Saint Paul of Princeton

Saint Paul of Princeton

The Reverend Paul Krugman has crawled out of his bunker in Princeton to hurl a fire-and-brimstone jeremiad at those who have criticized his recent “climate of hate” incitement.

His new tack is that it all comes down to a contest between the moral (liberal Democrats) and the immoral (guess who?):

…One side of American politics considers the modern welfare state — a private-enterprise economy, but one in which society’s winners are taxed to pay for a social safety net — morally superior to the capitalism red in tooth and claw we had before the New Deal. It’s only right, this side believes, for the affluent to help the less fortunate.

The other side believes that people have a right to keep what they earn, and that taxing them to support others, no matter how needy, amounts to theft. That’s what lies behind the modern right’s fondness for violent rhetoric: many activists on the right really do see taxes and regulation as tyrannical impositions on their liberty…

Krugman is correct when he says:

…This deep divide in American political morality — for that’s what it amounts to — is a relatively recent development. Commentators who pine for the days of civility and bipartisanship are, whether they realize it or not, pining for the days when the Republican Party accepted the legitimacy of the welfare state, and was even willing to contemplate expanding it…

The period he’s talking about is the period between the New Deal and the 1960’s. But Krugman ignores the history that took place during the 1960’s which brought about a change in the thinking of ordinary middle class Americans, the ones who mostly financed the ever growing welfare state.

That history yielded the realization that the middle class was being taxed to subsidize destructive behavior, that the “needy” were mostly single mothers whose many fatherless children transformed our major cities into, you’ll excuse the expression, war zones. As Krugman must know, when you subsidize something, you are going to get more of it. In this case, taxpayer subsidies in support of out-of-wedlock children, it was discovered, produced more out-of-wedlock children and inevitably more crime and fear.

Krugman ignores that bit of history where ordinary middle class people demanded action which resulted in the welfare reform law that Bill Clinton was forced (by public opinion) to sign and is now considered by most (not Krugman) as the most successful piece of legislation in decades.

Despite Krugman’s reductive nonsense, most people are more than willing to help the truly needy. How does Krugman explain the fact that conservatives donate much more to charity than liberals (remember Al Gore’s meager charitable donations?)?

Krugman won’t acknowledge the fact that many perfectly moral citizens have a problem subsidizing food stamps for the “needy” who typically load their groceries in late model cars while talking on their “blue tooth” equipped cell phones and return to their tax payer subsidized abodes where they ensconce themselves in front of their 60 inch flat screen HD tv’s. A stereotype? I think not.

To Krugman, the health care debate is a moral issue:

There’s no middle ground between these views. One side saw health reform, with its subsidized extension of coverage to the uninsured, as fulfilling a moral imperative: wealthy nations, it believed, have an obligation to provide all their citizens with essential care. The other side saw the same reform as a moral outrage, an assault on the right of Americans to spend their money as they choose.

But he distorts the truth. Few would refuse to help people who truly cannot help themselves. The problem is, as we now know, most of the uninsured the health care bill would cover either can afford to buy health insurance but don’t want to or are already covered by existing programs for which they have not applied.

That’s too simple for Krugman. He’d rather demonize his political opponents as immoral; civility ain’t for him.

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