Krugman and Followers Trash the Decade

Paul Krugman pens a column condemning the aughts, leading to outpouring of (mostly liberal) agreement

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Economics professor Paul Krugman has decided that the decade known as the "aughts"--or, as he suggests, the "naughties"--should instead be called "the Big Zero," and it seems he's got company. The New York Times columnist's tirade on the economic mess of the past ten years seems to have opened the floodgates for complaints about everything from terrorism to privacy rights. Krugman's original column declared the decade to have had "basically zero job creation, ... zero economic gains for the typical family, ... zero gains for homeowners," and "zero gains for stocks." Here are the responding wails from a bevy of largely left-leaning journalists, as well as one healthfully skeptical response:

  • Terrorists Again--Maybe Krugman's Right  Looking at the story of the attempted terror attack and Sen. Joe Lieberman's (I-CT) rallying cry for action against Yemen, GOOD's Amanda Fairbanks wonders if "maybe Paul Krugman was right. Maybe this is the decade when we learned absolutely nothing at all."
  • War, Politics, Economy--It's All Gone Downhill, Robert Stein, former chairman of the American Society of Magazine Editors, agrees: "The decade gave us our first needlessly preemptive war, the degradation of individual privacy, the most painful depression in almost a century, and perhaps worst of all, a coarsening of sensibilities toward everything from torture to political discourse."
  • Just Look at the Charts, Gawker's Hamilton Nolan urges. Only half jokingly--and uncharacteristically seriously for Gawker--he declares, looking at stock graphs: "Paul Krugman today points out the obvious: The whole decade was a waste."
  • Money Going to the Wrong Places  Sean Paul Kelley at The Agonist concurs, arguing that "the cause of all this misery" was twofold: "First, military spending went through the roof ... The second problem is the three decade long transfer of wealth from the middle class to the wealthy in America and America's refusal to tax the wealthy in a progressive manner." He's furious.
  • Your Point, Dr. Krugman?  "I could respond," begins Dave Schuler at The Glittering Eye, "by wondering how things might look if you measured from trough to trough or from peak to peak rather than when measuring from peak to trough or note that the period 1966 to 1983 saw similar economic doldrums." Deciding to leave this task to others, he asks what "failed policy Dr. Krugman advocates" in place of current courses of action; economic planning has been pretty well debunked, Schuler argues, as has industrial policy and government subsidies to business. What is left?

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