Like many who actually don’t think devil-take-the-hindmost is good public policy, I’m incredibly disappointed in this post by NY Times columnist and economist Paul Krugman.
This is not hard. This is not “agonizing.” Quite simply, it is indecent. It should be opposed vehemently. A few hundred dollars means a lot to someone who is barely getting by. <a href="Three-fifths of the elderly count on Social Security for two-thirds or more of their income. Since the average Social Security payout is slightly above $14,000, that means a huge swath of the elderly have less than $21,000 per year to live on. Catfood all around!
Where Krugman goes off the rails is that he is acting like a political strategist. He is accomodating those who, through indecency, would misuse power, rather than speaking truth to them. This is not like an election where far too often, one really is faced with a choice between the lesser of two evils: a ballot has a finite set of options. But when it comes to policy, there are other alternatives to cutting benefits for the least among us. This is not the time to be playing insider political strategist. He should be decrying the cruelty and proposing alternatives. Period. If there is anyone in U.S. society who is in a position to do this, it is a well-to-do and tenured faculty member.
And this isn’t a case of “someone is wrong on the internet.” What Krugman writes really does matter, if not to the Obama administration. If he wavers on this, he will give cover to apologists for cruelty (“Even the liberal Paul Krugman…”).
I’m disappointed, but not entirely surprised, since I think he’s insulated from the nitty-gritty of the lives of those who struggle.
This is why ‘progressives’ lose over and over again: we keep apologize for others’ failures, rather than castigating and shunning them.
And those who can afford it the least end up paying the highest price.