Paul Krugman Wants to “Balance Out” the Power of…

posted at 12:15 pm on February 22, 2011 by John Sexton

Paul Krugman has another hysterical column in today’s NY Times:

What Mr. Walker and his backers are trying to do is to make Wisconsin — and eventually, America — less of a functioning democracy and more of a third-world-style oligarchy.

There are liberal diarists at Daily Kos who would be embarrassed to publish this sentence. This goes far beyond calling someone unpatriotic. Krugman is accusing one party of wanting to destroy the Republic. So when Republicans aren’t offending Krugman’s sensibilities by reading the Constitution aloud on the House floor, they’re tearing down democracy. And then his column gets dumber:

And that’s why anyone who believes that we need some counterweight to the political power of big money should be on the demonstrators’ side.

In case you thought this was a throw away line, he comes back to this point later in the piece:

On paper, we’re a one-person-one-vote nation; in reality, we’re more than a bit of an oligarchy, in which a handful of wealthy people dominate. Given this reality, it’s important to have institutions that can act as counterweights to the power of big money.

Do you immediately see the problem here? How exactly are public sector unions a balance to the power of big money? Granted, if Krugman were writing about private sector unions this would at least be arguable. As it is, he’s writing about public sector unions. And guess what, public sector union aren’t in a struggle against the titans of industry. They get their money from the government.

If you want to simplify it even further, public sector unions are a special interest aimed at extracting more money from taxpayers. So let it henceforth be known that Paul Krugman wants a check on the power of Big Taxpayer. Does that sound like a sensible idea to you? Me either. Maybe that’s why there is a long history of exempting the public sector from union organizing. Perhaps Mr. Krugman should check out this article in his own paper and get back to us.

But he’s not done yet. Next we come to the big lie in Krugman’s pro-union opus:

Contrary to what you may have heard, public-sector workers in Wisconsin and elsewhere are paid somewhat less than private-sector workers with comparable qualifications, so there’s not much room for further pay squeezes.

Notice he says public sector unions make slightly less than their private counterparts if you rank by level of education. This last bit is critical because it happens to be the only way the numbers come out right. In fact, as I explained here (in regard to the same debate over New Jersey public workers) even the liberal EPI agrees that public sector employees are only behind until you correct for the number of hours they work relative to their private sector counterparts. Yes, it’s true that public school teachers make less on an annual basis than private sector workers with college degrees, it’s also true that teachers only work 9 months a year. If you look at their salary and benefits on an hourly basis, they come out ahead (often well ahead) of private sector employees. Manhattan Institute has a paper on correcting for this difference here.

Paul Krugman isn’t a dumb man. He knows where he is eliding the truth in these columns. He also knows that most of his readers won’t know. He’s obviously counting on their ignorance. As for myself, I’m selling out to the power of Big Taxpayer. Let’s break up the public sector unions, especially the teacher’s unions which do as much harm to our children as they do to our budgets.

Update: Looks like Krugman made a factual error in this column that I overlooked. He wrote:

Tellingly, some workers — namely, those who tend to be Republican-leaning — are exempted from the ban; it’s as if Mr. Walker were flaunting the political nature of his actions.

Add it to the list of Krugman’s mistakes. Turns out only 4 of 314 police and firefighter unions in WI supported Gov. Walker. The largest statewide unions all supported his opponent. Click over to Newsbusters for proof courtesy of Noel Sheppard. Krugman made a complete hash of this column.

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If Krugman wrote it, it ain’t worth reading.

coldwarrior on February 22, 2011 at 12:17 PM

Krugman fail.

steebo77 on February 22, 2011 at 12:21 PM

The fiscal crisis in Wisconsin, as in other states, was largely caused by the increasing power of America’s oligarchy. After all, it was superwealthy players, not the general public, who pushed for financial deregulation and thereby set the stage for the economic crisis of 2008-9, a crisis whose aftermath is the main reason for the current budget crunch. And now the political right is trying to exploit that very crisis, using it to remove one of the few remaining checks on oligarchic influence.

Interesting argument, public employee unions are a check on “America’s oligarchy.” Methinks it much easier to cast Climate Change Deniers as a check on “America’s oligarchy” than public employee unions.

J_Crater on February 22, 2011 at 12:22 PM

Another Kruglodyte piece to avoid.

pugwriter on February 22, 2011 at 12:23 PM

On paper, we’re a one-person-one-vote nation; in reality, we’re more than a bit of an oligarchy, in which a handful of wealthy people dominate.

Apparently he’s not heard of the Tea Party.

DamnCat on February 22, 2011 at 12:24 PM

Paul Krugman is not a dumb man.

Define “dumb”

I find him to be quite dense. I guess he might just be a dishonest ideologue instead. Either way, he’s collecting a check for sucking ass.

Metro on February 22, 2011 at 12:25 PM

“Balance” from the unbalanced…

cartooner on February 22, 2011 at 12:25 PM

It actually caused me physical pain to read something that stupid.

CurtZHP on February 22, 2011 at 12:25 PM

The only reason Krugman has a ‘job’ is due to the fact there are still several people out there who purchase the NYT. If we could only find those people and get them to cancel their subscriptions………End of Krugman.

alwyr on February 22, 2011 at 12:26 PM

Krugman is accusing one party of wanting to destroy the Republic. So when Republicans aren’t offending Krugman’s sensibilities by reading the Constitution aloud on the House floor, they’re tearing down democracy.

Ummm, no he’s not. So typical of Hotairheads to play a self-aggrandizing shell game with some arch-libs’ ideas for their dimmer readers’ viewing pleasure.

Krugman’s quote is “less of a functioning democracy and more of a third-world-style oligarchy.” I know that you Hotairheads don’t do gray real well, but Krugman sees a continuum.

