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Friday, May 09, 2003

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In my April 25, 2003 National Review Online "Krugman Truth Squad" column I wrote, 

" some point not too far in the future, Krugman will make the same $40,000-to-$500,000 error (i.e., lie) again in the pages of America's 'newspaper of record.' Bet on it. I'll lay you 100-to-1."

One of my NRO colleagues took me up on the bet. Well, looks like I goaded Paul Krugman hard enough to get him to repeat the lie, and it only took about two weeks. There it is in today's New York Times column. Pay up. Send money. Thanks, Paul.

Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 12:32 AM | link  

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We now have Paul Krugman's ninth response to my exposť of the lies about President Bush's tax cuts  in his April 22 New York Times column (his previous eight feeble apologiae are spread over six postings on his personal site: one, two, three, four, five and six (and, of course, still no correction from the "newspaper of record").

Click here to buy from!This one consists of a single word, "Here" -- linking to a transcript of the famous "Black Knight" scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Krugman fails to reveal the identity of the cast in this two-man scene. Discerning readers will draw their own conclusions based on the facts and, perhaps, their biases.

Blog readers will, in addition, no doubt recognize this cinematic allusion as one that was used over and over several weeks ago during the Iraq invasion, to poke fun at Mohammed Said Sahaf. Here's Andrew Sullivan's version. Apparently for Krugman, Sullivan is "too vile to read," but not too vile too to steal material from.

Click here to order from!And while we're on the subject, I take some personal satisfaction in the fact that Krugman has slipped to the number two most partisan pundit of 2003 in the ratings on Lying in Ponds (that unusual name is drawn from a line in Holy Grail). Maybe our work here and on National Review Online really is reining Krugman in a bit. So perhaps a better cinematic allusion would actually be Get Shorty. Looks like we got him good.

Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 12:02 AM | link  

Thursday, May 08, 2003

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Reader Greg Richards nails it. We'd been circling the target, but here's the direct hit on Paul Krugman's careless lie that "Dwight Eisenhower was a victorious general and John Kennedy a genuine war hero, but while in office neither wore anything that resembled military garb..." Here's JFK -- Krugman's beloved "Bonnie Prince Charlie" (who was a big tax-cutter, by the way) -- on deck...

"President John F. Kennedy watched a POLARIS (A-2) missile launch from the USS Observation Island on November 16, 1963. The launch, from the USS Andrew Jackson (SSBN 619) occurred just six days before the president's tragic assassination. SP Director, Admiral 'Pete' Gallantin can be seen over the President's left shoulder, while over his right shoulder is one of the IEC-built telemetry instrumentation vans."

>>Update... Direct hit again! My old friend Sylvain Galineau, who blogs at ChicagoBoyz, sent in this portrait of Dwight D. Eisenhower in military garb that's hanging in the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery. Sylvain writes, "This conflicts rather loudly with Paul Krugman's assertion that such clothing is inappropriate for a US President. One would thing the National Portrait Gallery would be rather strict and respectful of such matters."

Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 11:20 PM | link  

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Readers responded in droves to my request for instances of US presidents who had worn military garb in office -- contradicting Paul Krugman's sweeping claim that

"...American presidents traditionally make a point of avoiding military affectations. Dwight Eisenhower was a victorious general and John Kennedy a genuine war hero, but while in office neither wore anything that resembled military garb... There was a time when patriotic Americans from both parties would have denounced any president who tried to take political advantage of his role as commander in chief."

Here are some of my favorites, among dozens that were sent in. Henry Hanks from Crooow Blog came up with this one of Ulysses S. Grant. According to the dealer selling this print, "This image, issued during Grant's first Presidential term, shows the President (in a military uniform), presumably sitting in the White House surrounded by his family."

Kevin Madden sent this one of Bill Clinton being militarily garbed by the little woman.

And Billy Wilson found this one, depicting the father/daughter military garb dress-alike look that was so fashionable that year.

There were lots of great comments from readers, too.

