Nobel prize winner hosts Bloomberg TV debate with GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul part of the guest panel
Krugman: “The fact of the matter is, we have had too much money competition. This crisis was brought on by the expansion of what amounts to private money with things like repo.”
Paul does not attempt to engage that argument. He falls back to a talking point. “If a private company commits fraud, they would go to jail. If a Fed commits fraud, they get nothing,” Paul says.
Krugman: “I’ve been pretty hard on Ben Bernanke, but fraud isn’t one of the things I accuse him of.”
It’s a fairly entertaining fight. Paul is hitting with good lines about fraud and stealing and the fed and the Romans.
Krugman is half replying, half trying to score points by letting how crazy he thinks Paul is register on his face.
TV break. Paul vs. Paul will be back afterwards.
Trish Regan is breathless. This is a hell of an afternoon on Street Smart.
Regan asks Paul about his stance on Krugman’s support for inflation.
“Inflation is theft. You’re stealing value from people who save money,” Paul says.
What did the Romans do to their currency! Paul says. They put in wage and price controls before they diluted them.
Ron Paul is describing the failures of monetary policy pre-Byzantium. We’re losing the thread a bit here.
Krugman appears bemused.
“I am not a defender of the economic policies of the emporer Diocletian,” Krugman says.
The argument turns to analysis of why the depression ended. Krugman says he wants to comment on Milton Friedman. He says Friedman argued the Fed should’ve done more to stop the Great Depression.
“It’s really telling that in America right now, Milton Friedman would count as being on the far left in monetary policy.”
Paul is using words like “dishonest” and “steal.” He’s asked about the role of the Fed.
“I’ll tell you what we could do. It would be chaotic if tomorrow we ended the Fed. … Why can’t we allow ourselves the legal competition of the gold or silver standard.”
Krugman: “I have no idea what that’s about, honestly.” Hilarious.
“Never before have these two pillars of economic thought faced off on live television!”
Here we go: It’s Paul Krugman vs. Ron Paul on Bloomberg TV.
Regan is moderating. Krugman is in the studio. Paul is on a live feed.
First question for Paul: What disagreement do you have with Krugman?
“He believes in big government, and I believe in very small government. ..I don’t like a managed economy … it’s a completely different philosophy.”
Paul says nobody knows how much money should be out there. He says it’s pretentious to pretend you know.
Krugman replies: “You can’t leave the government out of monetary policy. If you think that you can avoid that, you’re living in a world that was 150 years ago. Money is not just green pieces of paper … it’s part of the financial system. … History tells us that a completely unmanaged economy is subject to [wild fluctuation and disaster].”
He said 150 years ago.
“Time for Chart Attack with an emphasis on attack.” “Street Smart” has a segment called “Chart Attack.”
Host Adam Johnson and Paul Krugman are discussing unemployment among recent college grads. This is ringing a bell. Oh wait – Krugman is basically reciting his column published in the Times yesterday:
College graduates, then, are taking it on the chin thanks to the weak economy. And research tells us that the price isn’t temporary: students who graduate into a bad economy never recover the lost ground. Instead, their earnings are depressed for life.
What the young need most of all, then, is a better job market. People like Mr. Romney claim that they have the recipe for job creation: slash taxes on corporations and the rich, slash spending on public services and the poor. But we now have plenty of evidence on how these policies actually work in a depressed economy — and they clearly destroy jobs rather than create them.
Paul Krugman: “We’ve had a massive failure – we’ve had an extraordinary failure of our political system, which has come to accept that 8 percent unemployment is the new normal.”
There’s enough blame to go around for the mismanagement of the economy, he says, from the Fed to Capitol Hill.
If you read Paul Krugman, you’ll like watching him on TV. He’s quick and confident and his opinions spring out of him perfectly formed. Is this kind of discussion of monetary policy what people turn on Bloomberg to see? Perhaps. It’s their lucky day today.
But what makes better TV is conflict, disagreement, argument. Thus the excavation we have just seen of Krugman’s beef with Ben Bernanke. And thus the anticipation surrounding the upcoming Krugman-Paul (Paul vs. Paul) showdown.
Krugman has accused Fed Chair Ben Bernanke of a failure of courage in his management of monetary policy. If the Fed announced that higher inflation is acceptable, Krugman argues, confidence would rise, businesses would start hiring again and growth would result.
Last week Bernanke responded to Krugman’s criticism at a Fed press conference.
