The Wrong Way to Criticize Economic Policy, Krugman-Style

Once again, Krugman uses his lofty roost at the New York Times to dump macroeconomic bird shit on the American people, and once again, a great swath of the American public is heralding his corrosive bird shit as “manna from heaven”. As is typical, they have made Krugman out to be the “Sir Lancelot” of macroeconomics; the champion of progressives everywhere. It’s corporate media-driven horseshit, the lot of it. What these gullible people are actually doing is stroking a neo-liberal snake oil salesman’s exaggerated sense of self-importance.

In a recent dam-burst of drivel, Paul Krugman uses his column at the New York Times as a teaching platform for his faithful flock of neo-liberals… Sorry, I meant to say, “New Democrats”. What’s he teaching? November 21st’s lesson is: “How to critique a nonsensical economic initiative with economic nonsense and appear progressive while doing it.”

Fans of Krugmania will be persuaded by his politics alone that Paul really knows his stuff when it comes to macroeconomics. If you remove any and all references to economics from his article, Paul is correct. While Paul is a junk economist, he is an OK political pundit for neo-liberals… Damn. I did it again. How unprofessional of me. I meant, “New Democrats”.

Krugman begins his lesson, citing a fact that will send his disciples over the edge:

“Steve Bannon, Donald Trump’s chief strategist, is a white supremacist and purveyor of fake news. But the other day, in an interview with, um, The Hollywood Reporter, he sounded for a minute like a progressive economist. “I’m the guy pushing a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan,” he declared. “With negative interest rates throughout the world, it’s the greatest opportunity to rebuild everything.”

Next, Krugman engages in a very brief smear attack on Bernie Sanders, because he loathes actual progressives. See February 19, 2016. Paul Krugman wants to remind the Hillary Clinton, Democratic establishment, Wall Street boot-licking, neo-liberal faithful that Bernie is still a category five threat to the plans of all of these latte-drinking jackwagons to stick it to the working man and woman, as well as the US economy, by expanding private debt and perpetuating a speculation economy:

“So is public investment an area in which progressives and the incoming Trump administration can find common ground? Some people, including Bernie Sanders, seem to think so.”

God forbid, actual progressives who will deficit spend for full employment and the public purpose should take over the Democratic Party before the next election. Were those progressives advocates for macroeconomic reality, that would also mean an end to Wall Street’s basic income guarantee. Whoops. Excuse me, I meant to say, that would also mean an end to interest rate hikes – A Zero Interest Rate Policy, and along with that, an end to treasury bonds. Krugman then finishes up his appeal to emotion by pointing out Trump’s failure as a businessman and his criminal behavior:

“But remember that we’re dealing with a president-elect whose business career is one long trail of broken promises and outright scams — someone who just paid $25 million to settle fraud charges against his “university.” Given that history, you always have to ask whether he’s offering something real or simply engaged in another con job. In fact, you should probably assume that it’s a scam until proven otherwise.”

So, an excellent appeal to emotion lead-in, because the use of logical fallacies is how we do science, right? His congregation will swallow hook, line and sinker that appeal to emotion, thus enabling Paul to sell them some of his own “varieties of voodoo” – mainstream snake oil about federal spending:

“To understand what’s going on, it may be helpful to start with what we should be doing. The federal government can indeed borrow very cheaply; meanwhile, we really need to spend money on everything from sewage treatment to transit. The indicated course of action, then, is simple: borrow at those low, low rates, and use the funds raised to fix what needs fixing.”

In this recent papal bull, Pope Krugman the Questionable reminds us that the Church of Orthodoxy officially declares the US Government to be broke, and that the US Government must “borrow” its own currency to fund infrastructure spending. It is at this point in his article that Krugman is flat-out lying to his readers, and I accuse him of knowing that he is lying. The rest of his toxic vomit is a regurgitation of the mainstream’s ex ante Government Budget Constraint (GBC). In layperson’s terms, it is “the federal government must borrow” and “federal taxpayers fund federal spending” theme; a theme which you will also find prominently displayed in bold print on any neo-liberal soup kitchen menu:

TODAY’S MENU

Federal Taxpayer Armageddon Soup: “Water from Flint Michigan, served tepid with USDA Grade A bullshit dumplings.”

