Note to Paul Krugman: It Took More Than Markets to Ruin Detroit
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  • Corlyss

    “The news that officials are also guilty of idiotic and irresponsible investment decisions should come as no surprise to emergency manager Kevyn Orr, or even to New York Times pundits.”
    That NEVER happens in Democratic administrations, at least, not so’s you could tell it by the liberal enablers known as the media.

    • Andrew Allison

      As a liberal (according to, I favor Republicans, Democrats and Libertarians equally, depending upon the issue LOL), I resent your careless use of the word when you mean progressive (double-speak for regressive). ;<)

  • rheddles

    Getting dangerously close to this.

    • Andrew Allison

      The law-abiding citizens of Detroit might welcome the assistance of the National Guard in restoring order to the city with one of the highest crime rates in the nation.

      • ThomasD

        A crime rate that is held down by there being little value left to steal, less people worth victimizing, and less police to document the crimes that do occur.

        Wherever one stands between Krugman and Meade on the causes of this disaster what surely cannot be debated is that the current condition of Detroit is abject proof that the people of Detroit do not have, and for decades have not had a government that remotely represented their interests.

        It is a failure of democracy – not just a failure of Democrats.

        • Mysticbeetle

          You’re wrong. It is the “result” of democracy. Bastardized as it’s become.

        • Andrew Allison

          Except that for the past 50 years the city has, like the nine other poorest cities in the US been run by and for Democrats (

          • bpuharic

            80% of Americans live in cities. And the cities in the poorest states, as WRM reported yesterday…the ones with the lowest social mobility…are all


          • Jeff Jones

            Primary source please. Don’t even bother posting a blog as a source. You wouldn’t accept one.

          • ThomasD

            Exactly. Well, sort of. That the Democrat party was able to game the system, and game it to the detriment of the larger population, is a (huge) problem.

            But it is not the larger problem. The larger problem is that the system could be gamed to such an extent at all.

            Ergo, not merely a failure of Democrats, but a failure of democracy.

          • Andrew Allison

            Sorry, but no. The fact that “the ten poorest cities in the US have been run . . . .” cannot be ignored.

            I’ll agree that, as De Tocqueville wrote, democracy can’t survive in the long-term, but long-term Democrat rule demonstrability accelerates the inevitable collapse.

  • Pete

    Why would anyone waste the time to debate economic policy with a Kool-aid drinking, leftwing ideologue like Krugman?

    If this was the 1950s, Krugman would be praising Stalin’s economic planning with his wagging tongue, telling us how great the USSR is and that we must imitate Soviet policy.

  • Boritz

    One suspects Krugman would like to see nationwide the kind of total and protracted one party rule that Detroit has enjoyed. One further suspects that he would not regret it one bit if the result on a national scale was the same as long as he is on the winning side and safe in his gated, concertina wire encircled, and armed and patrolled community.

    • Andrew Allison

      Be kind, assume that he’s senile.

  • The Kruggster has no answer for Detroit in his “conscience of a liberal” bag of tricks. It had everything he wants to see: powerful unions, Democratic Party governance, high taxes, etc, and even with all those “advantages”, it somehow crashed and burned.

    So, move along, nothing to see here.

  • Anthony

    WRM, there is little to dispute in above Quick Take; however, Detroit is by no means sui generis. And the governor says the decline is at least 60 years in making (perhaps longer). Now, the toxic civic dynamic you describe above not only has hampered Detroit but also has fed on itself (social dynamism). So, where do we go from here – beyond Detroit’s present much discussed national attention – given that other municipalities though not in same extremis warrant attention?

  • bpuharic

    When the right uses supply side economics to bankrupt a country, while holding middle class wages stagnant for 30 years it’s called a ‘business cycle’. The middle class bails out the rich…that’s our job! We’re moochers, you see.

    When business interests in a city get billions in subsidies, and when a city loses more jobs than any other in the nation due to ‘free trade’ agreements, then let’s blame the unions. They’re moochers you see.

    So when the rich do it to the nation that’s OK. It’s capitalism. And when the rich do it to a city, that’s still OK because you blame it on the unions.

    In either case the rich get richer, as they did in this recession. The middle class gets the bill

    and the blame.

    Thanks for clearing that up, WRM. Much obliged.

    • No, people like you tell the middle class to wait until government/unions/businesses intervene to “help” them. Those that believe you, are the ones whose wages have stagnated … those that exercise their initiative, bettered their lot.

      Detroit is the poster child for your way of thinking … millions put their trust in the Powers That Be to secure their future, and now they left in the lurch, having learned that said Powers promised what they couldn’t deliver.

      You only describe WHAT is happening and call it “proof” … not WHY it is happening, or where it is NOT happening, parrot.

      Wanna cracker?

      • bpuharic

        We have the lowest rate of union membership in the western world. The highest rate of inequality and no raises for 30 years.

        How’s all that rugged individualism and free market stuff working out for the middle class?

        And Detroit was the victim of massive tax expenditures on corporations, sports teams, etc. Nice example of the right’s corporate views run amok.

        • If you don’t take the initiative to better your lot, you leave that money on the table for others to pick up … leading to the very inequality you describe.

          It is Progressive ideologues like you that encourage millions to leave that money on the table, thinking that the “smart people” will hand it to them, and that it is otherwise beyond their reach.

          The example of Detroit disabuses the first point in that line of thinking … the example of the millions that have bettered their lot through the opportunities of supply-side economics disabuses the second point.

          Keep squawking and swinging the broad brush of your tail feathers … reality paints a much different picture than your talking points do. Perhaps that is why so many have left the unions behind … they learned what Detroit is learning now, before the pain really hit …

          … wanna cracker?

          • bpuharic

            Still blaming the middle class, eh? It’s our fault that our economic condition hasn’t improved.

            We tried to better ourselves by balancing corporate power with unions. The right destroyed unions.

            And other western countries don’t have this level of inequality. To the right wing that’s more proof the American middle class is worthless.

            Go ahead. Keep telling us how great cakes tastes

            How’d that work out for Marie Antoinette?

          • I blame the middle class – of which I am part – only to the degree they have allowed themselves to be misled by Progressives like you, into leaving our prosperity on the table and thereby creating the inequality you refer to.

            You tried to outsource your personal responsibility and personal initiative to unions … and they failed on their own merits, not because the right “destroyed” them. They have only survived in the public sector, where politics and coercive taxation buffer the unions from collapse.