And he’s exactly right. The GOP has since Hoover been about the piling up of money among an elite, international few.

bifidis on February 22, 2011 at 12:27 PM

And people on the left hail him as some sort of economic guru.

He is an expert at twisting facts to support the left worldview, which is why they must hold him in such high regard.

The pensions are the real budget busters. That is a huge benefit as well. Public workers may make less then those in private sector, but of course they will never have to worry about working 70 hours a week – on salary, working weekends, late nights, having to produce results, stress, competing for promotions based on merit, and on and on.

All this, and they get to retire before 60 and cash a paycheck for the rest of their lives (complete with health insurance). A pension and insurance that they have paid a pittance for.

A pension that they could collect for a longer period of time than they have worked.

reaganaut on February 22, 2011 at 12:27 PM

Well, he is correct that cops are a lot more likely to vote republcian than public school teachers. But I suspect he is basing his claim on that endorsement lie that is floating, unchecked, around liberal circles.

BuzzCrutcher on February 22, 2011 at 12:27 PM

If Krugman wrote it, it ain’t worth reading.

coldwarrior on February 22, 2011 at 12:17 PM

And yet you keep reading it.

bifidis on February 22, 2011 at 12:28 PM

Hack.

Logboy on February 22, 2011 at 12:28 PM

Another Kruglodyte piece to avoid.

pugwriter on February 22, 2011 at 12:23 PM

But you didn’t, did you?

bifidis on February 22, 2011 at 12:29 PM

I love how liberals rely so heavily on the “when you control for level of education” in these arguments.

You are not paid for your education. You are paid for your work. Education is a barrier to entry, not a function of your profession. Krugman’s making excuses for the fact that unionized public sector employees make, on average, $10k more per year than private sector employees working the same job.

Caiwyn on February 22, 2011 at 12:29 PM

It actually caused me physical pain to read something that stupid.

CurtZHP on February 22, 2011 at 12:25 PM

This definitely has the look of one of those “we are all dumber for reading it” articles.

Count to 10 on February 22, 2011 at 12:29 PM

It actually caused me physical pain to read something that stupid.

CurtZHP on February 22, 2011 at 12:25 PM

Umm, that’s called “thinking.” Once in a great while, it occurs even among a Hotairhead.

bifidis on February 22, 2011 at 12:30 PM

It actually caused me physical pain to read something that stupid.

CurtZHP on February 22, 2011 at 12:25 PM

I warned ya… :-)

coldwarrior on February 22, 2011 at 12:30 PM

When your opponents are digging a hole, hand them a shovel.

FloatingRock on February 22, 2011 at 12:31 PM

Another Kruglodyte piece to avoid.

pugwriter on February 22, 2011 at 12:23 PM

But you didn’t, did you?

bifidis on February 22, 2011 at 12:29 PM

Uhh…yes I did, Bin F

pugwriter on February 22, 2011 at 12:31 PM

This bifidis troll sure is tedious.

steebo77 on February 22, 2011 at 12:31 PM

Why do Dems hate democracy so much?

Chomsky Dance Recital on February 22, 2011 at 12:32 PM

Since I’m not a psychiatrist, what Paul Krugman says doesn’t interest me.

RBMN on February 22, 2011 at 12:32 PM

Unbelievable…. Got to wonder what is swirling around inside his delusional brain.

ultracon on February 22, 2011 at 12:34 PM

And this guy was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize?

Not surprising.

Danny on February 22, 2011 at 12:34 PM

Many of us would never seek out Krugman’s articles on our own.. The next time I see an article by him anywhere at all, I plan to deftly skip right over it. I never buy the NYT anymore and tend to mis-trust anything they publish. Same with the Globe.

jeanie on February 22, 2011 at 12:35 PM

Krugman is accusing one party of wanting to destroy the Republic. So when Republicans aren’t offending Krugman’s sensibilities by reading the Constitution aloud on the House floor, they’re tearing down democracy.
Ummm, no he’s not. So typical of Hotairheads to play a self-aggrandizing shell game with some arch-libs’ ideas for their dimmer readers’ viewing pleasure.

Krugman’s quote is “less of a functioning democracy and more of a third-world-style oligarchy.” I know that you Hotairheads don’t do gray real well, but Krugman sees a continuum.

And he’s exactly right. The GOP has since Hoover been about the piling up of money among an elite, international few.

bifidis on February 22, 2011 at 12:27 PM

Were you trying to help Krugmans piece with your response???

Odie1941 on February 22, 2011 at 12:36 PM

Bin Fido, or whatever the troll’s name is, is popping up everywhere. I wonder if it has a law degree too?

pugwriter on February 22, 2011 at 12:36 PM

bifidis on February 22, 2011 at 12:27 PM

Behold bifidis, one of Krugman’s dimmer readers.

If Glenn Beck were to say merely that Obama wanted to make America “more of” a socialist society, would that really be OK with you?

DrSteve on February 22, 2011 at 12:37 PM

Why do we require elementary school teachers to be so over educated? Wouldn’t it save them money if we didn’t require so many degrees? I believe they could do their jobs well with something like a 3 year program.

MayBee on February 22, 2011 at 12:37 PM

Bin Fido, or whatever the troll’s name is, is popping up everywhere. I wonder if it has a law degree too?

pugwriter on February 22, 2011 at 12:36 PM

And a hot Euro tranny girlfriend.

Odie1941 on February 22, 2011 at 12:37 PM

Krugman is accusing one party of wanting to destroy the Republic. So when Republicans aren’t offending Krugman’s sensibilities by reading the Constitution aloud on the House floor, they’re tearing down democracy.

Ummm, no he’s not. So typical of Hotairheads to play a self-aggrandizing shell game with some arch-libs’ ideas for their dimmer readers’ viewing pleasure.