“Spare a Dime, Brother” National Debt Meatloaf: “Rancid bullshit formed into a log, slathered with horseshit sauce, and seasoned with spices borrowed from China. Your choice of side dishes: ‘Japan is The Walking Dead’ mashed bullshit, or spicy ‘Debt/GDP’ creamed bullshit.”

“Printing Money” Stew: “An endless bowl of aged bullshit from the gold standard era, filled to overflowing, served with ‘Zimbabwe’ bullshit biscuits.”

Firstly, let’s talk reality.

In a fiat regime, which is what we have today, the federal government does not borrow its own currency from the private sector to fund spending, because there are no gold reserves to defend by doing so. Even if the US Government were doing such a thing today, it would be a pointless, inefficient act. There is no real financial necessity for the federal government to borrow. Shout it from the rooftops: There is no gold standard anymore! It’s gone. Done. Outta there. Finished. Finito Mussolini. Pushing up the daisies. Dirt nap. Singing with the choir invisible. The big sleep. Bit the bullet. Kicked the bucket. Took up permanent residence in a Hooverville in heaven.

The fundamental differences between a fiat regime and the gold standard are entirely simple for anyone in the general public to understand.

When the US Government pegged the US Dollar to gold, it fixed the “value” of the dollar to a certain amount of gold, and then agreed to exchange US Dollars on demand for gold at that fixed exchange rate. The federal government had to agree to exchange dollars for gold, otherwise the gold standard would not work. The key difference between the fiat dollar that we have today and a gold standard dollar is how federal spending can be conducted.

During the gold standard era, because the federal government pegged the dollar to gold, it had to have gold reserves on hand so that it could exchange dollars for gold. If the US Government ran out of gold, it could no longer conduct the exchange. Good so far? Fine. So then, how did the federal government avoid running out of gold?

Simple.

The US Government had to limit the amount of US Dollars in circulation so that they would be consistent with the gold supply at the fixed exchange rate. How, then, did the US Government achieve that? You know how. You are told how daily by politicians, the media and mainstream economists. When the federal government wanted to spend, it couldn’t just create more US Dollars and spend them into the economy. That would increase the currency in circulation and there would be more dollars than there would be exchangeable gold. So, there were only two ways the US Government could safely spend and operate a gold standard:

1.) Taxation

Let’s make this very simple for you to understand. We will assume a gold standard and that there is $500 billion in circulation. The US Government taxes $50 billion out of the economy. That leaves $450 billion in circulation. Good so far? Ok.

Next, the US Government then spends the $50 billion in tax dollars that it collected, thus, injecting them back into circulation. Now, once more, $500 billion is in circulation, because:

$450 billion + $50 billion = $500 billion.

No increase in the amount of currency circulating, and so, the gold reserves are defended.

But what if the US Government wanted to deficit spend; that is, spend more than taxed?

2.) Borrowing

Again, let us assume a gold standard and that there is $500 billion in circulation. First, the US Government taxes $50 billion out of the economy. That leaves $450 billion in circulation. But, the US Government wants to do some infrastructure work and $50 billion isn’t enough. It must deficit spend while at the same time, defending the gold reserves.

The US Government offers US Treasury bonds for sale and collects another $100 billion. So, the US Government has removed a total of $150 billion, which leaves $350 billion in circulation. The US Government spends the $150 billion in both tax dollars and borrowed dollars back into circulation. Now, once more, $500 billion is in circulation, because:

$350 billion + $150 billion = $500 billion.

No increase in the amount of currency circulating, and so, the gold reserves are defended.

And that is federal spending within a gold standard regime. But, the year is not 1920. Today, we do not have a gold standard. We have a free-floating, inconvertible fiat regime. There is nothing that the US Dollar is pegged to today. There are no reserves of gold nor anything else that must be defended. This means that the US Government doesn’t need to nonsensically limit the amount of currency in circulation to the supply of some silly finite commodity. In a fiat system, the amount of currency in circulation can easily and safely expand up to the real ability of the economy to produce goods and services. Any persistent increase beyond that will result in inflation. Let’s take a detour for a moment to talk about education. No, it is not off topic, and yes, it is necessary.

The point of education is to ask, “Why is that?”, so let’s turn off the TV, and let’s ask and learn:

“You said that a persistent increase in federal spending beyond the real ability of the economy to produce goods and services will result in inflation. Why is that?”