“That is absolutely incorrect,” Bernanke said. “… Does it make sense to actively seek a higher inflation rate [to reduce unemployment]? The view of the committee is that that would be very reckless.”
Krugman says it’s more reckless to allow mass unemployment to continue than it would be to court a bit more inflation.
Wait! We were unfair. Krugman is already back, after a quick Bloomberg cutaway to the trading floor.
Regan is asking Krugman about his new book, in which he says the country can sustain deficits and must sustain inflation.
“What makes the Spanish situation so impossible? Krugman asks rhetorically. “The problem is that Spain is looking at years of deflation… and low or negative growth… which makes what may be a manageable level of debt look impossible.”
Krugman is good on TV. Does everyone agree on this? He can dive in and out of case studies from Japan to Spain without going too deep and without committing the cardinal sin of live television: the inability to shut up.
He’s letting the anchors talk, too.
We’re just 30 minutes from the close of trading here in the U.S.
“Guest host Paul Krugman” will be right back, Trish Regan says. Meaning, we’re not going to see any more of Krugman until after the next commercial break.
Krugman on Bloomberg by the numbers, as of 3.31pm ET:
Nobel Prizes at anchor desk: 1
Viewer questions: 1
Mentions of “inflation”: Lots
Displays of cover of Krugman’s new book: 2
Krugman takes a question from a viewer, who is concerned about a higher inflation target. What if wages don’t keep up?
Krugman says don’t worry about it. In a growing economy, wages will rise. “This notion that wages are fixed and any inflation comes at the expense of workers is wrong,” Krugman says.
Krugman isn’t a guest host. He’s a guest guest. When Ron Paul comes on will Krugman be asking the questions? Or will the two be on split screens answering questions from the “Street Smart” hosts?
Krugman is being the Oracle of Krugman. “We know what ended the Great Depression, which was WWII,” he says. But why didn’t the economy slide back into depression after the war? Because inflation wiped out the “overhang of consumer debt” that was such a drag on the economy in the 1930s, he says.
Let it be said: In the spring of 2012, Paul Krugman is utterly unafraid of inflation.
“Our guest host today everyone is none other than Professor Paul Krugman“: there he is!
“Good to be on,” Krugman says. They show the cover of his new book, “End This Depression Now.”
“Let’s talk about inflation,” says Regan.
Krugman jumps into a discussion of how the Federal Reserve can raise confidence, by telegraphing what it is going to do down the line.
This is the same argument Krugman made in an NYT Magazine piece saying Fed chair Ben Bernanke had been “assimilated by the Fed Borg” for failing to cosider a higher inflation target.
We are now tuning into Bloomberg TV for “Street Smart” with Trish Regan and Adam Johnson. Bloomberg has billed Paul Krugman, the Nobel Prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist, as co-host. Rep. Ron Paul is scheduled to appear as a guest at 4pmET.
“This is a first in television history: Paul vs. Paul,” says Trish Regan. She is visibly excited.
We’re waiting to see Krugman. Will he really be a “co-host,” or will he be more of a glorified guest? So far they have not wedged him at the anchor desk between Regan and Johnson. Fair enough. “Street Smart” is interviewing a pair of “wealth managers” about austerity in Spain. Regan is managing the conversation with pep and pace.
Can you imagine what Krugman would say to these guys? On a certain level it’d be good TV. But we’re content to have him share unequally in anchoring duties.
Krugman is a Bloomberg host like Sarah Palin is a Fox News host.
Good afternoon and welcome to our coverage of economist Paul Krugman’s first outing – it appears to be his first – as television host. Krugman is scheduled to take the anchor chair at Bloomberg TV for two hours this afternoon, and on his panel of scheduled guests is none other than Ron Paul, the libertarian presidential candidate. The two are in utter disagreement over the most basic questions of economics. Can they find common ground? We’ll be live blogging the action. Meanwhile, a sampler of where each side stands.
• Krugman: “Unfortunately, Paul has maintained his consistency by ignoring reality, clinging to his ideology even as the facts have demonstrated that ideology’s wrongness.”
• Paul: “It is no coincidence that the century of total war coincided with the century of central banking.”
• Krugman: “It’s still very unlikely that Ron Paul will become president. But, as I said, his economic doctrine has, in effect, become the official GOP line, despite having been proved utterly wrong by events. And what will happen if that doctrine actually ends up being put into action? Great Depression, here we come.”
• Paul: “End the Fed.”