            The difference betwen us and other Western nations, is that we want to keep our ability to better our lot, instead of having people like you as gatekeepers that we must kowtow to to better our lot even a little bit.

            That is inequality as well … a coercive inequality that you seek to increase, parrot …

            … wanna cracker?

          • bpuharic

            Isn’t it nice. Other countries don’t have this with the middle class. Funny how all those Eurosocialists have accomplished what the American middle class hasn’t.

            And they have higher levels of unionization.

            Again and again, like a little puppy, you keep telling us of your wide eyed devotion, trust, faith and love in the mythical free market. No matter how much it screws the middle class it’s still our fault

            Can’t be Wall Street. Your puppy love won’t allow that.

            Must be our fault. You keep saying the American middle class is worthless, no matter what the evidence shows. It’s our fault

            Yeah. You’re right wing.

          • Ask those Europeans how hard it is to start a new business … or to find a job that pays more than what they are making now. Ask them what happens if their government ends up failing to meet their needs in the future.

            They have put themselves on a trap door, that can turn them into Detroit the when their leaders get something wrong … and have left themselves little or no ability to work around such failures.

            Equality is not the goal … increased prosperity for all is the goal, and you can’t sustain that without the intellect of the whole population being engaged in the process … as opposed to the Progressive way of the masses waiting for Orders from Headquarters, as HQ takes more and more of their earnings from them to support efforts to “help” them that are legendary in their inefficiency and ineffectiveness.

            That is the magic of the free market … it forces everyone to engage their brains to assure their future, not just a few “smart people” at the top that can too easily lead you off a cliff.

          • bpuharic

            More action at the margin. More puppy love

            The strength of a nation does not reside in its rich. It resides in the middle class. Somalia has a very small wealthy class and no middle class at all. To the right, that’s perfect.

            You right wingers keep telling us, standing in the midst of the rubble that used to be our economy before you 9/11’d it, how wonderful we are because we make our rich richer than anyone else, no matter how lazy the worthless middle class is.

            Equality of opportunity is as American as Thomas Jefferson (“All men are created equal”.)

            It’s a sign of how radical the American right is that that statement is now seen as communist.

            And you just destroyed your own argument.

            Increasing prosperity for ALL?


            OTHER countries are. Not us. Our rich are getting richer. Our middle class is NOT increasing in prosperity

            Thanks for blowing your foot off.

            And let me know when the US gets a free market, OK?

          • Not for ALL, because Progressives like you discourage millions from doing their part to do so … while expanding the very crony capitalism you decry and creating self-fulfilling prophecy in the process. Without removing that effect, my argument is still valid. Another broad-brush on your part.

            And I would like to see your metrics on how other nations have increased their prosperity … and compare that with what they are actually doing, and whether that is sustainable and sufficiently robust to resist government/union/business failures.

            Methinks you will find that the grass is not as green as you think, on the other side of that fence.

          • bpuharic

            Uh…the massive expansion in credit default swaps happened between

            1997 and 2007. The GOP controlled Congress AND the presidency during most of that time.

            The right deregulated us into this mess.

            And the right continues to blame the middle class, as you do now. “Discourage millions”? You, OTOH, simply watch the middle class die while calling us worthless, as you’ve done time and time again in this thread.

            Most other nations in the west have hourly pay scales about the same as hours, but none has the massive growth in inequality ours does

            And according to the right, they’re MORE socialist.

            By the way…Adam Smith was in favor of strong govt regulation of the business sector to prevent the kinds of abuse the right let happen in this country.

          • Let me remind you …

            Progressives opened the door to sub-prime lending in the 1990’s.

            Progressives supported “socializing the losses” through Fannie and Freddie,

            Progressives obstructed the attempts to shut that door in the Bush years … and when they had control of Congress, established regulations more in line with their prejudice against the productive than with protective prudence.

            Progressives established and defended the restrictions on domestic energy production that exacerbated the crash.

            Progressives favored their UAW political allies over salaried employees and bondholders in the GM/Chrysler bailouts.

            Progressives told us that unemployment would be back to 2005 levels by now if we passed the Porkulus. It isn’t.

            I could go on … but it is clear: your highly-credentialed Best and Brightest – created the conditions – exacerbated the conditions – and perpetuated the conditions for this malaise.

          • Jeff Jones

            > You keep saying the American middle class is worthless,

            Not once did he say that.

          • bpuharic

            Yep. He did. “I blame the middle class”…it’s right there 2 posts above.

            Not much on reading skills, are you?

          • Jeff Jones

            > Not much on reading skills, are you?

            Speak for yourself

            QUOTE: “I blame the middle class – of which I am part – only to the
            degree we have allowed ourselves to be misled by Progressives like you”

            He didn’t say the middle class is worthless. You added that word to make it sound more inflammatory than it was.

            You claim to be a physical scientist, yet you seem to have absolutely no commitment to accurate and honest argument substantiation. No wonder foreigners are eating our lunch in sciences and math.

          • bpuharic

            So he blames the middle class based on no evidence at all, save a made up excuse to

            blame the middle class

            Thanks. I already knew that.

  • Fred_Unger

    Krugman is once again blind to the reality he
    is arguing against himself. He is blaming market forces for Detroit’s decline instead of reflecting on the city’s and the big three automakers complete lack of appropriate response to market forces. He seems to think that with enough government planning and intervention, market realities like crazy unrealistic labor rates and outrageous tax rates can be overcome and competitors won’t make cars anywhere else in the world and tax payers are just stupid and won’t leave for places with lower taxes and better services.

    He notes that Greece, once the mightiest empire in the world, is now reduced to the economic scale of the metropolitan Detroit area. The irony is in his arguing that those same forces that destroyed Detroit can’t impact all of America.

    He gets one thing right – sticking to the same policies year after year in a rapidly changing world leaves a place the equivalent of a buggy whip manufacturer. More stimulus, more regulation, more government spending to prop up dead end ventures – follow Krugman’s policies and like Greece, America too can enter to a 2000 year decline and end up with its economy reduced to that of a dying city.

    Krugman, the Greeks, union leaders everywhere, along with government folks in Detroit and Washington have all still failed to accept that Margaret Thatcher was right. All their delusional fantasies aside, you can’t change the simple fact that eventually you run out of other peoples money.

