Krugman Responds to Newt's Jab

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Newt Gingrich and Paul Krugman Newt Gingrich and Paul Krugman (Chip Somodevilla/Olivier Morin/Getty)

"Look, Krugman is an extraordinary left-wing intellectual who has no concept of how the market works. The fact is, the way we balanced budgets in the 1990s was, we cut taxes and increased economic growth."

-Newt Gingrich on The Brian Lehrer Show, September 24.

Full Audio:

"He's confirming what I've been saying in my columns. Republicans have shifted from the war on terror to the war on arithmetic. Your numbers just do not add up. He talks about the 90s as this great period - in the 1990s Bill Clinton raised taxes."

- Paul Krugman on The Brian Lehrer Show, September 28th.

Full Audio: 

What do you think? At a time when the tax debate is raging, what do you think about the intersection of economic research and politics? Who do you trust?


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Comments [32]

Gingrich has not been truthful and is not a surprise to me. Thank you Krugman, your early warnings saved me a lot of money....

Oct. 22 2010 11:08 AM
KP in NY from LI

Question for Dr. Krugman: I loved Krugman's bit about Newt's "war on math," but can Krugman offer a succinct, sound-bite-ish statement that Democrats can use to push back at Republicans talking about "job-killing Democrats" every chance they get; what succinct phrase can he provide to all Democrats to take reality back?  As in, for example, Republican politicians want to take money from anyone who's poor and give it to anyone who's  rich, and lie about it, and will eat you out of house, home, Medicare, Social Security, health insurance, and government services for all.  I can't quite get it right.  Neither can the Democrats.
KP in NY

Sep. 28 2010 02:54 PM
Marc from Brooklyn

Every engineering and physics department from coast to coast goes to great lengths to recruit non-Asian students. Demographically, Asians are considered over-represented in such programs, and for admissions purporses, Asian students are no longer considered "minority." A US-born caucasian female can receive a stipend in excess of $40,000/yr from a mid-western physics department -- and remain the ONLY US-born caucasian female in her program, that's how desperate some science and engineering programs are for "diversity" (as calculated by their numbers-gamers to the point of meaninglessness.) If I'm wrong, Henry, then let me ask: is the racial, ethnic, and national make-up of your program roughly representative of the US as a whole? I'd be frankly shocked if it was even close.

Why the disparity? The clearest reason to me seems to be the poor math and science instruction afforded students in high school in this country. Perhaps, Henry, you excelled in math and science in high school, but that would render you exceptional, not representative, and as such, US employers cannot rely upon small numbers of exceptional students to fill their positions -- and Paul Krugman should know that.

Sep. 28 2010 11:09 AM
Henry from Brooklyn, NY

The most provocative thing from Gingrich's rant is not that Krugman is a "left wing intellectual" but that we are living in a "food stamp economy".

The republicans are very skilled at coining terms that serve them well by firing up the base and discouraging the opposition - e.g, Death taxes.

Democrats, on the other hand, seem to be in a reactive mode and ashamed of their own ideas!

Sep. 28 2010 11:05 AM
phil from Manhattan

I think the argument can be made that this country is no longer a Democracy but rather a Plutocracy. We have the choice of voting for this rich candidate or the other rich candidate who each have really enormous amounts of money behind them. To think that these people, our political leaders,are going to support legislation that would diminish their wealth or power is ludicrous.
They have got the people of this country voting against their own interests in terms of tax reform, social programs, or job programs by labeling these as Socialism and people here this word and are afraid.that the Gornment is going to take away their Medicare.

Sep. 28 2010 11:00 AM
Henry from Katonah

Foreign faces at Princeton? I am sure that Marc did not intend a racist comment but I would bet that most of the Asian (heritage) faces in Princeton engineering classes are US citizens , just like me - - 2 of my grandparents were not born here, but I am no less an American.

Sep. 28 2010 10:57 AM
jawbone from Parsippany

Dr. AT-- Result of decades of "cheap labor" policies.

At one time, young people were told they could avoid being downsized, having jobs shipped overseas, by getting more and better education and credentials.

But, alas, now even doctors find their jobs being done overseas. Right now, I know of radiologists' work being done over the internet. I'm not sure what other doctors' jobs are, however.

Even lecturing can be done over the internet. A certain interaction between teacher and student will be missing, but, hey, Cheap Labor Rulez!

And the Fed, while charged with maintaining full employment, somehow fixates on the infaltion/deflation part of its mandate to the detriment of working to achieve higher employment. Now, we have a Dem president and his econ team talking about "structural" high unemployment which will be with us for years.

What a Dem!

Where are the Dems of the Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party?

Do we need a new party, or can we somehow take back the D (as Tim Kaine now brands it), get it out of that encircling Corporatism?

Sep. 28 2010 10:51 AM

Gingrich is a complete liar. Krugman has no knowledge of how markets work? Give me a break! He won the Nobel Prize!