Krugman’s quote is “less of a functioning democracy and more of a third-world-style oligarchy.” I know that you Hotairheads don’t do gray real well, but Krugman sees a continuum.

And he’s exactly right. The GOP has since Hoover been about the piling up of money among an elite, international few.

bifidis on February 22, 2011 at 12:27 PM

So you maintain that a “third-world-style oligarchy” is not mutually exclusive of “republic” or “democracy.” Not even Krugman is that dense (“less of a functioning democracy and more of a third-world-style oligarchy”).

P.S. The notion of an oligarchy of “Big Money” opposing public sector unions is ridiculous, in case you missed the main point of this post. The “Big Money” in this instance would be “Big Taxpayer.”

steebo77 on February 22, 2011 at 12:38 PM

And this guy was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize?

Not surprising.

Danny on February 22, 2011 at 12:34 PM

Bank of Sweden Prize, the Economics Nobel. And he deserved it, and he used to be a legitimate economist. Now we all get to watch him decompensating in print every week.

DrSteve on February 22, 2011 at 12:39 PM

If you want to simplify it even further, public sector unions are a special interest aimed at extracting more money from taxpayers.

So let it henceforth be known that Paul Krugman wants a check on the power of Big Taxpayer.

Translation:

How dare you resist the Taking of your earnings.

Chip on February 22, 2011 at 12:39 PM

Parents and students and taxpayers never asked for teachers with a masters degree. Why should we have to pay extra for something we don’t need and don’t care about?

Oh, I know. To freeze out new teachers entering the system. To protect and reward the entrenched insiders. That’s why.

Kohath on February 22, 2011 at 12:39 PM

698 more days for the Wrecking Ball to work his magic on America…..(and the World).

Expect the Gates of Progressive Hell to open up until Noon on January 20, 2013.

PappyD61 on February 22, 2011 at 12:39 PM

And guess what, public sector union aren’t in a struggle against the titans of industry. They get their money from the government taxpayers.

FIFY

BTW Did bifidis read the article? Why, or why not?

dmh0667 on February 22, 2011 at 12:39 PM

When writing propaganda, accuracy and honesty are not required…Kruggie is perfect for this work. They know what they are doing…

d1carter on February 22, 2011 at 12:40 PM

Fact checking and meme-checking at HotAir? When did this start?

faraway on February 22, 2011 at 12:42 PM

Krugman’s columns are like tampon ads: not written for me, safe to ignore.

Akzed on February 22, 2011 at 12:42 PM

And, Krugman is still paid for his writing, what a shame!

SC.Charlie on February 22, 2011 at 12:43 PM

And he’s exactly right. The GOP has since Hoover been about the piling up of money among an elite, international few.

bifidis on February 22, 2011 at 12:27 PM

Exactly right! Like George Soros, Steve Jobs, the Facebook King, Mu’Barak HASSAN 0Bama, Timmy Geithner, Bill Clinton, Al Gore…..

dmh0667 on February 22, 2011 at 12:43 PM

To read Paul Krugman is like sticking head inside the bowels of the Porto pottie….

hawkman on February 22, 2011 at 12:44 PM

Krugman made a complete hash of this column.

When doesn’t he?

That last sentence is usually implied when discussing an article by Krugman. Like a silent “e”

JeffWeimer on February 22, 2011 at 12:45 PM


bifidis

Does it bother you that you are advocating the forcible taking of property from one group to be handed over to another?

Does it bother you that you are advocating that people should NOT have a choice, the Liberty if you will, of whether or not to join a union?

Does it bother you that you are on the side of the argument against Liberty?

Chip on February 22, 2011 at 12:46 PM

Ugh, even for him, that was just awful. How did he cram so much idiocy into a single column?
We’re broke Mr. economist; is that too complicated for you?

Grayson on February 22, 2011 at 12:48 PM

The commies and socialists are now fully out of the closet. Anyone who doesn’t think unions (worker’s parties) aren’t communist should take a look at the attendees…and the signs they carry, and the slogans they repeat ad nauseum.

HomeoftheBrave on February 22, 2011 at 12:49 PM

The GOP has since Hoover been about the piling up of money among an elite, international few.

bifidis on February 22, 2011 at 12:27 PM

Please explain why Wall Street gave so heavily to Obama.
Start with the inconvenient truth that “rich Democrats” exist.

J_Crater on February 22, 2011 at 12:50 PM

Does it bother you that you are on the side of the argument against Liberty? Chip on February 22, 2011 at 12:46 PM

When they lose an election they prevent a quorum and blame the winners for winning.

That’s nothing but political depravity.

The Democratic Party owns the biggest misnomer in American history.

Akzed on February 22, 2011 at 12:50 PM

If these well educated teachers are so smart, why do they need a union to negotiate their salary and benefits? Most college educated people know what they are worth and able to represent themselves.

AZCON on February 22, 2011 at 12:51 PM

IIRC, it was at the Aspen Institute a few years back where Krug boasted to a fellow economist that he’d write whatever anyone wanted him to write, so long as they paid him $50,000 a pop. No doubt he’s upped his rate since then.

Christien on February 22, 2011 at 12:51 PM

bifidis on February 22, 2011 at 12:27 PM

So the green-eyed monster rears it’s ugly head. Does it make you feel better to tear someone else down, even if it doesn’t materially help you?

Oh, and it’s okay to not like Krugman. You don’t have to put yourself in an untenable intellectual position just because you don’t like us.

And get your facts right when you make a statement like that. It’s been at least since Coolidge.