    • bpuharic

      If the right wing supply siders were right, 2007 would have been a banner year for the US economy

      Capital gains taxes at record lows
      No American unions
      CEO pay at record high
      Wall Street profits at record high
      Middle class wages at record low

      So tell me…how’d we do?

      • My middle-class wages rose significantly from 2000 to 2007, as they did for all those not waiting around for government to solve their problems FOR them.

        We were doing good, until the chickens of Progressive-driven-and-protected housing/finance/energy polices came home to roost, parrot …

        … wanna cracker?

        • bpuharic

          No one cares about your Reader’s Digest anecdotes

          Liberals argue evidence. Right wingers argue anecdotes.

          • All it takes is one divergent example, to render a theorem invalid … and I am one of MILLIONS.

            Conservatives understand WHY things are the way they are … Liberals only parrot factoids and think they are proving their case …

            … wanna cracker?

          • bpuharic

            Uh, rich…a theorem is a statement in math. You mean ‘theory’.

            And this is not a theory, it’s a statistical evaluation of data over the last 30 years.

            And where’s you’re data?

            Rush (PBUH) doesn’t count.

            You might start with a dictionary. Look up ‘evidence’.

          • Look up “logic”, which is the basis upon which theorems are evaluated … the logic that says that completely trusting your future to your government, your union, or your employer is a fool’s errand, based upon centuries of observing human interaction.

            As I said, you have to understand the WHY, before you can conclude what the numbers mean … or you will reach the wrong conclusions.

          • bpuharic

            And yet you trust, completely, like a puppy trusts its mom, the myth of the free market

            Santy Claus too, I’ll bet.

            Go ahead. tell us about how, tomorrow, you’ll be rich!!! Really you will!

          • Whether I will get “rich” or not is irrelevant.

            The point is, I have, and will continue to, better my lot through the exercise of my initiative … and by not outsourcing that to people like you,I will reduce my risk of having that work torn down by the decisions of people like you in power, as we are now seeing in Detroit.

            You see, I don’t trust YOU or others like you to have coercive power over me … unless you are FOCUSED upon the legitimate mission of human government: securing my unalienable rights – including the right to exercise personal initiative; i.e. the pursuit of happiness.

            It is YOUR drive to impose YOUR way through an ever-expanding government, that creates the opportunities for the rich and powerful to exploit and even oppress us. Without the ability to leverage the coercive force of law, corporations cannot stop me from exercising my initiative to better my life, and in the process better the lives of those around me.

          • bpuharic

            As I said, no one cares about your little anecdotes. There are 340M Americans who aren’t you, and who you apparently feel disdain for

            Which puts you pretty much in the right wing camp. You’re SUCH a hero!

            To yourself.

            If you think your employer doesn’t have coercive power over you, tell Santa Claus I said hi.

          • He doesn’t … I can leave any time I want for a better position. I’ve done that several times in my 30-year career.

            But neither do I have coercive power over him … he can get rid of me at will, and I have to be prepared for that.

            You, OTOH, want coercive power over him and other employers to impose your vision of society upon them, at their expense.

            That is how you kill off prosperity … why should they bother growing a business, if you’re going to tell them how to run it in great detail, yet they are on the hook for its performance?

          • bpuharic

            Oh sure you can. Except there are 7 people applying for every job in the US. And if he doesn’t blackball you.

            For a company that has 100 employees, each employee is 1%. But the employer is 100% of the employee’s salary. A bit of a difference there the right ignores.

            You simply believe in the myth that stable societies and families and nations can be built by allowing companies to have unrestricted power over society.

            That’s how you kill off families. I’m profamily and pro-America.

            You’re pro rich.

          • Jeff Jones

            > I’m profamily and pro-America.

            Then get your redistributive and regulatory programs out of the way of my family. And stop telling me who can run America. I’m fully capable of making that judgment.

            > You’re [he’s] pro rich.

            Good for him. I assume you have a car and a cellphone. If Steve Jobs had not acted out of self-interest, there would be no Apple as it exists today. Nor would there be Android if Linus Torvalds and Eric Schmidt had not done what was best for themselves.

            …and none of these entrepreneurs ever needed a bailout.

          • bpuharic

            Ditto for you. Quit taking my money to bankroll your Wall Street pals and your agribusiness buddies as they plunder my bank account to add to their billions

            Wall Street raided Main Street with the assistance of the right wing which has screamed we needed to DEREGULATE the banks.

            Thanks. For nothing, Wall Street socialist.

          • Andrew Allison


          • I see your Wall Street, and raise you “green energy” … the million$-per-new-job Porkulus … and the ultimate budget-buster: Obamacare.

            It is Progressive governance, with its assumption that government “experts” know best and therefore should make our decisions FOR US, that opens the door for redistributing that money – as BOTH you and Jeff describe.

            You and your ilk CREATED the very problem you decry … except you don’t see it as a problem when the money is forcibly taken from others and used to bankroll the lame attempts to impose YOUR socio-economic morality.

            You and your ilk seek to jam your morality down our throats with a fundamentalist zeal, that makes the Christians you despise look like libertines.

          • bpuharic

            You’re comparing “green” energy to the right wing war on America that cost millions of jobs and resulted in the biggest recession in 80 years, based on the ‘experts’ who advised deregulation was beloved of god?

            We gave the ‘free market’ everything it wanted…..low taxes, no govt regulation…and what happened? Look around. The first thing they destroyed WAS the free market. THEN they went after the middle class

            Just as Adam Smith predicted they would

            Thanks, right wing.

            And Obamacare? Gee. We already have the world’s most expensive healthcare, thanks to the American right wing.

            YOU took money from the middle class and created TARP. YOU created the agriculture bill that gave BILLIONS to billionaires but starved the poor.

            You gave massive tax cuts to the rich which enabled them to be fabulously wealthy and gutted the middle class

            You’re a socialist for the rich

          • Let me remind you …

            Progressives opened the door to sub-prime lending in the 1990’s.

            Progressives supported “socializing the losses” through Fannie and Freddie,

            Progressives obstructed the attempts to shut that door in the Bush years … and when they had control of Congress, established regulations more in line with their prejudice against the productive than with protective prudence.

            Progressives established and defended the restrictions on domestic energy production that exacerbated the crash.