Hey, glad you asked. What these mainstream jackwagons like Krugman and neo-liberal politicians refuse to tell you, is that federal spending must result in output to avoid a demand-pull inflation episode. What is output? Output is the production of goods and services – you know, the things you need or want to buy with your US Dollars. You can have stagnant output, which means stagnant job creation, you can have decreased output, which requires less labor, or you can have increased output, which requires more labor. The US economy is only capable of so much output, because it is limited by its available real resources (land, raw materials, water, size of the workforce, etc.) The US Government, on the other hand, has an infinite supply of US Dollars that it can spend to access those finite resources. So, when infinite spending power comes up against finite real resources, demand-pull inflation becomes a possibility.

When the US Government deficit spends, it is adding more US Dollars into circulation, which means that consumers can spend more. When they spend, they purchase output created by an effort between both business and labor. When the US Government expands its deficit, consumers can spend more, and so, output must increase to meet the demand. Business hires more labor to increase output. So, as long as the US Government’s infinite capacity to deficit spend can result in output, we are good to go. When it no longer can, the price level will begin to rise and demand-pull inflation will occur, unless the US Government slows its deficit spending, or raises taxes to reduce consumer spending power. The way you avoid such an inflationary episode in the first place, is by deficit spending only to the limit of the economy’s real production ability and no further.

“How do we know what the economy’s real production ability is?”

Yet another great question! Ah, education! It’s so much better, and infinitely more valuable, than just repeating bullshit talking points that you hear from Krugman, politicians, and people on TV.

Boiled down to its essence, an economy’s real production ability is dependent on two things: 1.) non-human materials to create goods and services with (land, iron, steel, water, energy, and so on, and 2.) human labor to produce the goods and services. If a nation lacks material resources, but has plenty of labor power, its production capability is limited to the availability of materials necessary to make goods and services. For instance, consider agriculture. If a nation is large, but most of the land is unfarmable, then its capacity for agriculture production is limited to the small patches of land that are farmable and to crops which can be grown on that land. Now, let’s consider a real world example: Zimbabwe.

During the hyperinflation episode, the nation had enough labor, but lacked the production infrastructure necessary to produce goods and services because government policy destroyed it. In layperson’s terms, Zimbabwe faced a serious supply problem of its own design. Under these conditions, extremely high unemployment existed because there was no way to employ labor to produce anything.

A case of both material and labor supply issues is the Confederate States of America. War with the Union naturally strained the nation’s supply as food, textiles, iron and other goods had to be directed towards the war effort. Bad tax collection policies further constrained supply. Rather than exclusively collect tax in the CSA’s currency, the government sought also to collect goods as payment which worked to undermine the currency. Farmers, for instance, who already faced a shortage of labor power, retaliated by producing only enough food for themselves. As a side note, it is important for you to understand that in the cases of both Zimbabwe and the CSA, a shortage of money wasn’t the problem nor was a fiat currency the problem; the limited real resources that money could buy was the problem.

In the case of the US, material and labor resources are not a problem. The production infrastructure and materials necessary to produce are either sound or can easily be made sound. Labor merely needs to be employed to increase output. Therefore, the US economy’s real production ability is reached when no further labor can be employed to increase output. That is the demand-pull inflation barrier. Since enough “money” is never an issue for the US, the US Government can always produce enough US Dollars to access the idle production capacity, activating idle labor and, thus increasing output. So, federal deficit spending that is too low to reach the inflation barrier results in employable resources being left idle. In other words, federal deficits that are too low result in unemployment and stagnant, or falling output.

The main lesson to be learned here is that because the US Government has an infinite capacity to spend, consumers, therefore, have the potential capacity to place an infinite demand on a finite supply. It is the US Government’s ability to infinitely spend against finite real resources that makes demand-pull inflation possible.

In a gold standard regime, if you reduce the gold supply, you must also reduce the amount of currency that you can have in circulation. Fiat works differently. In a fiat currency regime, if you reduce the real production capacity of the nation’s economy, then you must also reduce federal deficit spending to that new, lower production capacity or face inflation. However, the US does not have a reduced real production capacity. Therefore, If the US has idle production capacity, then all the US Government needs to do is simply increase federal deficit spending to increase output. Increasing the level of currency in circulation to achieve full employment isn’t a problem with a fiat dollar.