JeffWeimer on February 22, 2011 at 12:51 PM

Kruggles should try reading Big Newspaper:

Among the top five employers here are the county, the schools and the city. And that was enough to make Mr. Hahan, a union man from a union town, a supporter of Gov. Scott Walker’s sweeping proposal to cut the benefits and collective-bargaining rights of public workers in Wisconsin, a plan that has set off a firestorm of debate and protests at the state Capitol. He says he still believes in unions, but thinks those in the public sector lead to wasteful spending because of what he sees as lavish benefits and endless negotiations.

“Something needs to be done,” he said, “and quickly.”

Across Wisconsin, residents like Mr. Hahan have fumed in recent years as tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs have vanished, and as some of the state’s best-known corporations have pressured workers to accept benefit cuts.

Wisconsin’s financial problems are not as dire as those of many other states. But a simmering resentment over those lost jobs and lost benefits in private industry — combined with the state’s history of highly polarized politics — may explain why Wisconsin, once a pioneer in supporting organized labor, has set off a debate that is spreading to other states over public workers, unions and budget woes.

There are deeply divided opinions and shifting allegiances over whether unions are helping or hurting people who have been caught in the recent economic squeeze. And workers themselves, being pitted against one another, are finding it hard to feel sympathy or offer solidarity, with their own jobs lost and their benefits and pensions cut back or cut off.

Everyone else needs to pinch pennies and give more money to health insurance companies and pay for their own retirement,” said Cindy Kuehn as she left Jim and Judy’s Food Market in Palmyra. “It’s about time the buck stops.”

Shivas Irons on February 22, 2011 at 12:52 PM

Weapons-grade stupid.

greggriffith on February 22, 2011 at 12:52 PM

What Mr. Walker and his backers are trying to do is to make Wisconsin — and eventually, America — less of a functioning democracy and more of a third-world-style oligarchy.

.
Krugman is a simp. It is self-evident that it is the Democrats in Wisconsin who are shutting down the functioning of a duly elected legislature, and who in DC have enacted legislation they haven’t even read, and refuse to let others read (why?).
.
And this just in (At Ace): “Indiana Democrats Flee Statehouse To Avoid Having To Vote” —DrewM.
.

And that’s why anyone who believes that we need some counterweight to the political power of big money should be on the demonstrators’ side.

.
and
.

On paper, we’re a one-person-one-vote nation; in reality, we’re more than a bit of an oligarchy, in which a handful of wealthy people dominate. Given this reality, it’s important to have institutions that can act as counterweights to the power of big money.

.
Meanwhile, via Drudge:

Gerald McEntee, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the nation’s largest public-sector union, said the moves in various state capitals to target state employees were an explicit effort to undermine a key source of Democratic funds.

They know how much we spent in the last campaign,” he said. “They’re going to try and shoot us down.”

.
… and bifidis is now posting elsewhere …

Arbalest on February 22, 2011 at 12:53 PM

Does it bother you that you are on the side of the argument against Liberty? Chip on February 22, 2011 at 12:46 PM

When they lose an election they prevent a quorum and blame the winners for winning.

That’s nothing but political depravity.

The Democratic Party owns the biggest misnomer in American history.

Akzed on February 22, 2011 at 12:50 PM

One almost gets the impression that they see Democracy as some sort of scam to play on people to gain power.

Elections have consequences and all.

And yet when people figure out who they really are and what they really want and reject them, they somehow want to disavow the whole process and somehow cling to power no matter what.

Chip on February 22, 2011 at 12:56 PM

What is really sad about Paul Krugman is that he was a very good trade economist who did some very good work in that capacity.

Of course, once he became the “liberal conscience” of the New York Times, he has often had to refute many of the conclusions and concepts he touted in his professional work.

To put it another way, as a professional economist, Krugman could not rely on the ignorance of his professional audience–i.e. fellow economists, journal editors, etc–to proffer his conclusions in his scholarship in the same way he can with his diatribes against conservatives in the New York Times.

RedSoxNation on February 22, 2011 at 12:57 PM

Can i just say how tiresome the liberal tactic of demonizing something by placing the word BIG in front of it is? I mean, it’s become so worn out that Breitbart used it to name his sites just to mock the tactic. How out of touch must Krugman be if he doesn’t realize this?

clearbluesky on February 22, 2011 at 12:58 PM

How can these liberals make any of these arguments in favor of shutting down the state legislatures when they attacked the Republicans for simply voting against ObamaCare and the Stimulus.

I also think the Republicans must use this to show that the Democrats favor shutting down government in place of making real spending cuts…

RedSoxNation on February 22, 2011 at 1:00 PM

I wonder if Krugman knows that Unions make the lion’s share of their $ from negotiating “benefits”, not salaries… or collection of dues.
This is why the decoupling of the Salaries and Benefits so important to Unions in Wisconsin. And why the Union’s have countered the way they have. They’ll give up Salary and Jobs for Teachers in a second, but they will fight to death for Benefit negotiation position.
In another life I used to do administration for a few Teamster “Health and Welfare” benefit packages. Do some research, but you’ll find I’m correct about motivation of Unions. I also believe that the amount of money kept by Unions will be very interesting to the tax payers of the US of A.
The way it works is rather basic. The Unions negotiate with the “Employer” regarding how much money per member/per month they will need to support the benefit options required in Union contract. In the case of WI, the Unions negotiate with each of the 77 counties Then they negotiate the terms of benefits with “providers”/Ins Co’s, etc. The Unions make the lion’s share of their money off of what is called the “breakage” created by Employees choosing between plan options, and charging for the administration of the programs.
Let me explain with an example: A Union begins by negotiating with the Employer/State. They’ll claim their buying leverage will afford Employer significant savings. They’ll end up with a 3-tiered cost structure which allows the Union a profit even with the highest benefit option available as Union already has a very good idea about what Providers will be charging. But it gets even more lucrative for Unions at this point.
Let’s say high-end Blue Cross PPO coverage costs $400 for the Family tier. What a Union will do is require $425 from Employer, plus a loaded in admin fee, as a charge for all Families in the employer group. So far, so fair? But, the Union will also offer a few other plans for Employees to choose from. The Union will also have developed relationships with a few cheaper HMO plans, and lesser PPO benefit structure plans that charge, as an example, $325 and $375, respectively.
At an Open House Employees will choose what fits their needs and the Union is in line for the “breakage”. The left over breakage is then, to my experience, placed in a fund where only the Union has the checkbook. Cars, Vacations and Condo’s, oh my. The Union also makes a “commission” off of things like Pre Legal, Dental and Term Life.
As another profit source, the Union also leans on the Administrator for favors I’d rather not list, but usually involving idiocy like buying thousands of dollars of “raffle tickets” and leasing cars for the Union’s Business Agents, not entirely above board.
Of course I am relating my experience, and what little I know of others who also did Union administration. I’d expect any simple research by an actual reporter would open up a Pandora’s box of Slush in the Badger State.

