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Paul Krugman on Detroit

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The deeper plot here is the bankruptcy of the Republicans and the Tea Party, et. al. Since they cannot come clean and justify liberty on principled grounds they just make shit up, abolishing reason from political discourse. This is far more destructive than any egghead like PK could ever be.

 

 

 

So this is the core of the problem.  You hear someone blasted for dishonesty, and ignore the quote when presented, then chock it up to Tea Party and Republicans?  

 

 

 

Fact:  PK compared the local issues to the national income to minimize it.  You cannot wash that away.  It's there in black and white. 

 

 

 

He also blamed it on "market forces" as if people's spending habits somehow forced city managers to enter ridiculous contracts they couldn't keep.  He is ignoring the fact this is a problem in many cities.  He is excusing the leaders that did this and giving them the credibility to continue to make the same errors in the future. 

 

 

He is the specialist and he is ignoring these errors.  Not wrong - He is too knowledgeable to be in error - He is ignoring them.

 

 

 

Yea - It's a plot by the Tea Party.  They forced PK to ignore the facts he specializes.

 

 

 

News flash - 10 years from now no city managers will be quoting a Tea Party member.  They will be quoting PK because he is the economist sanctioning their mismanagement as "No Big Deal".  He is easily the most destructive force in this equation because he is providing the moral sanction they need to continue on the road they are on. 

Edited by Spiral Architect

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Also notice the spin-doctor phrase "uniquely irresponsible". Stockton declared bankruptcy, as have so many others over time. In fact, one can take any murderer and say he's not "uniquely immoral". What does that actually mean in real life, outside the spin-doctor's convoluted brain.

 

Good catch!

 

You know, I started this thread in general disgust but now that I have re-read the article and have had great insights like this tossed in I've become outright angry at the immorality of the whole situtation.  Well, that is why I like stopping in here.  These moments of clarification are great. 

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Fact:  PK compared the local issues to the national income to minimize it.  You cannot wash that away.  It's there in black and white. 

 

 

 

WHERE????!!?? I've asked this 10 times and you haven't shown me or anybody else. Show me where PK gives the amount of Detroit's unfunded pension and compares that to the USA's. He doesn't. He compares the national pension shortfall to the national GDP. You are making things up about him, pure and simple.

 

 

 News flash - 10 years from now no city managers will be quoting a Tea Party member.  They will be quoting PK because he is the economist sanctioning their mismanagement as "No Big Deal".  He is easily the most destructive force in this equation because he is providing the moral sanction they need to continue on the road they are on. 

 

Just like they were quoting him in the 1960s when all of this started. Yep, mismanagement, corruption, politicians over-promising, kicking the can down the road, etc. etc. were all invented by Paul Krugman. Who knew.

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WHERE????!!?? I've asked this 10 times and you haven't shown me or anybody else. Show me where PK gives the amount of Detroit's unfunded pension and compares that to the USA's. He doesn't. He compares the national pension shortfall to the national GDP. You are making things up about him, pure and simple.

 

Really?   I've spelled it out 10 times as well.  He is suming the local issues then comparing it to national numbers.  A simple accounting trick of adding up local issues doesn't justify comparing it to the national ecomony.  The national ecomony has nothiing to do with it.  It doesn't get any simpler than that.

 

Can anyone here even explain this any better than this?

 

 

 

Just like they were quoting him in the 1960s when all of this started. Yep, mismanagement, corruption, politicians over-promising, kicking the can down the road, etc. etc. were all invented by Paul Krugman. Who knew.

 

 

I did not say that.  Stop Krugmaning what I say.

 

I said future people will do that.  The people in the 60's likely quoted Keynes or others.  Krugman and his supporters are simply putting a new coat of paint on the beast and kicking it down the road again.  And you know this too so I do not get the point of why you even mentioned it. 

 

If you cannot keep the subject to what I said instead of Krugmaning we'll get no where. 

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Really?   I've spelled it out 10 times as well.  He is suming the local issues then comparing it to national numbers.  A simple accounting trick of adding up local issues doesn't justify comparing it to the national ecomony.  The national ecomony has nothiing to do with it.  It doesn't get any simpler than that.

 

Can anyone here even explain this any better than this?

 

The entire point of his article is that we should not draw conclusions about wider US problems from Detroit, so yes, I'm having a hard time figuring out how you are arriving at the opposite of that.

