Centrists, Progressives and Europhobia

Who’s out of touch with reality, again?

Comments: 274

  1. Krugman thinks Europe may be the epicenter of the next global economic crisis, but I fear that the crisis will come about because (again!) all kinds of financial products will be based on quicksand. And I fear this because I read that under Trump all kinds of regulations implemented by Obama to prevent this from happening again have been abolished. Am I wrong?

  2. @Elisabeth Only a few regulations have been abolished, but enforcement has gotten very lax. But Europe is still very vulnerable in ways we aren’t, because countries and their banks can have cash crises and can’t just print money in an emergency. Also the Germans really believe in austerity, where our conservatives were just faking it to hurt Obama.

  3. @Elisabeth I think you are correct. There were politicians trying to undo consumsr economic protections before Trump.

  4. @Paul Krugman We disagree on Germany. I lived in Munich for five years in the late 1990s, and what Germans live by is not austerity, but efficiency. The Germans expect from their government great services provided efficiently and cost effectively. If Germans pursued austerity they would not have the quality of life they enjoy as they wouldn't have world class physical and social infrastructure. We could learn a lot from the Germans, if we only wanted to.

  5. Suddenly Paul Krugman, who had nothing but bad things to say about Bernie Sanders and his progressive backers in 2016, labeling them as "intolerant" and a "mob", and the "same as Trump's followers", is supposedly suddenly a champion of that same left since his candidate, Elizabeth Warren, has now positioned herself as the true champion of that left in 2020. In case you question Krugman’s sincerity, he makes sure to drive his point home by burying Joe Biden and painting Biden as the centrist myopic villain here. All the Krugman deliberately refuses to acknowledge that Biden is decidedly to the left of Hillary Clinton, who Krugman treated as nothing less than perfect and infallible in 2016. Sorry, Paul, we're not buying it. You're calibrating your positions based up the calibrated positions of Elizabeth Warren, just as you calibrated your positions based on the calibrated positions of Hillary Clinton.

  6. @Robert B - you'll notice that as frontrunners, they're not attacking each other, even when they're goaded to in debates. That tells me that the policy is more important to them than the personal outcome. If either get in, great, because they have basic integrity. But Sanders, like in 2016, is treated as unelectable by most media pundits and media outlets, which is, as in 2016, a mistake. Walk through Burlington some time: people still make money. The guy's not a Marxist, or even radical. It's kind of boring, actually, how well it's run. After this Trump stuff, I can deal with boring much better than making "policy" with the GOP in mind.

  7. @Robert B PK shared Bernie's goals, but pointed out examples that showed Bernie didn't know what he was talking about. PK has strongly & often argued that shadow banking - barely regulated & w/out anything resembling deposit insurance - was what very nearly brought down the financial system. Bernie never mentioned shadow banking. His solution was to break up the biggest banks. Hillary started talking about unregulated shadow banking from the beginning. Everyone left of center shares pretty much the same goals. The difference is how candidates want to fix problems & what those problems are. PK thinks both EW & HRC know what they're up to. He *is* skeptical about EW's M4A, but respects her plan. He doesn't think people w/ insur. that works for them (i.e. employer pays most of the cost, low deductibles, etc) will chose an unproven system over one they're reasonably ok with. Again, difference not in goal but in implementation. Bernie & crew demanded everyone fall in line behind them - with us or against us - you were "neo-liberal" etc. (I once was on board, but when Bernie & Co started using GOP lies, & insinuations from their 20 years of sliming the Clintons, I was out of there. What most disappointed me wasn't that Trump "won" but that Bernie - & to a lesser extent, Jill Stein - were hugely instrumental in getting us to where we are today. If Bernie's the nominee I'll vote for him. But I'll never forgive him, & certainly won't give him any more money).

  8. @Joel I can't say that you were paying attention much to the 2016 election, then. Democrats fielded a weak-on-policy candidate, who had no numbers much above Trump at the time. Sanders had clear numbers in mano-v-mano electoral vote-off. It was actually Clinton that was the risk at the time. And it failed.

  9. Breaking news: Michael Bloomberg is going to enter the presidential race and seek the Democratic nomination. If he wins the nomination, he has a great chance of beating Trump. Will the Sandernistas vote for one of the richest tycoons in America? I don’t think Democrats are smart enough to nominate Mr. Bloomberg.

  10. What could go wrong in having Billionaire Mike running for prez as a Dem? There’d be lots of Dem voters sitting on the sidelines or voting fur a 3rd party candidate and then, Trump wins four more years. Bloomberg had a chance to run in 2016. Same with Biden. They didn’t have the spine to run.

  11. @Bascom Hill Unfortunately it's looking more and more likely that lots of Dem voters will be sitting on the sidelines no matter who becomes the Dem nominee. BTW, Biden had good reason for not running in 2016. Give the guy a break.