Read more: http://www.newsbusters.org/unions-need-negotiate-benefits-survive-salaries-not-so-much.html#new#ixzz1EiBvkshC

Shivas Irons on February 22, 2011 at 1:02 PM

Why do we require elementary school teachers to be so over educated? Wouldn’t it save them money if we didn’t require so many degrees?
MayBee on February 22, 2011 at 12:37 PM

Trying to content with so many wrongheaded ideas on this thread is like trying to drink water from a fire hydrant. Can’t do it. I am drowning in dumb.

That said … here’s finally a decent, smart comment from a Hotairhead. Sadly, it’s way off-topic. We used to have so-called “normal schools,” which were basically this.

bifidis on February 22, 2011 at 1:04 PM

And he’s exactly right. The GOP has since Hoover been about the piling up of money among an elite, international few.

bifidis on February 22, 2011 at 12:27 PM

========================================================
How much is Pelosi worth?Is she among this elite few?

docflash on February 22, 2011 at 1:05 PM

Don’t look now, but Obama’s numbers on Rassmussen are falling quick. He is now at 44% favorable. Remember, Rassmussen is usually the first to spot a trend. Obama will make a big tactical mistake if he ties himself in public with these unions. We know that he is working with them behind the scenes, but he cannot afford to be seen openly supporting them in the press.

I hate to say it, but teachers and teacher unions are not as respected as they once were. Many parents now see teachers as part of the problem, as opposed to part of the solutions. and for those who have to pay taxes and private school tuition, that frustration is placed squarely on teachers and their unions. And that frustration is felt strongest in Blue States like Massachusetts, Ohio, Michigan, etc.

This fight with the teachers’ unions is the best gift the political gods could have given the GOP. Let’s hope the stupid party doesn’t mess up this opportunity.

RedSoxNation on February 22, 2011 at 1:05 PM

bifidis on February 22, 2011 at 1:04 PM

The Decline of Liberalism

AMERICAN LIBERALISM, synonymous today with big government, the exact opposite of the liberalism of Edmund Burke and other British champions of individual liberty, arose essentially from the use of the state to alleviate the most severe economic inequalities in society.

Chip on February 22, 2011 at 1:07 PM

DrSteve on February 22, 2011 at 12:39 PM

I stand corrected when being reminded of his past work…

Where does all of that scholarship disappear to when he writes his opinion pieces?

For instance:

” So it’s not about the budget; it’s about the power.

In principle, every American citizen has an equal say in our political process. In practice, of course, some of us are more equal than others. …..

Given this reality, it’s important to have institutions that can act as counterweights to the power of big money. And unions are among the most important of these institutions. ”

I don’t get that.

He says, “every American citizen has an equal say in our political process” then criticizes entities (‘billionaires’) which can hire lobbyists, etc.

Simply speaking, the average taxpayer does not have an equal say. The theoretical “counterweight” he describes that exists for the taxpayer is an elected representative… 14 of which are no longer in the state of WI due to their true allegiance to the the Unions.

A significant step which would ensure that a taxpayer would have an “equal say” is to eliminate lobbyists and contributions from large scale organizations to politicians and political parties. This, of course, would include Unions.

The only part of the above excerpt that I agree with is:

” So it’s not about the budget; it’s about the power. ”

It is about the power… that Unions want to have over the individual taxpayer who subsidizes their benefit plans and retirement. Apparently Krugman is okay with this,

Danny on February 22, 2011 at 1:09 PM

Does it bother you that you are advocating the forcible taking of property from one group to be handed over to another?

I guess you live in a universe where no one pays a penny in taxes. Does the IRS “forcibly” — nice use of crime and rape rhetoric, by the way, borrowed from Michael Savage, I presume? — take my property every year? Yes. And not enough of it lately.

Does it bother you that you are advocating that people should NOT have a choice, the Liberty if you will, of whether or not to join a union?

There are two kinds of freedom — freedom from and freedom to. The freedom to bargain collectively seems like a no-brainer.

Does it bother you that you are on the side of the argument against Liberty?

Chip on February 22, 2011 at 12:46 PM

You should ask yourself the same question.

bifidis on February 22, 2011 at 1:11 PM

As far as the Democratic party is concerned SEIU IS Big Money. Are they fighting against themselves?

Fred 2 on February 22, 2011 at 1:11 PM

Trying to content with so many wrongheaded ideas on this thread is like trying to drink water from a fire hydrant. Can’t do it. I am drowning in dumb.