 

Next, I cannot see, anywhere in that article, where he mentions the actual amount of the Detroit pension shortfall, nor does he talk about it even in abstract terms. It seems like that would have to be included somewhere in order for him to make a false comparison, as you are charging.

 

 

I said future people will do that.  The people in the 60's likely quoted Keynes or others.  Krugman and his supporters are simply putting a new coat of paint on the beast and kicking it down the road again.  And you know this too so I do not get the point of why you even mentioned it. 

 

If you cannot keep the subject to what I said instead of Krugmaning we'll get no where. 

 

Yeah... I guess the wider problem here is that you are simply adding things on to Keynesian economic theory which just isn't there, and are in fact problems that have been around since the dawn of civilization. It's a way of taking a very complex problem, with lots of blame to go around, and blaming the whole thing on "those damn socialists" instead of analyzing the actual guilty parties and understanding the philosophy behind those actors.

 

Remember that, in a narrow context, both PK and Keynes were absolutely correct: deficit spending will increase employment in the short run. You can certainly attack them on the basis of deficit spending being dependent on ill-gotten booty, but attacking their basic math is just an attack on math itself, and ascribing things to them that they don't say or don't mean is an attack on reason.

 

I'm not here to defend PK per se, or Keynes, or (little s) socialism. I'm here to defend intellectual accuracy, reason and reality. These are far more important than some latter-day financial problems.

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When many cities across the Country are doing the exact thing Detroit is doing, you can draw a conlcusion. The princle stays the same and observation verifies it in action.  Detroit is the biggest city to fail, but not the first, and it is the biggest example of a city to run a deficit for contracts it cannot pay, but not the first.  If I toss an apple into the air in LA, it will fall to the ground.  If I toss an apple into the air in Detorit it will fall to the ground.  Now just change the apple to bad contrcts no one can pay for and the fact we are waatching it hit the ground in Detroit.  Basic principles linked to even more basic observation.

 

So yes, when basic  observation and an elementary thought process shows the similarities, then you have the essence of the situation. 

 

I give up the Socialist thing.  I don't know why you insist on dragging it into the coversation again. 

 

I am blaming the peole that did it.  We are not talking about them, we are talking about Krugman sanctioning their actions. 

 

He is the specialist that the people that did do this will look to for a sanction of their policies, his article will give them the means to keep doing what they did to get here.  They did nothing wrong - It's no big deal!  See? Kruman said so.  There are no principles - Just an isolated insident.  Facts are castles in the sky and what happened in Detorit will stay in Detorit so we can keep on doing what the same thing here in LA because an economist said so.  They will not even need to know who he is, only the bad justification he set forth and thus we perpetuate bad ideas. 

 

Krugman knows better than to take a local economic problem and sum it up with other local problems to white wash it away with a national comparison. A little old lady in Arizona is not linked to Detroit, as the little old lady can easily tell you (but evidently Krugman will not).   He also knows better than to treat this as an isolated incident unrealted to econimic principles when you can esily see it happening elsewhere.  And he of all people knows better so that is why he is the guiltiest man involved.  There is plausability that the idiots that ran the city into the ground simply don't know better because they made the mistake of listening to an economic expert that sanctioned their behavior.  They should know better and they deserve blame but as I said they get a slim margin for moral tolerance (compared to Krugman) because they have been fed bad economic ideas from people whose job it is to know better.  The Krugmans of the world are the one's feeding those bad ideas and that is why he is the guity one here. 

 

I don't think I can make this any clearer than that. 

Edited by Spiral Architect

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Perhaps this will get the point across.

 

 

Krugman (vb): Krumaning, to Krugman; 1.  To use one's expertise to willfully sanction immoral actions through econmic straw horses.  2. Intentionally destorying economic principles by indisciminately swithcing micro and macro economic actions.  

Edited by Spiral Architect

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You are simply making stuff up about:

 

1. What Krugman actually did say in actual print.

 

2. What he approves and disapproves of.

 

3. How people will interpret what he says.

 

4. What his psycho-epistemology is.

 

...and so on. You've obviously never read a column of his, and all you know is that he's against the Republicans, so he must be wrong about everything, he must be depraved, he must approve of every fiasco, be against every form of success, etc. etc. etc.

 

Abstractions like Elsworth M. Toohey are very entertaining, informative, and educational. But they are art, they are not concretes, and they are not real. Yes, it's incredibly easy to read three paragraphs of a writer, snatch at a few indicators of some of their premises, and then proceed to apply those premises in ways never imagined by the original author. It's a wonderful way to learn about the world faster than any normal human could. It makes Evelyn Wood look like the world's slowest reader.