            Progressives favored their UAW political allies over salaried employees and bondholders in the GM/Chrysler bailouts.

            Progressives told us that unemployment would be back to 2005 levels by now if we passed the Porkulus. It isn’t.

            I could go on … but it is clear: your highly-credentialed Best and Brightest – created the conditions – exacerbated the conditions – and perpetuated the conditions for this malaise.

          • bpuharic

            Let me remind you that the blow up happened under a right wing govt that had total power to rewrite laws as it saw fit

            That only 1 of the 25 largest banks that went bankrupt were subject to the CRA

            That bad loans had little to do with the financial sector collapse.

            That Bush himself pushed for easier loans during the 2003 GOP congressional hearings on the subprime market.

            Unions agreed to differential payscales for new employees that were VASTLY more stringent than old contracts were

            That conservatives such as Alan Greenspan argued the banking industry could protect itself.

            I could go on but I don’ want to continue to embarrass you by citing the history of the right wing destruction of America.

          • Total power? Chris Dodd and Barney Frank gave the lie to that. And the Bush Administration also pushed for prudent regulations on sub-prime lending.

            The CRA opened the door for ALL banks to engage in sub-prime lending … and Fannie and Freddie socialized the losses for a lot more than that one bank. Besides, how many banks beyond that “top 25” were still subject to the CRA?

            The bad loans were the basis for the derivatives that triggered the collapse. Without the bad loans, they would have retained their market value … and there would have been no collapse.

            Unions agreed to differential payscales … but the damage was already done, and they still had the power to gum up the works through restrictive work rules and putting union power over employer viability.

            I could go on, but I don’t want to continue to embarrass you by exposing the broad-brush, cherry-picked, simplistic, parrotic thought processes of the typical Progressive …

            … wanna cracker?

          • bpuharic

            Hold on…lemme check…


            Nope. No president Dodd. No president Frank.

            Sorry dude. 2 members of congress dont amount to a hill of beans compared to the

            President of the United States.

            The CRA was not a factor in the financial sector blow up. Read those words again because that’s a fact

            Credit default swaps expanded by

            twenty THOUSAND percent 1997-2007. Wall Street greed

            Had Wall Street NOT invented these vaporous financial instruments, the subprime mortgage failures would have been a blip.

            Wall Street greed.

            I have the facts…I have the numbers

            You have Rush (PBUH). Go ahead. You keep carrying the water for your Wall Street masters.

          • All it takes is a few legislators to OBSTRUCT … and a President can do nothing to keep them from doing so.

            And had not Progressives opened the door with coercive force to sub-prime lending in the name of CRA “social justice”, there would have been no incentive to create those unsound instruments to fund sub-prime loans.

            You only have numbers, distorted by your secular-fundamentalist ideology … I have the WHY behind those numbers.

          • bpuharic

            And that’s true in the Senate. Not true in the House which operates under different rules.

            And there was no coercive pressure via the CRA no matter what Rush (PBUH) says. Most banks were not subject to it.

            You keep blaming the govt for robbing the banks when it was bank robbers robbing banks.

            And what is a ‘secular-fundamentalist’ ideology? English not your native tongue?

          • The ideology that believes that a select few are so omniscient they have the right to jam their morality down our throats, while also denying the existence of any Higher Power beyond themselves.

          • Why does your god get exclusive access to government? It takes more BLIND faith to believe in the omniscience of yours, than it does in mine.

          • bpuharic

            No one’s mentioned god at all. Least of all the US constitution.

          • You don’t have to mention your god by name, to believe in one. And Progressives see their god, every time they look in the mirror.

          • Except that the Constitution does not support your Progressive theocracy of an elite dictating the lives of millions, under the assumption that the elite is sufficiently omniscient to do so.

            I know what god you worship.

          • bpuharic

            Nor does it recognize the Wall Street master who can do no wrong and whose appetite for greed must be satiated, no matter what the cost to America.

          • It is your Progressive ideology … that government should “help” in ways beyond securing our unalienable rights, the enumerated powers, checks, and balances of the Constitution be damned … that opens the door to such abuses by Wall Street and others.

          • bpuharic

            This is called special pleading, AKA the ‘no true Scotsman’ fallacy

            The banking industry forced the govt to deregulate it over the objections of liberals like Brooksley Born.

            So when you DEREGULATE an industry, that’s progressive. When you REGULATE it, that’s progressive.

            Golly. You can’t fail.

          • Does the banking industry have the coercive force of law at its disposal?

            Phuleeze … government wasn’t forced to deregulate … it took the suggestion and ran with it.

            Some of it because it DOES made sense to get rid of regulations that are more of a burden on the honest than they are a roadblock to the dishonest … and yes, some of it because it supported the political agendas, of BOTH sides, ignoring the necessity AND the effectiveness of such regulation.

            Your problem is that you seem to believe that EVERY regulation involving how we manage/grow our finances is necessary, effective, and legitimate … and that all who oppose it are greedy SOBs.

            That is simply not the case … some of us see better uses for that money – uses that benefit both us and the society we live in -than to spend billions to prove our innocence of regulatory violations that the cheaters can find their way around to keep on cheating … often by colluding with one or more of our elected officials to do so.

          • bpuharic

            No matter what the financial sector does you can’t bear to blame their greed, as Greenspan did. THey are completely blameless and it’s the fault of the middle class

            You really have drunk a swimming pool full of Kool Aid, haven’t you?

            My argument is we need to break up the big banks, period. The right fights this because they think it’s over regulation

            But they are socialists for the rich since a true free market would not have banks that are too big to fail

            It’s the progressives who are capitalists. It’s the right wing that is socialist.

          • No matter what we do to ourselves, you must blame the rich for EVERYTHING.

            Blame yourself, for encouraging so many to subordinate their common sense to the bleatings of “experts” who told them they could buy that expensive home, or stay in that job and not increase their productivity.

            THAT is the Progressive way.

          • bpuharic

            If your house catches fire you look for the man with the blowtorch. When the economy melts down you look for the people with money.

            If the middle class didn’t buy stuff there wouldn’t BE an economy so it’s NECESSARY for us to buy stuff.

            What’s NOT needed is for the rich to suck every single dollar they possibly can, to invent new financial instruments that are opaque, to deregulate trading in these, etc, so they can have every dollar in the universe

            You can’t conceive of a single thing the wealthy have done to destroy this economy. You’re a fundamentalist. You’re part of the problem.