Currency, whether gold standard or fiat, accesses real resources. But a gold standard adds an unnecessary, artificial constraint, thereby forcing the government to concern its spending more with the supply of that artificial constraint than the real production ability of the economy. In other words, in a gold standard, the supply of gold takes precedence over full employment. If there is enough gold on hand to allow for enough currency in circulation to attain full employment, then you can attain full employment. If there isn’t enough gold on hand, you must keep currency in circulation below what is necessary to attain full employment and live with a recessionary bias. Simply put, a gold standard is inefficient. Fiat is efficient and eliminates this nonsense.

By manipulating fiscal policy, the US Government regulates consumer spending power. The federal government can deficit spend more, thus, increasing consumer spending, or it can tax more and reduce consumer spending. The function of fiscal policy is to manage the US economy. The purpose, then, of federal spending from the viewpoint of the domestic economy, is for the US Government to use the spending of its own currency, the US Dollar, and its taxation authority to properly regulate the economy by achieving macroeconomic efficiency, which is a situation of actual full employment (where all who are willing and able to work can easily find a full-time job at a decent wage). Deficit spending that results in anything less than actual full employment is inefficiency, and deficit spending persistently beyond actual full employment is inefficiency. The existence of involuntary unemployment or a situation of demand-pull inflation are the result of the mismanagement of the US economy on behalf of the US Government. Without a perpetual reliance on fiscal policy over monetary policy, proper and efficient management of the US economy is entirely impossible.

With our understanding of concepts, let us return to Krugman’s drivel and discuss the correct way to criticize economic policy. I’ll leave Paul’s opening monologue intact, so that people won’t become sidetracked from the learning opportunity here thinking that I’m a Trump supporter, when I am not. Krugman says:

“There are three questions you should immediately ask. First, why do it this way? Why not just have the government do the spending, the way it did when, for example, we built the Interstate Highway System?”

Paul is correct, and we can leave this portion of the argument intact.

“It’s not as if the feds are having trouble borrowing. And while involving private investors may create less upfront government debt than a more straightforward scheme, the eventual burden on taxpayers will be every bit as high if not higher.”

Paul is completely full of shit here. The entire statement has absolutely nothing to do with reality, so we must delete every word from the article.

“Second, how is this scheme supposed to deal with infrastructure needs that can’t be turned into profit centers?”

Paul sort of asks a valid question, but, frankly, the question is not about how to turn a profit on infrastructure. Infrastructure is 100% public purpose and it has no business being privatized, possibility of private profit or not. We must rephrase the sentence to reflect the public purpose nature of infrastructure:

“Second, Infrastructure is 100% public purpose and it has no business being privatized – the possibility of private profit or not. In fact, much of our infrastructure cannot even be turned into profit centers.”

That’s a bit better.

“Our top priorities should include things like repairing levees and cleaning up hazardous waste; where’s the revenue stream? Maybe the government can promise to pay fees in perpetuity, in effect “renting” the repaired levee or waterworks — but that makes it even clearer that we’re basically engaged in a gratuitous handout to select investors.”

Alas, Kruggles derails once more into a fit of drooling nonsense concerning priorities. Our top priorities should not be what Paul thinks they should be. Our top priorities are everything involved in infrastructure. Paul is suggesting that prioritization is important, because he wants you to believe that the US Government has no dollars of its own, it only has access to so many dollars, and should it spend too much, the taxpayers will eventually flounder in poverty. Thus, we must prioritize infrastructure work – Deal now with the most important things, then later on down the road, we can address potholes, collapsing bridges, airports and hospitals.

Ignorance.

There is no reason to prioritize infrastructure work, because the US Government cannot go broke. It can afford to spend whatever is necessary to fix every road, bridge, hospital, airport, levee, and to modernize it too, including solar heated highway pavement for winter travel, and high speed rail, and do it right now, all without a single federal taxpayer dollar involved at any point in time. So, we remove the phrase “Our top priorities should include”, replacing it with “For example, consider things…”:

“For example, consider things like repairing levees and cleaning up hazardous waste; where’s the revenue stream?”

Much better and it’s in keeping with reality.

“Third, what reason do we have to believe that this scheme will generate new investment, as opposed to repackaging things that would have happened anyway?”

Paul resorts to keyboard drool here. Just remove everything after the comma and be direct:

“Third, how can this scheme generate new investment?”

There.

“For example, many cities will have to replace their water systems in the years ahead, one way or another; if that replacement takes place under the Trump scheme rather than through ordinary government investment, we haven’t built additional infrastructure, we’ve just privatized what would have been public assets — and the people acquiring those assets will have paid just 18 cents on the dollar, with taxpayers picking up the rest of the tab.”

