Wed, 16 December 2009
by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
At times of acute crisis, the oppressed and exploited find out who their real friends are. Old political labels become useless, as do former allies. Paul Krugman is the resident “liberal” on the New York Times op-ed page. But what use are his analyses if the economic and political predations of corporations aren't even part of the equation.
Paul Krugman's Blind Spot for Corporations and Obama
by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
“What kind of liberal gives a 40-minute talk on political economy without once uttering the word “corporation?”
The center of gravity of U.S. politics has lurched so far to the Right, the term “liberal” has lost all meaning. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, a Princeton University professor and winner of a Nobel Prize in economics, is almost universally described as a liberal. But what kind of liberal gives a 40-minute talk on political economy without once uttering the word “corporation?”
Krugman was the featured speaker at a lecture held each year at New York City’s Baruch College in honor of Dr. Donald H. Smith, an esteemed Black educator and political activist who is also a great friend of mine, and of Black Agenda Report. The house was packed with Dr. Smith’s many admirers plus lots of folks eager to hear Krugman’s analysis of current affairs.
Krugman began his talk – appropriately, given the occasion – with some general thoughts on the politics of race. The United States, he said, is “not a normal advanced country” because such countries at least provide their citizens with basic health care, protect workers’ rights, and attempt to “curb extreme poverty.” The reason the United States is behind Western Europe and Canada on those points, said Krugman, has everything to do with what he calls “our original sin…slavery.”
This is an elemental truth that most white Americans find difficult to accept, unlike Krugman. So I suppose that puts him in the “socially liberal” category. And I guess that Krugman’s general support for workers’ rights, health care and anti-poverty programs qualifies him as some kind of liberal, at least by the backward standards of the United States which, as he said, is not a “normal advanced country.”
“There will be no second stimulus to help working people because that's not who Obama works for.”
But if that's all we can expect from Krugman's brand of liberalism, one must question his usefulness. In his area of expertise, Krugman whitewashes President Obama’s economics team, led by the same Clinton bankster operatives that the laid groundwork for the 2008 crash. Former Treasury Secretaries Larry Summers and Robert Rubin and current Treasury chief Timothy Geithner are ”not stupid or corrupt” men, said Krugman, they're just “too close to Wall Street” and “not in touch with the public.” Krugman appeared sincerely startled that the Administration shows “an almost total unwillingness to appeal to the popular backlash” against the banks. He wishes Obama would push for another big economic stimulus to create jobs, but despairs of that happening. “The financial system,” in Krugman's expert opinion, “has become a ward of the state.”
The 56-year-old Nobel laureate is incapable of adding up political facts to reach obvious conclusions. No, Larry Summers and Co. are not stupid, they are cold-blooded operatives in Wall Street's successful criminal enterprise to transfer trillions into the pockets of the banking mafia. Obama is the indispensable “inside man” for the heist. There will be no second stimulus to help working people because that's not who Obama works for. The financial sector is not a “ward of the state” – it has swallowed the state, whole! And a man that spends the better part of an hour talking political economy without once saying the word “corporation,” as did Krugman, is either sworn to some kind of blood oath of silence, or totally irrelevant to the crisis at hand. For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. On the web, go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.