That said … here’s finally a decent, smart comment from a Hotairhead. Sadly, it’s way off-topic. We used to have so-called “normal schools,” which were basically this.

bifidis on February 22, 2011 at 1:04 PM

Ahhhh … name-calling now, are we? Wow. I am impressed. But your arguments lose.

bifidis on February 22, 2011 at 12:11 PM

Okay, let me get this straight, when YOU start name calling, doe s it mean you’ve lost the argument, or is it like everything else with the Oppressive-left, it’s all based on a double standard?

Chip on February 22, 2011 at 1:13 PM

Obama’s numbers on Rassmussen are falling quick.

Umm, when aren’t they on Rassmussen? That’s the poll of white Republicans who live in the Atlanta suburbs.

bifidis on February 22, 2011 at 1:13 PM

Yes, it’s true that public school teachers make less on an annual basis than private sector workers with college degrees, it’s also true that teachers only work 9 months a year. If you look at their salary and benefits on an hourly basis, they come out ahead (often well ahead) of private sector employees. Manhattan Institute has a paper on correcting for this difference here.

John, you are wrong there. They work only 8 months to 8 months and one week a year. Remember 2 weeks off for Christmas Winter Solstice Break and a week off for Spring Break. Many schools, like my old one had a week off in the fall too. So when you factor that all in it’s actually 8 months that they work.

Tim Burton on February 22, 2011 at 1:15 PM

Okay, let me get this straight, when YOU start name calling, doe s it mean you’ve lost the argument, or is it like everything else with the Oppressive-left, it’s all based on a double standard?

Chip on February 22, 2011 at 1:13 PM

Yes, “Hotairhead” is a deeply, horrifically painful, insulting term. Calling ideas “dumb” must also rank among the most obscene sorts of personalized insults I’ve encountered on the internets.

You big dum-dum, you! I’m going to break your crayons.

bifidis on February 22, 2011 at 1:18 PM

I don’t like him.

flyoverland on February 22, 2011 at 1:18 PM

And he’s exactly right. The GOP has since Hoover been about the piling up of money among an elite, international few.

bifidis on February 22, 2011 at 12:27 PM

You mean like (international) public sector unions? You mean like Hollywood elites? You mean like the liberals on the Upper East Side? You mean like the typical Columbia University graduate? Stop your projection and look at the party that actually is piling up money at the feet of the elite international few. This fight is about the fiscal tap-root of the Democratic party, not any of the bullshit you’re throwing around to muddy the issue.

JSGreg3 on February 22, 2011 at 1:19 PM

The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. — John Maynard Keynes

Shivas Irons on February 22, 2011 at 1:20 PM

I don’t like him.

flyoverland on February 22, 2011 at 1:18 PM

Now that’s a beautiful honest comment. Thank you.

bifidis on February 22, 2011 at 1:21 PM

Does it bother you that you are advocating the forcible taking of property from one group to be handed over to another?

I guess you live in a universe where no one pays a penny in taxes. Does the IRS “forcibly” — nice use of crime and rape rhetoric, by the way, borrowed from Michael Savage, I presume? — take my property every year? Yes. And not enough of it lately.

So it that a Yes or a No?

Does it bother you that you are advocating that people should NOT have a choice, the Liberty if you will, of whether or not to join a union?

There are two kinds of freedom — freedom from and freedom to. The freedom to bargain collectively seems like a no-brainer.

What?

How does forcing someone to join a union a freedom?

Does it bother you that you are on the side of the argument against Liberty?

Chip on February 22, 2011 at 12:46 PM

You should ask yourself the same question.

bifidis on February 22, 2011 at 1:11 PM

I’m not the one that want’s to force people to join the union.

I’m not the one that want’s to repress freedom of speech with the calls for ‘Civility’

I’m not the one that want’s to take a way a person’s right to self-defense.

I’m not the one that want’s to take away more and more of people earnings to buy the votes of the politically connected.

Why don’t you answer our questions for once?

You claim to be:

Trying to content with so many wrongheaded ideas on this thread is like trying to drink water from a fire hydrant.

Implying you are intellectually superior, so why don’t you show some of that instead of cowardly running away.

Chip on February 22, 2011 at 1:24 PM

I leave you gentleman now … alas, time to work. But as I leave you I want you to know — just think how much you’re going to be missing. You won’t have Bifidis to kick around any more, because, gentlemen, this is my last post (for today) …

See you again on Hot Air soon. [cue sound of toilet flushing as Bifidis vanishes.]

bifidis on February 22, 2011 at 1:25 PM

See you again on Hot Air soon. [cue sound of toilet flushing as Bifidis vanishes.]

bifidis on February 22, 2011 at 1:25 PM

I have to assume he/she/it understands what they just said there. And the analogy is apt. It has to be #2 because bifidis is supposed to make you regular…..

JeffWeimer on February 22, 2011 at 1:32 PM

So why don’t you show some of that instead of cowardly running away.

bifidis on February 22, 2011 at 1:25 PM

I guess that’s my answer, it’s really too bad our intellectually superiors can’t demonstrate this ability – ever.

Chip on February 22, 2011 at 1:33 PM

Danny on February 22, 2011 at 1:09 PM

Dude, I can’t explain it, I’m not his therapist. He’s always had this annoying characteristic of painting people who disagree with him as slaves to orthodoxy, with himself as the lone transcendent man who sees things how they really are. He also needlessly personalizes conflicts (see e.g. Laura Tyson). There’s some ugly dynamic at work in his head, and I’m sad every time I see one of his columns because I think at some point he’ll be lost to the community of professional economists for good, either because he’s completely discredited himself with some wild shoddy prediction or he’s let his training fall to disrepair chasing deadlines.