 

But what you gain in speed you lose in accuracy. And connection to reality. And respect for reality across the board.

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But what you gain in speed you lose in accuracy. And connection to reality. And respect for reality across the board.

I suppose all these concretes don't add up to anything, don't suggest anything... really, they're void of all meaning. Right?

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Also notice the spin-doctor phrase "uniquely irresponsible". Stockton declared bankruptcy, as have so many others over time. In fact, one can take any murderer and say he's not "uniquely immoral". What does that actually mean in real life, outside the spin-doctor's convoluted brain.

 

This seems to be a bad example as murderers are pretty uniquely immoral! This is PK's point - Detroit isn't some extreme morality tail to warn of the dangers that America faces. Markets move, car companies moved abroad, Detroit lost. No one is denying that there was bad management in Detroit's government but what does that have to do with the rest of America?

 

NOTHING

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This seems to be a bad example as murderers are pretty uniquely immoral!

You didn't get the analogy. PK said "uniquely irresponsible" not "uniquely immoral". So, let's dissect the polemic. It is like PK saying that Hitler was not "uniquely dictatorial", or that Plato was not "uniquely philosophical". In other words, he names a pretty egregious example to which an adjective will apply. In this case "Detroit" is the noun and "irresponsible" is the adjective. Then, he uses the adverb phrase "not uniquely" to qualify the adjective. The purpose of this phrase is to tone down the adjective. If we take the category, which is "irresponsible cities", we find Detroit is pretty high on the top. His qualifier is a dishonest attempt to lessen the adjective instead of the more honest approach: which would be an adjective that increases the intensity.

 

This is PK's point - Detroit isn't some extreme morality tail to warn of the dangers that America faces. Markets move, car companies moved abroad, Detroit lost.

So, are you claiming that the people of Detroit and their government are impotent and powerless? There is nothing they could have done differently for the last 50 years? Is that your point? Or, to tone it down, are you suggesting that the people of Detroit made some poor choices, but even if they'd made better choices -- not whiz bang choices, but the choices we can expect from a simple, responsible human -- then they would have still been nearly in the same situation?

 

... but what does that have to do with the rest of America?

Everything. This is not just a tale about cities. You need to look at the cause: irresponsibility.

Now, if PK had said that Detroit was not "uniquely irresponsible", and had used this as a parable to show why people all over the U.S. are irresponsible with their votes and the government's purse, then his polemic phrasing would have made sense. Of course a fan of huge deficits being foisted on our kids and grand-kids would never point to his own irresponsibility. He simply does not see his role in causing things like Detroit.

Detroit, specifically, also has this to do with the rest of America: some folk there want the folk outside Detroit to bail them out. Here's a story about Detroit government. It used to cost the city $62 to process each pay-check, primarily because the work was labor-intensive. If those irresponsible people who were processing paychecks did not realize that their irresponsible employer could never meet its promises to them, then they ought to learn via the market: by getting less than they were promised. 

 

Fortunately, it appears that the general American voter and even the general Michigan voter is in no mood to make his fellow-citizens pay for Detroit. So, that's the good part. However, this voter is still willing to run up debt on future generations to pay for all sorts of irresponsible hand-outs.

Edited by softwareNerd

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[...] It is like PK saying that Hitler was not "uniquely dictatorial", or that Plato was not "uniquely philosophical".

 

Hitler was a dictator and Plato was a philosopher. There are lots of other dictators and philosophers.

 

Thus, if you were to get into discussion about what made these individuals unique, you'd point out that these attributes do not differentiate them.

 

Detroit had an incompetent corrupt government, etc. Lots of cities across the USA have incompetent corrupt governments. Detroit failed, and the others didn't. Hence its correct to move on to other factors to discover why something relatively unique happened to them.

 

This is a simple scientific exercise. It's bizarre to reinterpret this as a sanction for corruption or incompetence or even deficit spending per se.

 

Paul Krugman says that if Detroit was financially successful like other similar cities, then they would be financially sound despite mismanagement and deficit spending. He's also pointing out, implicitly, that deficit spending by itself will not necessarily kill you. This also is true in this narrow context.

