Paul Krugman on the Legacy of the Bush Administration

Topic: Early warning

Paul Krugman: I’m not sure it’s what I should be best known for, but what I’m best known for is being one of the first to really say that the Bush administration was not to be trusted.  So I was the first . . .  certainly the first major newspaper, Op Ed type writer to say that.  Because I said it even before the . . . even before the 2000 election was held.  So I can go back and point you to columns from the summer of 2000 that I think foreshadow   . . . at least foreshadow the way most people now think about the Bush administration before there even was a Bush administration.

I knew some things that most journalists don’t, like arithmetic.  So I was looking at the policy proposals, and I just said, “They’re lying.  They are . . . they’re not being honest about what it is they’re proposing.”  And that was a pretty good guide.  To me . . . it seemed to me like that was much better evidence than whether Bush seemed like a guy you wanted to have a beer with.

Question: What was a red flag?

Paul Krugman: Social Security.  Bush was basically counting the same couple of trillion dollars twice.  He was saying we can have it available to pay benefits, but we can also invest it and get lots of money out of it.  And it didn’t . . . that didn’t make sense.  Taxes – he was claiming that his tax cuts favored the middle class.  And you could do the math.  They didn’t.  They were very much tilted towards the top.  And there were a bunch of other things, smaller things; but just the clear dishonesty about what was actually in his own policy proposals.  And being the kind of guy I am, if you’re lying about the numbers, that to me is, you know  . . .  It’s not really the worst offense, but it’s the clearest sign that you’re not a man you should be . . . that the public should’s crazy, right?  In fact you are not going to have a beer with the President.  But you wanted somebody you can trust to run the nation.

Its not about who you want to have a beer with.