          • While there is a legitimate case against fraud protection, Progressives try to use the regulatory power to go beyond interdicting fraud, and favor/promote specific outcomes …

            … like, say, expanded home ownership, or more green energy, or particularly expanded access to health care …

            … that frankly they lack the insight to pull off effectively or efficiently, because they are anything but one-size-fits-all and therefore not capable of being successfully managed by bureaucrats who CAN’T tell YOU apart from a statistical average, let alone “discriminate” and adjust their efforts to properly meet YOUR needs … while also opening open the doors to the very crony capitalism that let Wall Street get out of control.

            That is why I assert that Progressives believe they are omniscient, for they persist in this activity.

            Y’all make it sound SO good and “fair” and “compassionate”, though … and that’s why even Republicans who should know better go along with it.

          • bpuharic

            Hey how’d that deregulation thing work out in 2007?

            OTC derivatives in 2007 were valued at almost 700 TRILLION dollars. 10X the value of the entire world’s GDP. The right deregulated the derivatives market

            Thanks guys!

          • Hey, Bush tried to pull some of it back in, in 2003. Chris Dodd and company obstructed that, with Barney Frank providing PR cover.

            And all your Progressive friends have done is keep the big banks together, while making it harder for smaller banks to compete with them through piling on the regulations, because it is YOUR FRIENDS who want to have the controls.

            Not a good position to be in, when they decide to turn on you. You place too much trust in highly-credentialed people.

          • bpuharic

            Oh look, you’re wrong:


            Bush did everything he could both to spur the banks to lend, and to deregulate banking. That’s YOUR philosophy in action; the idea that the rich can NEVER, by definition, be wrong; that it’s ALWAYS the middle class that’s at fault.

            It’s progressives who’ve argued to break up the banks. Its the right that calls this ‘govt regulation’. You guys own this.

          • And I know you love to make political hay about this, but we middle-class types have to accept the responsibility for listening to the “experts”, forsaking common sense, and biting off more home than we can chew. I know I did – painfully so – when I took that check to closing back in 2005, when I sold my house.

            It is just one example of how the Progressive-promoted view of a “working class” that is absolved of responsibility for protecting their own, individual financial condition and worth in the marketplace, and for securing their future, has actually led millions to make themselves more vulnerable to life’s shocks … because they place their trust in the “experts” of academia, business, unions, and especially government … to the point of NOT planning and acting to assure that there are RELIABLE work-arounds in place for when the “fit hits the shan” …

            … only to find out too late that the “experts” they were TOLD to trust instead fall short of meeting their INDIVIDUAL needs.

            (Of course, it’s harder to develop those work-arounds when the Powers That Be take more and more from you in taxes to “help” you.)

          • bpuharic

            The right wing LOVES to blame the middle class

            Wall Street invented financial instruments that it itself could not evaluate

            But this is the fault of the middle class, you see, otherwise it would be Wall Streets fault and the right never, never, never admits Wall Street could make a mistake. Those folks are rich and the rich are always right.

            The right is filled with socialists.Socialists who defend the right of the rich to structure govt and middle class rights to benefit only the rich. The right of the rich to privatize rewards.The right of the rich to socialize risk. THe right of the rich to do this over and over again.

          • I have no problem admitting Wall Street made a mistake. Your problem is you refuse to admit that MANY OTHERS made mistakes as well, and YOUR Progressive ideology encouraged and enabled them to make those mistakes.

            Call me names … but that is the reality.

          • bpuharic

            Wrong, my socialist for the rich friend.

            Know who made a mistake?

            I did. I once supported more deregulation of the banks. I remember the CFMA. I supported it because I’d read Friedman, and because the EVIDENCE seemed to indicate it worked

            I was WRONG. Your socialism for the rich is NOT based on evidence but is based on a fundamentalist, fringe view of the way markets work

            Me? I was wrong. We need MORE REGULATION

            But the right has a fundamentalist view of markets that are immune to evidence.

          • Our founding citizens most profound words regarding government were these (emphasis added):

            That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

            Not just any powers – JUST powers; powers in line with the legitimate mission of any human government: TO SECURE THESE RIGHTS.

            When government goes beyond that legitimate mission, to impose what its operators believe is the One and Only True Way Things Should Be, they are looking for trouble … for they will inevitably trample upon those unalienable rights of at least some in their quest … and often, leave them worse off and more vulnerable than before (see Detroit).

            BTW, the reasons other nations adopt Progressive policies, is because their people are willing to live with having their rights, and their futures, totally vulnerable to the error/mendacity/greed of those few fellow human beings that get put in charge over them.

            I, and millions like me, are not content to live like that … for we have seen that the power to exercise one’s personal initiative in the pursuit of happiness is the “secret sauce” that not only made America prosperous and peaceful at a personal level … it gave us the strength and resilience to come to the aid of those other nations when the tyrannies that oppressed and/or threatened them reared their ugly heads.

            (Notice that nothing in this reply is a quote from Rush Limbaugh or any other conservative notable. These are my thoughts.)

          • bpuharic

            A right wing delusional fantasy. What are ‘just powers’? What are our rights? The American right wing thinks there are 2 and ONLY 2 rights

            1. the right to make money (Have property)

            2. the right to have guns

            and that’s it.

            The US does not exist in a vacuum and our theory of govt is derived from a long history of European failures and successes. We didn’t invent the rights we have. We looked at other countries and decided what rights all free men should have, based on what Edmund Burke said was the common patrimony of England.

          • Just powers are those that further government’s legitimate mission … securing our unalienable rights, the primary ones being life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

            Those rights are beyond the reach of even a majority vote … they are only within the reach of the due process of law, when they are abused.

            All other “rights” are subject to debate … particularly those that require others to submit their hands and wallets to others deemed more worthy by the Powers That Be.

            Progressives OTOH believe in the right to RUN MY LIFE, as if they are omniscient and infallible. That does not further liberty, nor is it guaranteed that it will further the pursuit of happiness for at least some of us.

            And BTW … those rights weren’t invented, according to our founding citizens. They were “endowed by their Creator”.

          • bpuharic

            Happiness? I’m happy when I’m healthy. I’m healthy when I have health insurance even when my company goes bankrupt.