"One thing that struck me about the photo on your site of Clinton in military garb. Not Clinton himself but the looks of utter indifference on the faces of the crew. Only Clinton is smiling. Contrast that with the pictures of President Bush and the crew of the Lincoln."

Tom Borchelt

"In the photo on your site, note the flag patch on the sleeve of Clinton's jacket; the blue field (the union) is facing to the rear. The flag is meant always to be worn with the union facing forward so that it looks as it would if the flag were blowing in the wind created by a forward movement. When the flag is worn on the right sleeve, the patch used is a reversed flag with the union on the right. With the standard flag, as in that picture, it looks like the wearer is retreating. I'd love to know where Clinton got that jacket. Could it possibly have been deliberate?"

Eve Tauss

"We have many things to remember Mr. Clinton by, but I must tell you this. My son was, and is, a Navy SEAL stationed at Coronado, California. On several occasions Mr. Clinton, while visiting San Diego, recruited SEALs to escort him on a run down the beach at Coronado. He wore a SEAL Team One ballcap during these runs. My son said that the SEAL command had difficulty finding volunteers to escort Mr. Clinton. SEALs are generally very conservative and were not big fans of Mr. Clinton. The photo ops made the newspapers (USA Today, Toledo Blade, et al.). I don't imagine these were political in nature, were they? At least Mr. Bush was a fighter pilot and knew what to do at the controls."

Timothy R. King

"Whether or not Bush should have worn a flight suit for his landing on the Lincoln, I don't see what else he could have worn. The S-3 is an ejection-seat aircraft. To ride in any of the four seats, you need to be in a fitted ejection harness that connects aircrew to the seat and survival gear. The flight suit is nominally required to make all that stuff work together. Besides, before the ban on public relations "goodwill rides," plenty of civilians decked themselves out in full flight gear for rides on Navy jets. Naval Air Station Pensacola's water survival schools have lots of celeb pictures. Barbara Mandrell, Joan Lunden, and Charlie Gibson were featured on the wall of fame when I went through. Dems are just mad that they didn't think of it first.

"My only complaint: he should have arrived in an two-seat F-18. Muuuuuuuuuuch cooler."

Joe Begley

"When I was a cadet at West Point in the late 1970s, President James Earl "Jimmy" Carter went jogging with the US Army troops along the Korean DMZ. I remember a picture in the "newspaper of record," which came to every cadet room, and followed us to our nearby training site at Camp Buckner. Of course, we had no choice of papers, and had the subscription fee deducted from our pay. President Carter may have been wearing an Army physical training shirt (military garb).

"President William Jefferson "Slick Willie" Clinton and much of his posse stayed onboard US Navy vessels during the 50th anniversary of D-Day in 1994. The Navy reported bathrobes (military garb) and towels missing (military garb accessories).

"FDR used to whistle up Navy vessels just to go fishing. It allowed him to appear vigorous, despite his confinement to a wheelchair. US Presidents taking political advantage of their role as commander-in-chief prior to this President? Never."


"I would like to point out that two democrats, Henry Waxman and Robert Byrd, are suddenly so concerned about the cost of this appearance that they felt compelled to make public statements. No concerns were ever issued when other presidents (including Bill Clinton) spoke from aircraft carriers or battleships. There were even no complaints when it was announced that he would be landing in a Viking instead of a helicopter. For a list of presidential appearances on naval vessels, may I direct you to the excellent DoD site of Naval History.

"I think the entire hysteria from the democrats is because they didn't anticipate the FLIGHT SUIT! Speaking as a woman, that was a fine looking Commander-in-Chief. Even the medical assistant I visited the next day said that he looked pretty good for an old guy. At any rate, having reviewed the articles and comments in the time between
when the speech was announced and AFTER the landing and speech, I am forced to conclude that this entire brouhaha (including Krugman's rant) is a desperate attempt to negate the flight suit, nothing more!"

Christa Cooper

"I note one major difference in the Clinton versus Bush Picture in military garb. Clinton needed his secret service detail close by to protect him from the military. They are nowhere to be seen in the Bush pictures. Tells you something!"

