Thursday, August 12, 2004

Other Takes on Krugman versus O'Reilly

John Gallagher writes:

Sadly, I didn't get a chance to see this debacle, but I did read the transcript and if O'Reilly actually refuted any of Krugman's points, I must have missed it.

I did notice that O'Reilly employed a variety of ad hominems and, at one point, accused Krugman of "hair splitting" when he attempted to make the distinction between predicting lousy job creation and predicting a recession.

I know that you don't approve of such [accusations of] hair splitting.

But most economists, other than the Kool Aid drinkers like Luskin, agree that Bush's policies for job creation have been mostly ineffective.

BV: 'Kool Aid drinkers' smacks of an ad hominem, does it not?

From the mostly unbiased Economy.com (if anything they lean slightly Republican):

President Bush's 2003 move to cut taxes on dividends could cost him the election. Last week's dismal employment report means that the U.S. has added fewer than 1.5 million jobs since payrolls bottomed out in August 2003, leaving employment more than 1.2 million below its peak in early 2001. Given the last few months of weak job gains, President Bush will almost surely be the first president since Herbert Hoover to end a full term in office with payroll employment lower than when it started. Senator Kerry will continue to hammer the president over the poor economy from now until November.

Obviously, much of what has transpired over the past few years was beyond the president's control. But in the first half of 2003, when President Bush was considering a tax cut package, the idea of reducing taxes on dividends took center stage. At the time, Economy.com noted that the short-term stimulus from such a tax cut would be minor, and could hurt Bush's reelection prospects. We argued that other measures, such as extending unemployment insurance benefits, would provide much greater bang for the buck.

Maybe the president should have listened to us.


Here are some accounts of the "debate" from the other side:

The Daily Howler

Media Matters

PhilosoRaptor

From what I gather from these accounts, Krugman allowed himself to be intimidated, not by the force of O'Reilly's arguments, but by his bullying behavior. That's what happens when you try to bring reasoned discourse to a knife fight. IMHO, the proper response to someone who is pointing his finger in your face, insulting you and shouting you down is to mock them. Krugman should have starting shaking his finger back in O'Reilly's face and told him "just cause your louder, doesn't make you righter".