Because Paul Krugman Can Argue

QR Code on NYT Magazine cover
QR Code on NYT Magazine cover

Paul Krugman is one of the top reasons I subscribe to the NYT 1

Jonathan Chait makes a good point:

Before Paul Krugman joined the New York Times op-ed page, it was a genteel place. The classic pattern was to promote distinguished reporters to cushy sinecures as columnists. Because they were trained as reporters, not polemicists, they tended to avoid the work of argumentation and simply tell readers what to think.… Krugman, by contrast, came from academia, where the arguments are fierce, and you either bring the data or you go home. As one of the most acclaimed economists of his generation, he arrived at his Times post in 1999 boasting stronger credentials to hold forth on his chosen topic than possibly any other op-ed columnist in history. But Krugman does not rely on his authority. He crafts arguments.

The most remarkable attribute Krugman has brought to the Times is rudeness. The social niceties that accompany his exalted position are utterly lost on him. He does not seek out the company of famous politicians and cannot be courted with flattery or access. He understands that you can’t arrive at truth without explaining why mistaken beliefs are wrong.

Krugman makes a mockery of the prohibition against arguing with his fellow columnists, larding his columns with rebuttals to unnamed subjects who happen to believe things that were advocated on the Times op-ed page earlier in the week. Thomas Friedman writes a column complaining, “Does anyone know what President Obama’s preferred outcome is? Exactly which taxes does he want raised, and which spending does he want cut?” And the next day, Krugman writes: “Oh, and let me give a special shout-out to ‘centrist’ pundits who won’t admit that President Obama has already given them what they want. The dialogue seems to go like this. Pundit: ‘Why won’t the president come out for a mix of spending cuts and tax hikes?’ Mr. Obama: ‘I support a mix of spending cuts and tax hikes.’ Pundit: ‘Why won’t the president come out for a mix of spending cuts and tax hikes?’ ”

(click here to continue reading Because Paul Krugman Didn’t Keep His Calm – Reasons to Love New York 2011 — New York Magazine.)


  1. weekend edition, but still counts []

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