Charlie Miller

"I was watching 'Special Report with Brit Hume' on Fox News last night, where U.S. News and World Report's Michael Barone was a guest, and thought you might be interested in one of his quotes. While discussing the topic of President Bush's flight on to the Abraham Lincoln, he brought up the fact that you can 'find pictures of Bill Clinton in similar garb on the internet by doing a five minute Google search.' I wonder where he got that idea from?"

Sean Boots

Our National Review colleague Rick Brookhiser notes on NRO's The Corner that Presidents Washington and Madison appeared in military garb. And Pejman Yousefzadeh on his blog Pejmanesque has exhumed some devastating relics from down the memory hole showing how other (Democrat) politicians have spent public funds on military settings, garb, and other misadventures.

Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 12:35 PM | link  

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

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Paul Krugman must really be deep in our trap -- he keeps on gnawing his legs off, one at a time, yet he's still stuck. He has now posted on his personal web site his seventh response to my exposť of the lies about President Bush's tax cuts  in his April 22 New York Times column (his previous six increasingly desperate-sounding responses are spread over four postings: one, two, three and four).

In this latest response, he calls me the "stalker-in-chief" and then spends hundreds of words debating a point that I have barely mentioned -- the concept of the macroeconomic policy dilemma known in the literature as the "liquidity trap." He claims,

" stalker-in-chief thinks that the liquidity trap is 'elephant shit'. is bizarre that someone who claims to have insight into economics has apparently never heard of a liquidity trap. It's even more bizarre that someone who spends a lot of time attacking yours truly doesn't know that this is one of my signature academic issues."

Krugman doesn't link to any of my web postings on this (here's the most relevant one), so his readers don't have the opportunity to see what I really said. What I really said was that Krugman's responses to my challenge to him have all been to kick up a lot of highfaluting jargonized academic theory to offer an after-the-fact and entirely conjectural explanation of a claim that was initially presented in his column as nothing more than common-sense open-and-shut arithmetic -- that Bush's tax cuts spent $500,000 each to create 1.4 million $40,000 jobs.

Yes, what he wrote in the New York Times about the cost of the jobs was bull shit. And his subsequent attempts to backfill his lie have been nothing more than to conceal his commonplace bull shit behind a heap of grandiose elephant shit.

Does it matter that this particular species of elephant shit happens to be a "signature academic issue" for Krugman? For the seemingly infinitely vain Krugman, it does. He writes,

"...I set out to write down a fully worked-out, no loose ends model to show that liquidity traps can't really happen. (The purpose of such a model is to help you think clearly about an issue - realism is not the point.) To my surprise it showed that liquidity traps can indeed happen; Japan's trap was real. And Japan remains stuck in that trap. That in itself makes the liquidity trap a very important subject..."

What makes it very important? The fact that Paul Krugman created a model? A model about which he himself says "realism is not the point"? Stop the presses! I can see the headlines now... "Economist Creates New Model! World Leaders Rush to Princeton Despite Non-Realism!"

In my economic view of the world, there is no such thing as a liquidity trap. It's yet another Keynesian delusion in the arsenal of the economics of mass destruction. But Krugman's entitled to his different opinion on that. But he's not entitled to lie to the readers of the New York Times by citing what seem to be simple statistics which, unbeknownst to the readers, are true if and only if you stack the elephant shit exactly this high and look at it exactly from that angle.

Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 12:02 PM | link  

Monday, May 05, 2003

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Funny how Paul Krugman hasn't been writing about President Bush's tax plan lately in his New York Times column. I suppose it's been difficult to focus on his op-eds when he's been conducting what he appropriately calls a "little seminar" on his personal website (here, here, and here) designed to backfill over the lies I exposed in his April 22 column. Or maybe it's just that, as William F. Buckley, Jr. once said, "The baloney rejects the meat grinder."

