While I have no political agenda in my commentary I aim to be straight. Paul Krugman has always bugged me. I cannot decide if the heart of the matter is either his love of the Syllogistic Fallacy, his appalling elitism or his galling intellectual dishonesty. Here is my outline of a typical Krugman column:
- I am Paul Krugman. I have won some awards for my scholarship.
- I am going to twist data around with impunity, and habitually omit important things which might even contradict my premise, to assert my far left world view.
- If anything bad happens in the world, it is the fault of conservatives.
- I am credentialed in economics, therefore I am a credible commentator on the subject of my screed.
That is the gameplan.
For instance, in his column Monday, he refers to the years 2005-2007 as “the peak of the housing bubble.” If the housing bubble peak lasted three years I’d be typing this blogpost on my yacht. This is like saying the stock market peak before FDR was from 1929-1931. Balderdash. The real estate market slowed down severely in 2006 and the 2007 sub prime crisis exacerbated the decline from June 2007 onward. 2005 was the peak. By 2006 it was over and everyone knew it.
Here’s another gem from the column where he laments the ownership gains and losses in the current administration:
While homeownership rose as the housing bubble inflated, temporarily giving Mr. Bush something to boast about, it plunged — especially for African-Americans — when the bubble popped. Today, the percentage of American families owning their own homes is no higher than it was six years ago, and it’s a good bet that by the time Mr. Bush leaves the White House homeownership will be lower than it was when he moved in.
But here’s a question rarely asked, at least in Washington: Why should ever-increasing homeownership be a policy goal? How many people should own homes, anyway?
People are already praising him for asking this question, but I say it’s only value is novelty, not intellectual merit. How many people should own homes anyway? Who decides? Why should we encourage home ownership? Because it stabilizes the hell out of the economy, Paul. It gives families more economic traction. It is an asset that funds retirement. That’s why. He goes on:
Listening to politicians, you’d think that every family should own its home — in fact, that you’re not a real American unless you’re a homeowner. “If you own something,” Mr. Bush once declared, “you have a vital stake in the future of our country.” Presumably, then, citizens who live in rented housing, and therefore lack that “vital stake,” can’t be properly patriotic. Bring back property qualifications for voting!
Sure Paul. Whatever you say. Let’s tether home ownership initiatives to Jim Crow. Yet more pap:
Because the I.R.S. lets you deduct mortgage interest from your taxable income but doesn’t let you deduct rent, the federal tax system provides an enormous subsidy to owner-occupied housing. On top of that, government-sponsored enterprises — Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks — provide cheap financing for home buyers; investors who want to provide rental housing are on their own.
We should deduct rent from our taxes. Or, we shouldn’t allow for any deduction. The ripple effect of each would be disastrous. Some award-winning economist this guy is.
I commented on this KipEsquire post on the same article which was more charitable.
It should be known that Paul Krugman lives in a 5000 square foot home in Princeton. So he’s really qualified to blather about nanny state nonsense.
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