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Howard Kurtz profiles “disaffected liberal” Paul Krugman today for a column that involved traveling all the way to an Upper West Side cafe and asking the eternal question that is so vexing about Paul Krugman. (Which is to say, not the one about whether Krugman is right about how the same rapacious corporate nihilists that pillage our coffers and de-fund our social programs and overbill us for everything imaginable and will do it again because they’ve bought off both parties are leading the country on the road to ever-deeper ruin.)
Noting snippily that Krugman “never interviews anyone before issuing his proclamations”—Kurtz, by contrast, interviewed least one person for his profile, and that is George Will—he catalogs some of Krugman’s most valuable possessions, and wonders what business he has whining about unemployment all the time:
Krugman would seem to have an exceedingly comfortable life. There’s the large house in Princeton, described by the New Yorker as being in “Japanese modern style,” the New York apartment and the condo on the beach in St. Croix. There are trips to international conferences, most recently in Sweden and Japan. Me makes a bundle on writing textbooks with his wife. People’s heads turn in restaurants, like the one where he is lunching.
So why does he seem so angry?
You may be surprised to learn that it is actually because of all that financial security. He’s gotten complacent, see? Sure sure sure, he “fervently believes” what he says. But really, it’s because with one in five Americans of working age out of work, he no longer has to challenge himself by taking on non-economic topics like “war” for which America is not allowed to cut spending. He can just write every damn column on the economy! Which is “less stressful,” Krugman “concedes”, because he actually knows what he is talking about, so he doesn’t have to go hunting down George Will for any interviews, he can just go on autopilot:
And as a writer, his default setting is righteous indignation.