto: Greed is Good] went hand in hand with the wave of financialisation. Corporations got more brutal and fiercer.
WH: But it is all connected. Without the leverage, there would have been no Gordon Gekkos. And leverage meant that predator companies had the firepower to launch contested hostile takeovers. The only way to fend off attack, or to make the sums work after an attack, was for companies to be more brutal and fierce – often breaking the promises to staff and suppliers that kept commitment and trust.
PK: All of that is true. I have a more mundane view about what we do. I just want a stronger welfare state and a little bit more social democracy. And some restoration of the labour movement as a counterweight.
I'm not sure – maybe I'm just not thinking about it deeply enough [He's not!]. I guess I've got the same attitude Keynes had, which was he was looking for almost technical fixes. You're looking for ways to fix the parts that have gone wrong rather than replace the whole thing.
You know the human cost of this crisis is vastly worse in America than it is on this side of the Atlantic. So this is a good time to push for a better US social safety net too.
WH: And lastly – you've been critical about Obama. Your view now?
PK: I'm increasingly happy with him. I was unhappy; I think they could have gotten a bigger stimulus coming out the gate. But they've become more forceful. I would have been more aggressive on the banks; we'll see if we need to re-fight that battle later on. [It won't stop until they are gone.]
Healthcare is looking really good. I'm getting increasingly optimistic on healthcare reform. Climate change looks like it's going to happen. So my odds that this will in fact be the kind of New Deal I was hoping for are rising. I had my scepticism, but he is smart. He's impressive. And it is such a relief to have somebody whom you can respect in the White House.
He's dreaming. How can he respect a baby killer — firing predator-drone missiles at babies? How weak is his god.