Now Paul has diarrhea of the keyboard. Too much rambling. An entire reworking is necessary here:

“For example, many cities must replace their water systems in the years ahead. The Trump scheme would privatize the water systems, and the people acquiring those systems will pay just 18 cents on the dollar, but no actual infrastructure work would be done.”

Note that I removed the nonsense about the taxpayers footing the bill. (See below)

“Again, all of this is unnecessary.”

Privatization is unnecessary, agreed, but federal taxpayers picking up the rest of the tab is totally impossible in a fiat regime. So, if Paul is talking about federal taxpayers, then we strike the phrase “with taxpayers picking up the rest of the tab”. If, however, Paul is talking about state and local taxpayers, then we need clarification. We must rewrite the phrase to say, “with state and local taxpayers picking up the rest of the tab” and then Krugman’s critique would be honest.

“If you want to build infrastructure, build infrastructure.”

Again, Paul and I agree. In a November 10th Facebook post (which, for you faithful followers of Krugman, is ex ante to Paul’s statement) I said nearly the same thing:

“Trumpfrastructure.

Seriously, there’s just no way such a privatization scheme would work. If you’re going to do infrastructure work, you just do it. You hire contractors and get to work. There’s no justification to privatize highways, because the US government cannot run out of money.”

I should clarify my last sentence. I was addressing those who think that the US Government can go broke. Highways are meant to be a means of efficient transport for the military in time of war, and as a public service for the population. Even if the US Government could run out of money, there would still be no justification to privatize highways.

“It’s hard to see any reason for a roundabout, indirect method that would offer a few people extremely sweet deals, and would therefore provide both the means and the motive for large-scale corruption. Or maybe I should say, it’s hard to see any reason for this scheme unless the inevitable corruption is a feature, not a bug.”

Here again, Paul took up a lot of valuable column space with a roundabout, long-winded, indirect method to say what could be said briefly. Ready? Ok, then. Here we go:

“The privatization of any public service is corruption.”

I’m not entirely sure if Paul just enjoys hearing himself talk, or if he thinks that people will be impressed by his capacity to type an endless string of unnecessary English words, or if he wants to leave the door open for his approval of the privatization of some public service programs like Social Security down the road. In the latter case, doing so would allow Krugman to avoid resorting to his typical ex post rational to extricate himself from his ex ante nonsense. There was no doubt that Clinton was looking at a Social Security privatization scheme. Paul has incorrectly stated that Social Security can become insolvent, and he’s discussed the so-called “hard choices” that we might have to make later on. So, Paul might have been on board with her plans. One really cannot say, thus, we won’t speculate further.

“Now, the Trump people could make all my suspicions look foolish by scrapping the private-investor, tax credits aspect of their proposal…”

Oftentimes, Paul makes himself look foolish. But that’s a side note.

“…and offering a straightforward program of public investment. And if they were to do that, progressives should indeed work with them on that issue.”

Paul and I agree, except for one word. That one word makes his statement wrong and so, the statement needs a major correction. When Paul says “progressives”, he doesn’t mean actual progressives. He’s talking about “liberal” New Democrats – Wishy-washy, snobby, latte-drinking, spineless, whiny, “empathetic” conservatives who wear trendy clothing. Paul fears and despises actual progressives. So, let us rephrase his words in order to reflect reality:

“…and offering a straightforward program of public investment. If they were to do that, then wishy-washy, snobby, latte-drinking, spineless, whiny, “empathetic” New Democrat conservatives in trendy clothing should indeed work with them on that issue.”

If you are an economics major, remember: when critiquing economic policy, always be honest.

“But it’s not going to happen.”

If it does happen, let me assure you that Paul Krugman will resort to ex post rationale to prove that he said it would happen ex ante, because that’s what all scientists do, right? Paul will simply provide a quote from this article (but not link anyone to his article) saying something along the lines of:

“While smart economists were certain that Trump would privatize infrastructure, those of us who knew the golden oldies predicted that Trump could, in fact, do the right thing. Me in 2016: ‘Now, the Trump people could make all my suspicions look foolish by scrapping the private-investor, tax credits aspect of their proposal.’ See that? Do you? I’m bigger than Keynes. I am Krugman the Great, damn it!”