DrSteve on February 22, 2011 at 1:33 PM

AMERICAN LIBERALISM, synonymous today with big government, the exact opposite of the liberalism of Edmund Burke and other British champions of individual liberty, arose essentially from the use of the state to alleviate the most severe economic inequalities in society. Chip on February 22, 2011 at 1:07 PM

The jack o’ napes who operates Wordsmith.org / A Word A Day, Anu Garg, often provides quotes relevant to current events. Today, no doubt with WI in mind, he offered this:
Mere parsimony is not economy. Expense, and great expense, may be an essential part in true economy. -Edmund Burke, statesman and writer (1729-1797).

Akzed on February 22, 2011 at 1:33 PM

“Krugman made a complete hash of this column.”

Nothing surprising there. Krugman’s “columns” are nothing but an agenda driven collection of free association thoughts to support his agenda. Facts, figures, honesty and integrity NEVER figure in a Krugman column.

Webrider on February 22, 2011 at 1:35 PM

If you want to simplify it even further, public sector unions are a special interest aimed at extracting more money from taxpayers…

…and applying that money to support leftist politicians and advance the leftist agenda.

It’s a thoroughly corrupt structure.

petefrt on February 22, 2011 at 1:39 PM

I am drowning in dumb.

bifidis on February 22, 2011 at 1:04 PM

Finally, a true statement from the troll.

See you again on Hot Air soon. [cue sound of toilet flushing as Bifidis vanishes.]

bifidis on February 22, 2011 at 1:25 PM

Are you admitting that you are a piece of sh*t?

fossten on February 22, 2011 at 1:39 PM

I wonder if Krugman knows that Unions make the lion’s share of their $ from negotiating “benefits”, not salaries… or collection of dues.
This is why the decoupling of the Salaries and Benefits so important to Unions in Wisconsin. And why the Union’s have countered the way they have. They’ll give up Salary and Jobs for Teachers in a second, but they will fight to death for Benefit negotiation position.
In another life I used to do administration for a few Teamster “Health and Welfare” benefit packages. Do some research, but you’ll find I’m correct about motivation of Unions. I also believe that the amount of money kept by Unions will be very interesting to the tax payers of the US of A.
The way it works is rather basic. The Unions negotiate with the “Employer” regarding how much money per member/per month they will need to support the benefit options required in Union contract. In the case of WI, the Unions negotiate with each of the 77 counties Then they negotiate the terms of benefits with “providers”/Ins Co’s, etc. The Unions make the lion’s share of their money off of what is called the “breakage” created by Employees choosing between plan options, and charging for the administration of the programs.
Let me explain with an example: A Union begins by negotiating with the Employer/State. They’ll claim their buying leverage will afford Employer significant savings. They’ll end up with a 3-tiered cost structure which allows the Union a profit even with the highest benefit option available as Union already has a very good idea about what Providers will be charging. But it gets even more lucrative for Unions at this point.
Let’s say high-end Blue Cross PPO coverage costs $400 for the Family tier. What a Union will do is require $425 from Employer, plus a loaded in admin fee, as a charge for all Families in the employer group. So far, so fair? But, the Union will also offer a few other plans for Employees to choose from. The Union will also have developed relationships with a few cheaper HMO plans, and lesser PPO benefit structure plans that charge, as an example, $325 and $375, respectively.
At an Open House Employees will choose what fits their needs and the Union is in line for the “breakage”. The left over breakage is then, to my experience, placed in a fund where only the Union has the checkbook. Cars, Vacations and Condo’s, oh my. The Union also makes a “commission” off of things like Pre Legal, Dental and Term Life.
As another profit source, the Union also leans on the Administrator for favors I’d rather not list, but usually involving idiocy like buying thousands of dollars of “raffle tickets” and leasing cars for the Union’s Business Agents, not entirely above board.
Of course I am relating my experience, and what little I know of others who also did Union administration. I’d expect any simple research by an actual reporter would open up a Pandora’s box of Slush in the Badger State.

Read more: http://www.newsbusters.org/unions-need-negotiate-benefits-survive-salaries-not-so-much.html#new#ixzz1EiBvkshC

Shivas Irons on February 22, 2011 at 1:02 PM

Fascinating. Thanks for the explanation.

byepartisan on February 22, 2011 at 1:41 PM

fossten on February 22, 2011 at 1:39 PM

I know, right?

JeffWeimer on February 22, 2011 at 1:45 PM

Krugman doesn’t drink the Kool Aid. He mainlines the powder.

GarandFan on February 22, 2011 at 1:52 PM

So “balance” is a Government employee union bargaining with a government employee to take money from taxpayers.

And this “balance” is now thrown out of whack, as there is a government employee who is actually taking the side of the taxpayer?

So things are only in “balance” in Krugman’s world when they’re entirely one-sided; and having both sides represented during bargaining is something that needs corrected and “balanced”…

I guess reading George Orwell to learn NewSpeak practices wasn’t a waste of time after all.

gekkobear on February 22, 2011 at 1:55 PM

This goes far beyond calling someone unpatriotic. Krugman is accusing one party of wanting to destroy the Republic.

…and Medved is indignant about righties calling Obama “destructive”…

Schadenfreude on February 22, 2011 at 2:05 PM

Consider joining this facebook page: “Paul Krugman should give back his Nobel Prize in Economics.”

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Paul-Krugman-should-give-back-his-Nobel-Prize-in-Economics/128972230446941

WordsMatter on February 22, 2011 at 2:12 PM

So former Enron adviser Paul Krugman is still working for al New York Times?

slickwillie2001 on February 22, 2011 at 2:15 PM

Krugman isn’t exactly “elegant”, but you’re just as misleading!

How exactly are public sector unions a balance to the power of big money?… And guess what, public sector union aren’t in a struggle against the titans of industry. They get their money from the government.

