Michael Kinsley tries to take on Paul Krugman, but ends up showing he really doesn't know what he is talking about. For details, see:
- Seven Howlers from Michael Kinsley's Very Misguided War Against Paul Krugman - Brad DeLong
- The worst piece of conventional wisdom you will read this year - Daniel Drezner
I suppose Kinsley is just trying to do his cute contrarian thing, and show his flair as a writer, but this kind of crap does real harm. If we are going to mock people, it ought to be the people who embraced the false ideas Krugman is addressing all the while ignoring the plight of the unemployed. To me, the way so many turned their backs on the unemployed is unforgiveable and it's puzzling why Kinsley would contribute to it through this sort of false equivalency. The unemployment problem isn't even mentioned in his article, though he does say:
I don’t think suffering is good, but I do believe that we have to pay a price for past sins, and the longer we put it off, the higher the price will be.
Actually, solving problems today, e.g. increasing employment so that fewer people exit the labor force permanently, lowers the long-run price. In any case, who's this "we" he's talking about? Has he or any of his VSP buddies suffered as much as the long-term unemployed, some of whom may never find a job again? If we were to say you and your VSP friends need to "suffer" higher taxes in the future so we can help the unemployed today (suffer is, of course, hardly the right word to use for increasing taxes on high income households), would he be on board, or we he confound it with nonsense like he wrote in his latest article?