In reality, when it comes to macroeconomics, Paul is the Great Krugholio: “I am the Great Krugholio! I need QE for my portfolio! Are you pushing on a string? My intermediaries will not wait! For years, my intermediaries have been without liquidity. I would hate for my portfolio to get polio. I am the Great Krugholio!”

Anyway, we change the statement to:

“But that probably won’t happen.”

Lastly:

“Cronyism and self-dealing are going to be the central theme of this administration — in fact, Mr. Trump is already meeting with foreigners to promote his business interests. And people who value their own reputations should take care to avoid any kind of association with the scams ahead.”

The words “are going” should be replaced with “could very well”, and “with the scams ahead” should be rephrased as “with the potential for scams ahead.” because, like with most things economics, Paul has a horrid track record of being right. So:

“Cronyism and self-dealing could very well be the central theme of this administration — in fact, Mr. Trump is already meeting with foreigners to promote his business interests. And people who value their own reputations should take care to avoid any kind of association with the potential for scams ahead.”

All done. Now, let’s look at Paul’s revised article in its entirety:

“Steve Bannon, Donald Trump’s chief strategist, is a white supremacist and purveyor of fake news. But the other day, in an interview with, um, The Hollywood Reporter, he sounded for a minute like a progressive economist. “I’m the guy pushing a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan,” he declared. “With negative interest rates throughout the world, it’s the greatest opportunity to rebuild everything.

So is public investment an area in which progressives and the incoming Trump administration can find common ground? Some people, including Bernie Sanders, seem to think so.

But remember that we’re dealing with a president-elect whose business career is one long trail of broken promises and outright scams — someone who just paid $25 million to settle fraud charges against his “university.” Given that history, you always have to ask whether he’s offering something real or simply engaged in another con job. In fact, you should probably assume that it’s a scam until proven otherwise.

There are three questions you should immediately ask.

First, why do it this way? Why not just have the government do the spending, the way it did when, for example, we built the Interstate Highway System?

Second, Infrastructure is 100% public purpose and it has no business being privatized – the possibility of private profit or not. In fact, much of our infrastructure cannot even be turned into profit centers. For example, consider things like repairing levees and cleaning up hazardous waste; where’s the revenue stream?

Third, how can this scheme generate new investment? For example, many cities must replace their water systems in the years ahead. The Trump scheme would privatize the water systems, and the people acquiring those systems will pay just 18 cents on the dollar, but no actual infrastructure work would be done.

Again, all of this is unnecessary. If you want to build infrastructure, build infrastructure. The privatization of any public service is corruption.

Now, the Trump people could make all my suspicions look foolish by scrapping the private-investor, tax credits aspect of their proposal and offering a straightforward program of public investment. If they were to do that, then wishy-washy, snobby, latte-drinking, spineless, whiny, “empathetic” New Democrat conservatives in trendy clothing should indeed work with them on that issue.

But that probably won’t happen.

Cronyism and self-dealing could very well be the central theme of this administration — in fact, Mr. Trump is already meeting with foreigners to promote his business interests. And people who value their own reputations should take care to avoid any kind of association with the potential for scams ahead.”

Much better, isn’t it?

Conclusion:

The US Government no longer taxes or borrows to spend, because there is no peg that would necessitate the use of taxation and borrowing to keep the level of currency in circulation consistent with that peg. The US Dollar on a gold standard is a gasoline-powered car and a fiat US Dollar is an electric car. The way the two operate is as different as night and day. Applying how federal spending worked during the gold standard to federal spending in a fiat regime is like pouring gasoline in a 100% battery-powered car to make it go. The two systems are totally incompatible with one another.

Paul knows this too. He refuses to admit it, because that would mean, most importantly, he’s been lying to everyone from his high perch at the New York Times for years. Paul would lose his roost at the New York Times, his influence and his income. Of secondary importance, he would be admitting to the economics “profession”, if you can honestly call it a profession, that his New Keynesian jackwagonry and his models are puerile nonsense, thus incurring the wrath of the high priests of the Church of Orthodoxy, resulting in his excommunication. In short, in Paul’s mind, it would mean the end of his career. What motivates Krugman’s politics? Obviously, an unselfish concern for humanity. And that is commendable. What motivates Krugman’s continued advocacy of failed, nonsensical orthodox economics? Fear, selfishness, and a healthy dose of celebrity greed. And that is reprehensible.