            Thanks. You just provided the rationale for govt health insurance

            And you socialists for the rich believe the middle clas should bail out the rich, should have no voice in determining if their livelihoods are protected from right wing Wall Street greed, who think the supposed free market is infallible even though its existence is right up there with Santa Claus.

            And there is no god, so keep dreaming about the non existent free market and the non existent god.

          • Thank you for again giving me the opportunity for illustrating some FUNDAMENTAL flaws in Progressive socio-economic policy.

            Companies have “unrestricted” power over employee ONLY IF THE EMPLOYEE ALLOWS IT!

            All it takes is a little prudence in career and financial planning (as in acquiring a valuable skill set, keeping it current and expanding it, and maintaining a “rainy day” fund to cushion the blow of being terminated), and the willingness to take the risk to “fire your management” and find new management, and the employee takes back for themselves a LOT, if not ALL, of that “unrestricted” power you fear in your profit-phobic paranoia.

            It is the Progressive fallacy of a “working class” that is supposedly absolved of the responsibility to do the above to protect themselves – and the “promise” of a government-managed safety net to catch them when they fail – that encourages people to remain under an abusive corporate thumb.

            Employees today have been led to believe that they don’t have to think like a businessman and manage their own worth in the marketplace … which would give them the power to accumulate and leverage the opportunities that “trickle down” their way to better their situation, while mitigating the trend towards “wealth inequality” … but instead could work the same job at the same company in the same place for a lifetime while government and union leadership would make sure they got raise after raise … as they continued to swill their $tarbuck$ and chase after the latest iThingy, with no thought for expanding their skill set and/or building that “rainy day” fund …

            … or actually treating their services as valuable assets in a free labor market – services so valuable that employers will COMPETE to retain those services, instead of treating them as a commodity.

            You and your ilk CREATED this self-fulfilling prophecy …. by LYING to people about their responsibilities … and in the process, turning the labor market from a free market to one that FAVORS corporate power at the expense of the employee.

            You hang your hat on unions? All you are having employees do is trade one corporate boss for another … one that does not necessarily have their best interests at heart … one that can actually get in the way of employees engaging their brains to make their jobs more secure through increased productivity, because that might mean fewer dues-paying union members and/or less leverage at contract-negotiation time. See the industry that made Detroit it a household name for an example.

            Meet the new boss … same as the old boss.

            (BTW, a government-protected union shop turns that 1% risk fraction you cite, into 100% of the risk for the employer – while keeping the rank-and-file highly vulnerable to the errors, mendacity and greed of their “new boss”.)

            When we were moving from the farm to the factory, the idea of a protected “working class” had relevance … just like training wheels have relevance on the bicycle of a new rider.

            But today, those “training wheels” are rusted and provide a false sense of security – and/or are making it harder for individuals to set a course to prosperity. Individuals today, with a little personal initiative, can skip those “training wheels” thanks to better education and heightened awareness about what it takes to survive in the labor marketplace.

            It is the Progressive-driven outsourcing of personal responsibility and personal initiative, that is THE fundamental problem we face in this nation. Everything else is just a symptom.

            You say I blame the middle class? I blame us only to the degree we have listened to people like you.

          • bpuharic

            So the choice is corporate power or homelessness

            Think middle class people have never lost their homes and their healthcare when their company fired them?

            And what is ‘prudence’ when the middle class is expected to

            pay for its own retirement

            buy houses

            prop up the economy

            pay for college

            pay for its own medical costs

            bankroll the rich through TARP, the agriculture bill and other right wing socialist policies for the rich

            and live with no pay increase for 3 decades?

            Go ahead. Tell me how all this middle class money is available.

          • Your choice is false … the choice is to either live in vulnerability to the errors, mendacity and greed of others, or take charge of your own life.

            That is prudence. Imprudence is believing that others will secure those pay increases and other items on your laundry list FOR you.

            You encourage imprudence … you believe that the vast majority of Americans are little children in need of Progressive “protection”. And you create/perpetuate/exacerbate the very problems you decry by doing so.

            As for your “bankrolling the rich” … return the government to its legitimate mission of securing our unalienable rights instead of being a channel for “expert” intervention to “make things better”, and that problem goes away.

            But that also takes away the power to jam your socio-economic morality down others’ throats, like the good little secular fundamentalist you are, parrot …

            … wanna cracker?

          • bpuharic

            MILLIONS are unemployed…have lost their homes…their health insurance…as a result of what Alan Greenspan called “Wall Street greed”

            So tell how that was their choice, right winger

            You keep carrying the water for Wall Street’s failures. I’m sure they appreciate your disdain for hard working America.

            Bankrolling the rich? YOU did that. YOUR economic policies deregulated the banks and the right CONTINUES TO ARGUE that was correct.

            Keep up the good work.

          • It was their choice to remain vulnerable to such shocks … especially those who leveraged unsound financial practices to get in a home they couldn’t afford.

            I consider myself among them … I bought a home in Dallas in 2001 through a “zero-down” deal, then re-financed it, only to have to take a big check to closing when I sold it in 2005 before I moved to Long Island. Fortunately, I did have the money to support that check, but it put a big dent in my retirement planning … however, my current position has allowed me to rebuild my retirement and more.

            You see, I do live out what I preach, even when it comes to paying for my mistakes.

            Progressives like you encouraged the vulnerability of others, by perpetuating the lie of a “working class” absolved of the responsibility to secure their future themselves.

            You helped create this misery. Own that.

          • bpuharic

            So you say

            Wall street throws MILLIONS out of work…

            Blame the middle class

            hey go for it. I strongly advise you that that be the message in 2016. It’s all the fault of the middle class

            Wall Street would NEVER hurt America just to make money

          • bpuharic

            Wow. Tin foil brigade’s working overtime

            I have the proof that Wall Street wrecked America. It’s contained in the

            20,000% increase in credit default swaps between 1997 and 2007.

            I can cite numbers, a timeline, history and evidence

            You? You cite Rush (PBUH).

            To the right, that’s real evidence!!!!!!!!!!

          • Swaps backed by sub-prime lending, socialized by Fannie and Freddie.

            You can cite appearances … I can cite the WHY behind them.

            That is why you will not prevail.

          • bpuharic


            Neither GSE traded in credit default swaps. And they didn’t start getting into the game underwriting subprime mortgages until authorized by the GOP congress and president in 2004.