Right, which is why the “big money” term is so silly. However, they are in a struggle against the State, which is an even bigger leviathan. Unlike private industry, the state offers little in ways of competition. Private schools tend only to cater to the wealthy, and the average teacher would prefer to work with all children. If the state just decides to arbitrary cut pensions, what power does a single teacher have? A university professor can leave for another university, but what should a teacher do? Go to a different state? And a police officer. Unhappy with your benefits? Tough, become a security guard. In this regard, unions in the public sector are even more important, since the State virtually monopolizes the job market. Besides, budget>union. The union refuses to allow pay cuts? You can fire teachers. Same thing with police. At the end of the day, the local districts hold the purse strings.

If you want to simplify it even further, public sector unions are a special interest aimed at extracting more money from taxpayers.

I fail to see where unions are demanding any MORE from the State. They are just trying to hold on to their benefits that are being eroded away more and more every year. Without a defined benefit retirement vehicle, retiring is nearly impossible for the average American. Private sector workers got their benefit packages torn apart, and now they are coming after the public sector. Why? Because some lawmakers like to arbitrarily cut taxes, and than threaten layoffs until cuts are made. So we will cut taxes, while at the same time lowering our quality of teacher. WI citizens should give their kids the extra 10 dollars a month they are saving and tell them that it’s where their teachers went.

Perhaps Mr. Krugman should check out this article in his own paper and get back to us.

Are you really using F.D.R. to support a conservative argument? REALLY?

Notice he says public sector unions make slightly less than their private counterparts if you rank by level of education.

Why is this weird? Do we claim garbage collectors are underpaid because they don’t earn as much as surgeons? Education is everything (which is ironic, since that’s the field you seem so adamant to destroy here).

(in regard to the same debate over New Jersey public workers)

Who are the highest paid public employees in the country (thanks to the property taxes). Even using the most extreme example, your argument falls flat.

even the liberal EPI agrees

I’m not sure if you actually read passed one line in this article, but did you notice the fun chart where police officers and fire fighters (who require a bachelors and nothing more) make significantly more then teachers? Why exactly are they being ignored in WI, again?

Yes, it’s true that public school teachers make less on an annual basis than private sector workers with college degrees, it’s also true that teachers only work 9 months a year.

Firstly, if you want a “full time” teacher, you need to offer them a “full time” salary. Offering teachers 9-months of pay will result in having an entire population of teachers that are flooding jobs at McDonald’s during the summer to pay bills. That’s obviously an extreme example. What you’d really see is less and less people entering the profession in the first place.

And I’ve touched on this before, but the idea that teachers work 8 hour days is ridiculous. Are there some bad teachers who run home as soon as the final bell rings, and don’t do anything until homeroom the next day? Sure. But most teachers show up an hour early for extra help. Most stay at least 2-3 hours after school, especially those who coach in school sports programs which are shifting more and more towards voluntary positions, as opposed to pay (a teacher coaching a sport instantly sees their work-day rise to around 12-13 hours a day, at least, with work on the weekends). Teachers also have to do all the work they assign their students, grade papers/exams, and set up lesson plans. If you’re an inclusion classroom teacher, which is more and more common in NYC, you’re actually building 2 lesson plans a day.

In short; Teachers working eight hours a day? Please.

Let’s break up the public sector unions, especially the teacher’s unions which do as much harm to our children as they do to our budgets.

Well here’s the key. They do “as much harm to our students”? Going by your blog post, if you live in the NE, go find a suburban Jersey/New York teacher (even in the city, since most young teachers come from the ‘burbs). They are EXTREMELY conservative in both ideology and teaching practices. Using protesters in WI as a metric for teachers is like using those idiot vets in Code Pink as a metric for our military.

Turns out only 4 of 314 police and firefighter unions in WI supported Gov. Walker. The largest statewide unions all supported his opponent.

Who cares what the unions did? I’ve only ever met a handful of police and fire fighters with liberal policies. Even if the unions are dem’s (which is not surprising, considering Walker’s insane stance on “compromise”), the vast majority of the actual officers and fire fighters are conservative-leaning. This is why Walker isn’t doing what Kasich is doing, and throwing all public sector unions under the bus. He knows they are a constituency, and the fact that he’s turning them against the GOP just means that, come 2012, when the dems actually have a base coming back out to the polls, WI is pretty much gone already.

Rainsford on February 22, 2011 at 2:19 PM

As a quick aside: I see a lot of complaining about how bad teachers are. You realize that the plans in WI will only result in even lower quality teachers, right? Whats the solution? Private schools only work for students from wealthy/supportive families, and home schooling works for some but is more likely to destroy the child’s ability to socialize, something that is just as important as the actual education the student gets (along with having the kid develop a nasty Oedipus/Electra complex). So yes, let’s cut teacher compensation, then complain about how bad our schools are getting and cut it some more. What, precisily, does the middle class have to gain from this? A lower state tax rate? But don’t you pay state taxes so you can have an education? Jeez.

Rainsford on February 22, 2011 at 2:23 PM

Rainsford, next time you’re trying to make a cogent (and what you think of as an intelligent argument), learn the difference between the words than and then. You’ve completely made a hash of using them, by swapping their correct use in your “argument.” Makes it tedious to read, and I didn’t finish it for that very reason.

Webrider on February 22, 2011 at 2:27 PM

And he’s exactly right. The GOP has since Hoover been about the piling up of money among an elite, international few.
bifidis on February 22, 2011 at 12:27 PM

Who are these “international few” exactly? I’m thinking maybe he means the Jooooooos are the “oligarchs” he claims run things, but I’m not at all clear what his point is.

Buy Danish on February 22, 2011 at 2:30 PM

What say, 15 cats, not married, lives with mom, been invited to one too many blanket parties?

nimrod on February 22, 2011 at 3:24 PM

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