Today on his NY Times blog, the once-good Professor weighs in on the issue of the gas tax. He's an economist...he's a Clinton supporter...could this be interesting? Will he be the first economist with a pulse to support it? Or will he go off the reservation and hammer Clinton for this idiocy?
Gas Tax Hysterics
OK, this has gone overboard.
Hillary Clinton’s proposed gas tax holiday is not, in my view, a good idea. [...]
Whoa! Krugman's gonna join the reality-based chorus? He's gonna call this out as the politics, rather than policy, that it is?...
Krugman instead uses this column to hammer other economists for making a big deal out of what he deems a really unimportant little issue.
But the furor over what is, when all is said and done, a small and temporary policy proposal is entirely disproportionate... [economists] place excessive weight on issues where professional judgment differs from lay opinion...So when a presidential candidate says something that conflicts with economistic wisdom, it becomes THE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE EVER. Except, you know, it isn’t.
Um, Professor? I don't really think it's the economists that are making this the biggest fucking issue facing the planet—it's your candidate! Have you been in a cave the last two weeks? Hillary is putting on a demagoguery clinic! The reason responsible economists are weighing in is that for once the media is doing it's job (slightly) and asking them.
What's that? You can explain that too?
Part of it, clearly, is the fact that many people in the media really, really want Obama to win and Clinton to lose...and have seized on the gas tax as their latest proof that she is ee-ee-vil.
Ho-lee fuck. Now it's the Vast Left Wing Conspiracy...
Of course, the Gas Tax Holiday IS a stupid little issue. Not only stupid, but actually irrelevant to this race as it won't actually happen this summer no matter what HRC promises to the contrary. But the reason this has become such a BIG deal is because Hillary Clinton has made it the centerpiece of her revamped populist approach, AND as her main weapon against Obama—declaring him "elite" and uncaring" for disagreeing with her (and McCain). She has made it a big deal, and the fact that she is presenting the whole thing dishonestly and disingenuously requires responsible economists speak out.
Perhaps one day, you will once again join them Mr. Krugman.
UPDATE: That column is from May 6, before results from that days primaries. Here is Krugman today:
Talleyrand and the gas tax holiday
I’m on record as saying that Hillary Clinton’s advocacy of a gas-tax holiday, while it wasn’t good policy, didn’t rise to the level of a crime.
Judging from last night’s results, however, it was worse than a crime: it was a mistake.
Wrong. It was a crime against decency and integrity—it was fraud and it was perjury. The public showed her (and you apparently) that we've had enough of that shit.