Republicans can never back up their ideas with facts. It wasn't always like this, was it? They lie on taxes. They lied on the war. They lie on immigration. They lie on terrorism. If their ideas were any good, would they have to make so much stuff up and discredit people who actually know what they are talking about?

Sep. 28 2010 10:51 AM
Henry from Brooklyn, NY

The most provocative thing from Gingrich's rant is not that Krugman is a "left wing intellectual" but that we are living in a "food stamp economy".

The republicans are very skilled at coining terms that serve them well by firing up the base and discouraging the opposition - e.g, Death taxes.

Democrats, on the other hand, seem to be in a reactive mode and ashamed of their own ideas!

Sep. 28 2010 10:49 AM
Kathy from Hoboken

I think that some of the employment is never going to come back. The recent downturn gave cover to companies who had been wanted to shed workers for years and didn't have the heart. Now they are at a staffing level that makes them competitive (hence the good news on corporate profits) and if they add workers, it will only be a fraction of what they had before. We need to help fund/find new industries, not based on hyper consumerism and the failed housing market if we are ever going to bring the unemployment rate down.

Sep. 28 2010 10:48 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Brian, you said something I've been suggesting for a while: raise the income level at which the tax cuts are extended. Only I'd make that point $400,000--the President's salary. And link it to the President's salary, so it goes up every time the President gets a raise! Or maybe just under their salary, so they'll be paying some of their taxes at that level.

And yes, the tax rate should be higher than that for the super-rich.

Sep. 28 2010 10:47 AM
BenInBrooklyn from Brooklyn

Newt doesn't know as much about history as he thinks he does. In that clip, he also said that tax cuts we're the key to economic growth and deficit reduction in the '90s. If I remember correctly, the Clinton Admin reluctantly raised taxes early in his term to reduce the deficit. That move has been widely credited by most economists as what helped create surplusses and economic boom of the 90s.

Sep. 28 2010 10:46 AM
Marc from Brooklyn

Both Gingrich and Krugman are guilty of holding selective memories. Taxes, by-and-large, went up in the 1990's -- and spending declined. Taxes started going up not with Bill Clinton's inaugeration, though, but when old man Geo HW Bush occupied the White House -- and some of his taxes backfired and reduced revenue and employment, especially in niche sectors like shipbuilding. Krugman is way out to lunch, however, when he says that there's no skills shortage facing American employers. He should just walk over to Princeton's engineering department and look at all the foriegn faces sitting in the classes: American high schools are not equipping thier students with the skills needed for accomplishment in math and science fields, so US universities and employers are either recruiting foreigners to relocate here, or are relocating their businesses to where the talent lives overseas. That's a fact. How Krugman can ignore that proves that he's every bit the disingenuous political schill that New Gingrinch is. They're birds of a feather, and only a well-informed public, armed with facts, not propaganda, can clip their wings.

Sep. 28 2010 10:46 AM
Lilgo from comments

How very disappointing that you gave Krugman such short shrift - I believe he has important things to say and you cut him short.

I'm a long time listener, but ....

Sep. 28 2010 10:46 AM
Dr. Alan Trevithick from Mamaroneck

I never get in here on time-but let's try again-all this education summit politics is a problem-
Please Brian, will you do a show in this, and include New Faculty Majority: Coalition for Adjunct and Contingent Equity (
New Faculty Majority is not connected to any union, and is the only national, incorporated, non-profit group working exclusively on adjunct/contingent equity, compensation and benefits, job security, professional advancement, participation in governance, and unemployment insurance, in private and public institutions
With all of the national discussion of the value of higher education, I feel strongly that politicians, administration, and media should be more attuned to this trend : the steady replacement of full-time tenure or tenure track faculty—call them “traditionals”—with part-time and/or limited contract instructors, “adjuncts” or “contingents.” Call them “adcons.” First most evident at community colleges, this trend is now everywhere—for instance, see Nichols and Nichols, in Inside Higher Education, about Vassar College. (

Sep. 28 2010 10:46 AM
Coach Rich from manhattan

why so short?!?!

Sep. 28 2010 10:43 AM

My republican friends were convinced that the Iraq war would improve the economy. What happened there?

Sep. 28 2010 10:43 AM
Kendra Banks from Brooklyn

OMG, why can;t Krugman talk about actually making the government efficient rather than soaking people for more money allowing it to continue to grow out of control. BTW, in the 90's economy we did not compete against China or have 2 wars, the situation is completely different. I am amazed that people win Nobel prizes based on their politics these days.

Sep. 28 2010 10:43 AM
jawbone from Parsippany

Wow, really short segment! Whassup with that?

Sep. 28 2010 10:42 AM
Ed from Larchmont

Thought experiment: what if the 50 million people killed in abortion had not been killed. They would be going to school, working, paying taxes, buying products, supporting social security. What would the present economy look like?

Sep. 28 2010 10:42 AM

"we could solve the unemployment problem in a year if we (increased personal and business credit lines and also government money for creating jobs)."

That's your solution to the "unemployment" problem? To figuring out America's global role in the future?