          • They were BUYING subprime mortgages as early as the 1990’s, as well as easing credit requirements and contributing to the overall problem.


            And where was the Democrat opposition in 2004 … is that the sound of crickets chirping? Wasn’t it around this time that Barney Frank and Chris Dodd were reassuring us about the housing/finance status quo?

          • Jeff Jones

            It’s hopeless, Rich. bphuaric insists that he represents the majority in the US, despite his repeatedly getting dog piled by the majority of posters on this centrist blog.

            But, all of us must be the far right, including Walter Russell Mead who bends over backwards to present both sides, because we seem to disagree with most of what bphuaric says.

          • bpuharic

            This is hardly a centrist blog. As WRM would point out, it’s filled with the Jacksonian right

            And in case you forgot…your side lost the last 2 presidential elections

            You were saying about the majority…

          • Jeff Jones

            > You were saying about the majority…

            Obama won in 2012 by 3 million votes. That coupled with the revelations about how conservative fundraisers were treated at the IRS. AND, he supposedly received 100% of the vote in certain districts?

            I’m skeptical. 100% only happened with Saddam Hussein. Even Hitler only claimed 85%.

          • bpuharic

            So you’re saying Obama won?

            Thanks. I already knew that

            And your reference to hitler merely confirms you’re a deranged fanatic.

          • Jeff Jones

            > And your reference to hitler merely confirms you’re a deranged fanatic.

            You called Hitler my “buddy” on an earlier post. Hypocrite.

          • I use those like bpuharic as opportunities to set the record straight about the fallacy of Progressive governance … besides, I don’t want to leave his droppings unmarked, for others to step in.

          • Jeff Jones

            > There are 340M Americans who aren’t you, and who you apparently feel disdain for

            I am not sensing any disdain from Rich.

            You, on the other hand…

          • bpuharic

            Really? This is worse than I thought…he’s never heard of

            Mitt Romney.

          • Jeff Jones

            I was talking about Rich (Ritchie the Riveter), not THE rich. Read my reference to your own post.

          • Jeff Jones

            > Liberals argue evidence.


            If your Keynesian solutions are so successful, how come lengthy depressions have followed both major examples? How come Japan is still having trouble after 20 years of stimulus?

            And, how come the hands-off approach during the recession of 1921 (11.7% unemployment) led to its end by 1923?


            “If the Keynesians are right about the Great Depression, then the
            depression of 1920–1921 should have been far worse. The same holds for
            the monetarists; things should have been awful in the 1920s if their
            theory of the 1930s is correct.”

            …waiting patiently for the inevitable crack about my intelligence, or accusation of listening to Rush “PBUH,” or vague reference to how “the right” handles debating, or any of your other standbys.

          • bpuharic

            Uh..Jeff…ever read what Keynesianism is?

            You pay down debt during good times. You incur debt in bad.

            Bush spent like a drunken 18 year old with mom’s credit card. He plundered our economy and borrowed like crazy to finance a worthless war. He gave tax cuts to the rich which ballooned the debt. And now…NOW…conservatives want to get all debt crazy.

            Obama spent 850 billion in 2009 to boost the economy which, most economists admit, pulled the economy out of the slump where it had contracted 9% in 4Q of 2009

            Japan is facing an aging population, but a re-look at its economy in recent studies has shown it’s not been as bad as previously thought

            And state and local govts spent 2.3X what the federal govt spent in 1921. So any cuts in the federal budget were marginal compared to local govt spending…exactly what Keynesianism predicted

            But the right wing has been predicting hyperinflation for the last 5 years

            Where is it?

          • Jeff Jones

            > Uh..Jeff…ever read what Keynesianism is?

            Yes, I have.

            > You pay down debt during good times. You incur debt in bad.

            > Obama spent 850 billion in 2009 to boost the economy which, most
            economists admit, pulled the economy out of the slump where it had
            contracted 9% in 4Q of 2009

            So, let me get this straight. 1) Obama pulled the economy out of the slump. 2) We pay down debt during good times.

            Hmmm. Where is the paying down part if he pulled us out of the slump?

            I think you know the answer.

          • bpuharic

            Let me know when we’re in the good times.

            Oh…I forgot. To the right wing ‘good times’ means the rich are doing well, and the middle class?

            who cares?

          • Jeff Jones

            > Let me know when we’re in the good times.

            So then Obama didn’t pull the economy out of the slump? Just trying to follow your narrative.

          • bpuharic

            To the right wing, growth at 1% is the same as a slump…as long as they can escape blame.

          • Jeff Jones

            > And state and local govts spent 2.3X what the federal govt spent in
            1921. So any cuts in the federal budget were marginal compared to local
            govt spending

            Fine, let that happen again. Keep the federal government out of it.

          • bpuharic

            Spoken with the same faithful fanaticism as any 13th century inquistor.

          • Bush spent on two things … the wars, which were necessary and in line with government’s legitimate mission … and socio-economic intervention; the very thing Progressives love.

            In many cases, he was taking a page right out of “your” playbook.

          • bpuharic

            Prove to me that Iraq was necessary

            If you can’t, you’re wrong

            And you can’t.

            In fact it was SO wrong he fired Rumsfeld over it.

          • Rumsfeld was fired as a scapegoat … the real failure was listening to people like you and looking for the exits within a month after the invasion started, instead of engaging in clear/hold/build from the get-go.

            And it was necessary, if one is interested in sustainable peace. “Containing” Saddam made about as much sense as containing a rattlesnake under your bed in a shoebox.

          • bpuharic

            This is called ‘special pleading’. Bush failed, as did his SecDef and the election showed it

            So it must be our fault…PRETTY PLEASE, OH PLEASE, OH PLEASE!!!!

            The war was going on and on, as was the body count. The right wing assumption that we’d be welcomed as liberators was shown to be false by the presence of Islamist fanatics

            It was your fault. So no matter how long you hold your breath and stomp your feet, it was still your fault.

          • Funny, the Kurds welcomed us as liberators … as did the people of al-Anbar, once they saw they weren’t working with Progressives who would cut-and-run the instant somebody uttered the word “imperialist”.

            And let’s not forget how the Democrats who voted FOR the war, turned against it once they found that the fortunes of war can be used as a convenient political club.

            Support was bipartisan … and it was failing when we were fighting it in accordance with the Progressive viewpoint of “minimizing the footprint”.