So today's column is nothing but an insubstantial Bush-bashing exercise that, absent the byline, you'd swear had been written by Maureen Dowd (just as last Friday's Wall Street-bashing column was pure School of Morgenson). It's all about mocking Bush for his jet landing on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, and portraying it as a betrayal of the decent traditions of the American presidency. According to Krugman,

"...American presidents traditionally make a point of avoiding military affectations. Dwight Eisenhower was a victorious general and John Kennedy a genuine war hero, but while in office neither wore anything that resembled military garb... There was a time when patriotic Americans from both parties would have denounced any president who tried to take political advantage of his role as commander in chief. But that, it seems, was another country."

And it's all the worse because of Bush's allegedly spotty military service record, a year absent from the National Guard. There's even a source citation for that claim -- practically a Krugman first! -- but it's none other than a Times affiliate, the Boston Globe.

This is just too easy, folks. A picture is worth a thousand words...  Is this a president? Does this "resemble military garb"? And how about that military service record...?

This took just five minutes of Googling. Who can come up with more examples? Let me know.

Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 11:45 PM | link  

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Once famous for its fanaticism for fact-checking, the latter-day manifestation of The New Yorker now substitutes parroting Paul Krugman's New York Times columns without attribution. Is it a case of KARS -- Krugman Adaptive Repetition Syndrome? Or should we just call it plagiarism? In the latest issue's "Talk of the Town" column, we find:
"Even taking the President at his word, each new job would cost the government five hundred and fifty thousand dollars in lost revenues, which is about seventeen times the salary of the average American worker."
Readers of this web site will recognize that as very nearly a quote from Krugman's April 22 column, which has been serially debunked here (most recently) and -- how can I put this? -- confessed on Krugman's own web site no less than six times now. Really, David Remnick should know it's still plagiarism if the thing you steal is a lie. It's enough to make one long for the days of the tiny mummies, or at least of Tina Brown. I'll never trust a New Yorker story about Madonna again.

Thanks to our mole planted deep in the limousine liberal bowels of Goldman Sachs for the tip on this one.

Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 1:10 PM | link  

Sunday, May 04, 2003

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Another apologia from Paul Krugman! Paul, it's not necessary. I have absolved you. So you can stop confessing now. It's getting embarrassing, and there are other penitents waiting in line. Enough already!

Yes, you lied in your April 22 New York Times column when you compared the ten-year $500,000 per job cost of President Bush's tax plan with the one-year average wage of $40,000. But you've confessed it -- indirectly, to be sure -- with the five squirmingly defensive appeals you've made on your personal web site since the column ran (spread over three postings: one, two, three). So was this new one posted today really necessary? Did you really need to cut and paste more scholastic nonsense from your favorite econ textbooks to re-establish your credibility, or was it just to give you the excuse to start with these lines...?

"Well, whaddya know - my little seminar on liquidity traps, fiscal policy, and jobs seems to have cleared the air. (There are some people who would accuse me of lying if I said that grass is green, but there's nothing to be done about that.) In any case, I now think that it might be useful to use the same framework to explain my view of... [blah blah blah]."

"Cleared the air"? Hardly. The whole point of your "little seminar" -- appropriately described, I must say -- was to create a smoke-screen to hide your lies. That said, I know you have no compunction about lying -- you do it so often and so carelessly, no doubt in the service of a cause so precious to you that you think your end justifies your lying means. But what got under your skin on this one was that this particular lie made you look like an incompetent economist. It really took you down a peg. And you don't have all that many pegs to start with. So all the frantic recitations of the Keynesian catechism had a dual purpose -- a smoke-screen, but also a chance to show off your credentials.

And as to the "lying if I said that grass is green" stuff -- yeah, I probably would. At least, I would if you said that yellow grass or brown grass was green grass. You see, the problem with your Keynesian diagrams is that they say that all grass is green all year round, no matter what. All tax-cuts are just temporary demand shocks. That's simply not true -- even Alan Greenspan in his House Financial Services Committee Q-and-A last week drew the distinction between taxes on capital and taxes on labor incomes. And when something is not true, it is proper to say that such a thing is a lie.

Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 10:20 PM | link