Yesterday's diary about Paul Krugman's profile on PBS NewsHour certainly got a lot of deserved attention. (For Dr. K I mean, not me of course.) While a number of commenters took issue with the way PBS framed it and others took issue with me for characterizing interviewer Paul Solman as 'horrified' - I for one am grateful that any kind of legitimate American media outlet is giving Krugman and his views so much attention at this time. PBS seems to have taken note - the end of tonight's broadcast made mention of all the comments they'd received at their website, noted that they were having further installments at Making Sen$e, and the profile itself got prominent placement on the NewsHour web page earlier today for a time.
The first installment was up yesterday, Germany's Whips & Scourges.
In our first installment, Krugman discusses European austerity, and makes the point that no country that has its own currency is experiencing the problems the eurozone now faces. Below, a [print] rebuttal of sorts from Jacob Kirkegaard, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.It's only about 4 minutes; watch it and make up your own mind about Krugman's discussion of the difference between Europe and the U.S. economic situation. We have more options because we still control our own currency; rising interest rates and inflation fears aren't quite the same risk for us.
I confess that Kirkegaard lost me with his counterarguments the moment he started talking about moral hazard. That seems in my experience to be a code phrase for making the innocents in all this suffer lest they come to think they deserve to be bailed out like bankers.
Today's installment On Europe Doing the Unthinkable has three minutes of Krugman essentially saying Europe has no good choices, with emphasis on Spain, Germany, and inflation as one possible consequence or the breakup of the Euro as the other.
A print response on the web page comes from another economist:
Our critical response comes from Terence Burnham, my (Solman) microeconomics teacher at Harvard's Kennedy School in the '90s. He is co-author of "Mean Genes" and sole author of "Mean Markets and Lizard Brains." He has run a biotechnology firm, been a money manager in Boston, and taught evolutionary biology at Harvard and negotiation at the Harvard Business School. He has now resettled in his native California with his family and teaches finance at Chapman University.This actually goes a bit better than yesterday's response because they're now including a transcript of Krugman's remarks so you can compare the two more easily. I wonder about someone who can dismiss Spanish unemployment at the levels it is reaching as a "lifestyle choice"....
I have a larger problem with this format: a clip of Krugman, followed by a critique by someone who has time to parse Krugman's points at leisure before writing a response. Obviously Krugman does not get to respond, making him a sitting duck so to speak. Still, the video clips are worth watching. It beats watching him in the usual format where there are 3-4 other people around the table, all united against him.