Rick Perry, and the Beam in Paul Krugman’s Eye

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on August 16, 2011

Count me in the same camp as John Podhoretz: Rick Perry’s comment on Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve was really dumb, and really unpresidential. As Podhoretz puts it:

I think it’s pretty clear from the clip that Perry was trying to play folksy straight-talkin’ populist guy while taking up a complicated issue, using colorful dirt-kicker language to connect to his al-fresco audience as he might in his home town of Paint Creek. And in the early going on Twitter, I suggested the harrumphers were knowingly making a mountain out of a molehill to bring him down a notch. I was wrong.

He’s trying to be the next president, and he needs to be judged on that standard. What Perry did was make a thoughtless blunder, an unforced error; we’re now going to spend a couple of days discussing whether he was summoning violence on Ben Bernanke’s head or not, which is of absolutely no use to Perry. He is, or was, moments away from becoming the race’s frontrunner, and what is in his interest is to harness the excitement of his late entry with qualities of leadership and control that will rally the majority of Republicans unhappy with the choices facing them to his side. Rick Perry made that more difficult today; this was a serious rookie mistake on the national stage.

Having written that, here’s a question I’d like Paul Krugman to ask himself a couple of questions: Who is he to criticize Rick Perry on this issue? Indeed, who is Paul Krugman to lecture anyone about the need for political civility?

  • Anonymous

    Quoth Perry: “If this guy prints more money between now and the election, I dunno
    what y’all would do to him in Iowa but we would treat him pretty ugly
    down in Texas. Printing more money to play politics at this particular
    time in American history is almost teacherous[sic]…treasonous in my opinion.”

    What did he say that isn’t true? We would treat hum pretty ugly here in Texas. He would get a Texas-sized verbal fisk lashing.

    Why should anyone automatically translate the word “ugly’ as “violent,” when most political ugliness in this country is nonviolent?

    Treacherous? Treasonous? You betcha. Don’t those terms accurately describe thieves? Debasing the currency is thievery.

    • Pejman Yousefzadeh

      No it’s not. The currency is being devalued in order to make American exports more affordable, so that the American economy can recover.

  • Anonymous
    • Pejman Yousefzadeh

      If we raise interest rates in this environment, we will easily slip back into recession. We want to encourage loans, and consumption, not discourage them. There is no causal relationship shown between low interest rates and excessive speculation (whatever “excessive” is supposed to mean these days), and no causal relationship shown between those two phenomena and an increase in the debt crisis. The inflation rate is very low, which further reduces any justification for higher interest rates, and as Kenneth Rogoff has pointed out, we could in fact use more inflation to get rid of the debt overhang from the housing crisis, since that is holding back our recovery (and making what Rogoff called “the Great Contraction” different from, and more brutal than any recession in recent memory). Other than all of this, the article is excellent, and entirely on point.

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