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Crow, I agree that Krugman's statement about national pension deficits may have been warranted, if only because he was responding to a miscalculation that inflated the "crisis." But that's the thing; he is using what would otherwise be a one or two-sentence correction to support a broader theme. His raison d'etre seems to be to whitewash national-scale theft. Remember that Krugman used the word, "victim," in reference to economic forces. In other words, the wrong done to Detroit was ultimately economic in nature, not administrative (the admins, after all, were "not uniquely responsible" for what happened). The purpose of this piece is the same as nearly every other piece of his: to provide moral cover when public administrators steal private money for hand-outs. Krugman's pieces are evil because they are designed to sanction evil.

Edit: Think of it this way - loosely speaking, we say the genus is "economic failure," while the differentia is "government mismanagement." Krugman says the genus is "government management," while the differentia is "bad economy." 

Which sentence better conceptualizes what happened? Which one shields immoral activity from normative evaluation?

Edited by FeatherFall

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Paul Krugman lives in the context of a mixed-economy nation wherein both parties are absolutely, positively committed to "national-scale theft". As such, he no more points this out as an interesting aside than he'd point out that all cities in the USA contain oxygen.

 

His broader theme is that the notions, "the USA is about to become Greece" and "the USA is about to become Detroit" are both complete bullishit. He's pointing out the math which demonstrates this, and countering the Republicans, who are manufacturing an existential crisis in order to defend liberty because defending it based on the Rights of Man is impossible to them.

 

Saying Hitler was "not uniquely a dictator" is just a statement of fact, not a value judgement. If you believe it is, then you are reading too much into that statement.

 

The fact here is that if Detroit were financially successful in business, then they'd be fine financially despite whatever pilfering is committed by the politicians. Pilfering is wrong because it's immoral, not because it's going to make your city go bankrupt--because as PK has shown, Detroit is not unique in their corruption and lots of those other cities survive just fine.

 

No, Paul Krugman is not Leonard Peikoff, and isn't going to get to the philosophical heart of the matter--nor is he his mirror reflection. He's somebody making logical statements within the context of our mixed economy. I prefer this over people making irrational statements within the context of our mixed economy.

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You are simply making stuff up about:

 

1. What Krugman actually did say in actual print.

 

2. What he approves and disapproves of.

 

3. How people will interpret what he says.

 

4. What his psycho-epistemology is.

 

...and so on. You've obviously never read a column of his, and all you know is that he's against the Republicans, so he must be wrong about everything, he must be depraved, he must approve of every fiasco, be against every form of success, etc. etc. etc.

 

Abstractions like Elsworth M. Toohey are very entertaining, informative, and educational. But they are art, they are not concretes, and they are not real. Yes, it's incredibly easy to read three paragraphs of a writer, snatch at a few indicators of some of their premises, and then proceed to apply those premises in ways never imagined by the original author. It's a wonderful way to learn about the world faster than any normal human could. It makes Evelyn Wood look like the world's slowest reader.

 

But what you gain in speed you lose in accuracy. And connection to reality. And respect for reality across the board.

 

 

There is a saying in truck driving:  Arguing with a truck driver is like wrestling a pig in the mud.  After ten minutes you realize that they are doing it simply because they enjoy it. 

 

I'm done with this.  I provide you quotes which you ignore.  I provide you concrete information which you ignore.  I provide what is my personal evaluation which you attack with some straw horse smear.  What is sad is I'm actually open to being wrong when provided with a reasonable response and I have been provided with neither. 

 

All you have done is drag in some nonsense about Republicans or some such straw horse while ignoring what I post.  I honestly don’t even know what the hell you are talking about. 

Edited by Spiral Architect

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All you have done is drag in some nonsense about Republicans or some such straw horse while ignoring what I post.  I honestly don’t even know what the hell you are talking about. 

 

The central point of the PK article pointed at by the OP was about Republican positioning. You clearly missed the point of that article.

 

But on that note, I think it's safe to say we've beaten this topic to death...

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Puerto Rico has now acknowledged that it cannot pay its debts. So, creditors will get less than 100%. Either they come to a negotiated deal with the government, or they figure things out in court.

My hope is that:

1. there's an independent investigation into whether any of the local politicians committed fraud by hiding the true extent of their debt in the past

2. all the creditors get the same percentage, politicians don't get to pick favorites (the way they are in Greece, where the IMF is getting nothing, and the Greek public is getting paid...for now at least).

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For some reason, Greeks are not allowed access to cash in their safety deposit boxes either. I don't understand what that has to do with protecting banks from crashing...which is the supposed reason why accounts are closed.

Well, we all know the reason...Syriza is planning to take a big chunk of all the money they can get their claws on.

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