Economics, Entitlements

Paul Krugman has criticized ‘A Nation of Takers’—but has he read it?

Image credit: Commonwealth.club (Flickr) (CC BY 2.0)

Image credit: Commonwealth.club (Flickr) (CC BY 2.0)

The political commentariat these days can be divided into two classes: Those who will attack a study before they’ve read it, and those who don’t.

One would usually assume that a tenured professor at Princeton University and a Nobel Prize winner in economics would fall into the second group. But in the case of Paul Krugman, one would be wrong.

One thing is clear from his blog on my latest book: He doesn’t have a clue what lies in between the covers of that tome.

And it’s a short book, too.

Possibly because he just didn’t get any further than its title, his attempted take-down consists mainly of a graphic contradicting what he takes to be the thesis of the volume. (The graphic is a chart purporting to prove that non-health entitlements as a share of GDP haven’t really gone up much since the early 1970s.)

The professor’s jabs might have been on the mark for some books. My actual book, however, concerns subjects not even mentioned by him: Namely, the behavioral, moral, and political consequences of our entitlement explosion.

Among these consequences: 1) the flight from work by adult men; 2) the incredible surge in government disability claimants — whose working age payees now slightly outnumber our total paid manufacturing sector workforce!; 3) the increasing predilection for financing current entitlement consumption through government borrowing (i.e. taxing the unborn); 4) the crowding out of national defense expenditures through entitlement commitments; and 5) the encouragement of destructive redistributionist politics and “something for nothing” politics through the insatiable expansion of entitlement outlays.

Next time the professor should do his homework first. Here’s a cartoon version to help get started:

The book itself can be found on Amazon.

2 thoughts on “Paul Krugman has criticized ‘A Nation of Takers’—but has he read it?

  1. bonus question: when all is said and done with whatever agreement comes from the sequester negotiations, will it likely look like what Krugman has advocated for – or not?

  2. I read Krugman’s blog post as a criticism of a mindset rather than your book: (that there are two Americas, your right one and other guy’s wrong one) and a sarcastic nod to the fact that the electorate doesn’t necessarily appreciate being called wrong, in fact, despises the us and them turn in Washington. Greybeards like me will recall the time in the late 1990s when Clinton’s campaign to reform Social Security was derailed by an opposition more interested in Monica Lewinsky’s dress.

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