It is refreshing to disagree with a smart and famous person so completely!

You speak of "clean" economic experiments... yet every dollar of government money confuses matters and extends the problems longer. I am not hopeless -- just awaiting that moment of truth. It will come, let's get it over with.

Sep. 28 2010 10:40 AM
Dr. ALan Trevithick from Westchester

Adcon labor-adjunct and contingent-teaches almost all undergrauate courses in the country-at about 1/3, on a pro-rata basis, of what traditional faculty receive, are removed more than traditionals from university governance, are low-or-no benefitted in regard to health insurance and retirement funds, and receive little or nothing in the way of professional development.
This right away puts the lie to the idea that we "need" education"-can Dr. Krugman coment on this?

This is well-described and documented in an AAUP report ( from 1993, which ancient document I reference in order to emphasize that this is not a recent crisis. AAUP, indeed, in 2010, speaks of a “collapsing faculty infrastructure.” (
FACE (Faculty and College Excellence), a program of the American Federation of Teachers, similarly notes the “financial exploitation and unprofessional treatment” of adcons. (

Sep. 28 2010 10:40 AM
jawbone from Parsippany

PLEASE! Ask Paul where all those jobs are that are going unfilled!

I really need to know -- I'm educated, have graduate degree. I really, really, really need to know where all those jobs are that Obama is talking about!

And if thy're going unfilled due to lack of skills matching, what are the skills those jobs require?

Sep. 28 2010 10:40 AM
paulb from Brooklyn

Q for Dr. Krugman: I know we had more employment a few years ago, but wasn't a lot of it in housing construction? Has the US economy been too dependent on housing construction?

Sep. 28 2010 10:38 AM
jawbone from Parsippany

In the primaries, Obama told the editorial board of a Pittsburgh newspaper (conservative leaning paper, btw), that he thought it was Republicans who had the best ideas during the preceding 10-15 years.

That means from 1992 or 93 through early 2008, the last year of Bush I, but definitely through the Clinton administraions and the Bush II administrations, that Republicans had most of the good ideas.

It bothered me then and makes me wonder what Obama really believes government should do, especially in light of his actions once in the presidency.

Today, listening to WBAI I heard a journalism professor mention that Newt Gingrich campaigned to take over Congress in the 1994 by using his Contract with America and by saying Republicans were the "party of ideas."

Might that be the influence on Obama, what he remembered and took away from those years? Yikes!

Sep. 28 2010 10:38 AM
george from astoria

Why do Democrats constantly let republicans get away with preaching that tax cuts cause economic prosperity?
When will this myth end and what can the Democrats and I do about it.?

Enough is enough. They have been preaching trickle down economics for 3 decades and it is a false theary. trickle up hads more validity than trickle down.

Sep. 28 2010 10:37 AM

please discuss the distinction between job creation and DOMESTIC job creation.

Sep. 28 2010 10:36 AM
JT from LI

Gingrich always distorts facts and figures. He should only be allowed as a guest on panels where others can call him on his lies. Actually, he should not be a guest anywhere since his only goal is inflating his ego. He's a nobody.

Sep. 28 2010 10:36 AM
Morley Brown from toronto

Taxes are a fine balance.
Simply cutting doesn't drive job growth, it drives deficits and kills social programs and the infrastructure in society that everyone benefits from. Other countries are just as prosperous, with equally savvy entrepreneurs and a higher tax rate hasn't dissuaded them starting a business.

Sep. 28 2010 10:35 AM
Phil Henshaw from way uptown

Why wouldn't it be a good idea to bring together the dozen or two original thinkers in the NYC area who saw this coming a long way off?? (whatever apparent discipline they seem to come from).

I'm a systems naturalist, might be descriptive, who has been writing in some detail about the systemic demand crunch we are now in and you now seem to be pointing to, since the 1970's. I can also point to precisely where Keynes and Boulding also pointed to it, and why it's been unavoidable all along from their perspectives too.

We won't survive it without some curiosity about how our whole intellectual culture missed it approaching, is one observation I'd suggest. Why not get the folks together, who seem to be talking about the same thing from well formed alternative views, for some conversations?


Sep. 28 2010 10:33 AM
Catherine from Rockville Centre

Thank God for Paul Krugman. The bit you re-played by Guengrich made my stomach churn. I'm so glad Krugman asked to respond.

Sep. 28 2010 10:33 AM
Scott from Brooklyn, NY

Perhaps this question is for the WNYC producers and the Sunday talk shows. Is it responsible to even continue talking to Gingrich as a spokesman and analyst? A couple of years ago he came off as somewhat of an "intellectual" of the right, but his reckless comments about the NY Mosque and Obama's "Post-colonial" view now makes him an extreme bomb thrower. Aren't there more rigorous conservative analyst the media can reach out to, I would love to hear them?

Please stop rewarding this kind of reckless speech by continuing to place him in a position of prominence.

Sep. 28 2010 10:14 AM

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