            When we forsook that thinking, and started fighting to win … win over the people to protecting their life and liberty, and actually worked to decisively defeat the terrorists in their midst … the failure stopped.

            Again, another simplistic, broad-brush painting from you, using your tail feathers …

            … wanna cracker?

          • bpuharic

            Gee. Too bad the entire population of Iraq wasn’t Kurdish.

            And tell me again why liberating the Kurds was worth 4400 US dead?

            And the reason dems voted FOR the war was Bush lied.

            Number of operational WMDS’ found?


            And there were no terrorists in Iraq under Hussein. He killed them. They became common after we invaded…that’s WHY we had 4400 dead

            So tell me, right winger…why did we populate our cemeteries with dead 20 year olds so Iraq could become a satrapy of Iran

            Go ahead. Take all the space you need.

          • Ever read the Duelfer Report? It tells how Saddam was ready to get back in the WMD business, as soon as the heat was off and/or he had bribed enough UN officials through Crude-For-Food.

            If he killed the terrorists … how did the famous AQ “prince” Zarqawi get medical treatment in Iraq BEFORE the war?

            Phuleeze … you need to get better talking points, parrot.

            Iran has influence over Iraq, because the Progressive government of Obama refuses to stand up and support Iraq.

            And without freedom, and its protection by those who govern, the only sure peace is that of the grave … any other “peace” is just an illusion.

            That is why we went … that is why those soldiers put their lives on the line, many even re-enlisting in-theater. They understood what I just said.

            You do not … and that lack of understanding is how you get “war without end”.

          • bpuharic

            Great. Then we should have waited. Because Bush lied.

            And 4400 died.

            Zarqawi? Well let’s look at the evidence. From Wikipedia:


            A CIA report in late 2004 concluded that there was no evidence Saddam’s government was involved or even aware of this medical treatment, and found no conclusive evidence the regime had harbored Zarqawi. A US official told Reutersthat the report was a mix of new information and a look at some older information and did not make any final judgments or come to any definitive conclusions. “To suggest the case is closed on this would not be correct,” the official said.”[76] A US official familiar with the report told Knight-Ridder that “what is indisputable is that Zarqawi was operating out of Baghdad and was involved in a lot of bad activities.” Another U.S. official summarized the report as such: “The evidence is that Saddam never gave Zarqawi anything.”[77]

            Got any BETTER lies?

          • Zarqawi was free to move about in the Land of The Ultimate Control Freaks?

            Tell me another fairy tale, parrot …

            … wanna cracker?

          • bpuharic

            Hey go argue with the CIA. Buy ’em a birdcage for all I care.

          • Andrew Allison


      • Andrew Allison

        Are you capable of making an on topic, comment rather than spouting ideological nonsense?

        • bpuharic

          Seems like ‘not staying on topic’ means ‘blowing a big hole in my argument’.

          I can understand your pain. I feel for you. Truly.

          • Andrew Allison

            The simple fact is that your ideological blinders prevent you from following a simple line of reasoning. Your response to comments are invariably off-topic and ridiculous on their face. Your out-of-control knee produces the same tired arguments in response to any commentary. I suggest that you go back to Reader’s Digest, of which you are obviously a student.

          • Jeff Jones

            But bpuharic is here posting on this radical right-wing blog, and he’s representing the overwhelming majority of Americans.

            I know because he told me so.

          • bpuharic

            How’s president Romney doing?


      • The free market system was never advertised or sold as a never ending stream of bigger profit years except by its enemies looking to build a straw man to defeat. Stupidity and bad decisions happen in all systems. In capitalism they accumulate until you have a recession to correct for them. In the blue state model, you get Detroit.

  • Bruce

    I’ve not been able to understand why clear thinking people spend as much time as they do dissecting Krugman’s rants. That said, this post was very potent and doesn’t leave to much to comment on. It diagnoses the problem very well and calls to account those who need to be exposed. Nicely done WRM.

  • Corlyss
  • catorenasci

    Detroit shows that Mencken was right about “democracy” – the people of Detroit got what they thought they wanted good and hard.

    It is impossible not to have sympathy for the individuals who will be harmed, but it is impossible to have sympathy for Detroit taken as a whole. The “system” worked to put those in power the inhabitants collectively wanted, and delivered what we have today.

    Anybody with any sense left Detroit years ago.

  • Mel Kreitzer

    I often wonder whether Krugman, and others like him, would seriously disagree with anything that WRM says here in a private moment over a couple of beers. But the NY Times Party line is his gig and he has readers who only want to read predictable progressive pieties. That’s why we get years of the Duke rape story and Valerie Plame. Fodder for the loonies.

  • drkennethnoisewater

    The tide went out years ago for Detroit, and there’s lots of nasty stuff collected up over the decades..

  • teapartydoc

    Lefties like Krugman like to say that the Blue states are carrying the load for less productive and prosperous Red states, but when huge exceptions to their funny little rule get pointed out, they go strangely silent. Explaining away the fortunes of states and cities in the thrall of the left is going to get more common and more difficult. Saying that these things “just happen”, will be more common, too. Where is Krugman’s analogy of Detroit comparing it to Enron? He apparently doesn’t see the similarity. The comparison Mead makes with the political culture of Zimbabwe is spot-on.

  • Kfredrick72

    I have lived here in the Detroit Metro area all my life. When I was a kid I remember watching the 67 riots on TV and I couldn’t understand why people would ruin their own neighborhoods.

    I always knew I would live as far from Detroit as I could when I grew up while staying in the general area. I wasn’t the only one. Sometimes I wish I would have just left Michigan completely. It is very beautiful here though, despite Detroit.

    The riots were the beginning of the end but corrupt politicians and their union buddies finished the job. Since right to work has passed, we have seen an increase in manufacturing jobs, just not in the city of Detroit.

    • bpuharic

      SSHHH…don’t tell him other cities have BLACK people and riots too!

      And don’t tell him that right to work is a license for a race to the bottom. Another example of class warfare.

      • Jeff Jones

        To Kfredrick72:

        SHHH. Don’t tell bphuaric that the quickest way to get tuned out is to mine someone’s post for something ANYTHING that can be construed as racism.

        > And don’t tell him that right to work is a license for a race to the bottom.

        You’ve already told us. I am sure we’ll all take it to heart. I mean…after all…it’s not open for debate if you said it.

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