  12. I won’t vote for Bloomberg.

  13. Mr. Draghi did what Mr. Bernanke did. Heroic perhaps, but not a distinction between monetary systems. And it wasn't a crisis of the euro. It was a debt crisis. Anyone can have a debt crisis, but when the debtor is a sovereign with its own mini-currency, exchange-rate instability makes it worse.

  14. As I see it, the centrists have a go slow philosophy. They are not against radical economic changes as they are concerned about quick revisions to economic activities. Some things have to be tested like dipping your finger in the water to test it. None of these candidates are talking about a Socialist Collectivist kind of economic systems, just correcting the unbalances of the current system. Sen. Warren's so called plan to eliminate private medical insurance is radical. Europe has mixed systems, it is doubtful most Americans will give up their right to buy into a private insurance system if they can afford it. Taxing the household wealth is a double tax, as most of that wealth is in the form of equities and dividends which they already pay on. The real inequity is the inheritance tax which perpetuates very wealthy families who have more political power than out elected officials. Sharing the wealth generates anger, despite any possible benefits, if any. We saw the progressives in the 1960s, they wanted immediate action like they do today, but found they had to wait, get elected, get their ideas accepted, and not all of them have been as of these days. But they found out the best way was to get elected to office and work from there. Society resists radical changes.

  15. Nothing can be further than the truth. The structural changes to American society in the first 100 days of the New Deal helped to reshape the nation toward the egalitarian state we enjoyed before the Reagan counter revolution. The Great Society legislation LBJ worked through the congress likewise was very swift. The only problem with that was the progress was bogged down by the costs of the Vietnam war and the racist “war on drugs” purges that Nixon initiated. Likewise the Reagan dismantling of the unions through currency manipulation and the flood of imports quickly addicted the nation to discounts while the tax cuts enabled the corporate elite to enrich themselves at public expense. The post 9-11 measures were also sudden and extreme. We need public participation and steady preparation, but change does happen quickly when the circumstances present themselves.

  16. @David Underwood Umm, no, the democrats controlled the house from 1955, through 1997 and they controlled the Senate from 1955, through 1981, 40 years, and 26 years respectively. Which is why, the democrats were able to fund Apollo program (best money ever spent), and fund education, create Head Start, and more. When Lyndon Johnson came to power, after Kennedy was assassinated, many parts of the district in Texas he represented, still had no power, or running water, imagine in 1963, still having no power, running water. Black people couldn't even vote, and it was illegal in this country for whites and black people to get married, black people were routinely discriminated against, yet they had all the rights whites did, granted to then by the 14th amendment. It was the democrats that changed all that, when Johnson made his now famous America's Broken Promise speech, when he told republicans in a joint session, that he never thought he'd be able to have the power to fulfill that promise, and as he said, when he was teacher in 1929 he never thought that he would be in position to help the sons and daughters of of those students (he was referring to when he was teacher, and he taught poor Mexican kids to speak English) and people like them. "But now I do have that chance--and I'll let you in on a little secret---I intend to use it". He declared that " poverty, ignorance, bigotry, and disease are the enemy, not our fellow man, not our neighbor. That's what leadership is.

  17. You know what also generates anger? Masses of people who work their keisters off for poverty wages. Continue with this long enough, and you will get radical change, of the violent, angry pitchfork carrying variety.

  18. Would Republicans be willing to reach across the aisle? If and only if they feel enough pressure from voters to do so. That would mean, first, a Democratic tidal wave next year, turning both the White House and the Senate blue. There’s power in numbers. And it would also mean a concerted effort from constituents to keep the pressure on elected officials for issues like preserving guaranteed comprehensive health care. In the end, the GOP will be only as obstinately myopic as they are allowed to be.

  19. @NM - Not sure 'a tidal wave' would do it. It's sad to see Biden act as if Jim Jordan, Mark Meadows, Louie Gohmert, and Matt Gaetz - not to mention Moscow Mitchski - will have an epiphany moment. Biden has apparently fallen prey to the idea that radicals don't come attired in coat and tie, forgetting the anarchic 2016 GOP'er pretense that the Executive Branch had no SCOTUS appointment powers past the 37th month of a 48 month term if the POTUS were a Democrat, and the Senate majority belonged to GOP'ers. And just to drive home how radical the GOP'ers are, they made sure it was known in Nov. 2016 that if Hillary Clinton were sworn in, the GOP'ers in the Senate would still hold open Scalia's seat. Today's GOP looks upon any elected government which they do not control as illicit by definition - all anyone has to do for confirmation is look at the D.C. government shutdown in 2018 on the heels of the midterms which handed Dems the House, or at the way various GOP'er legislatures in Michigan, Wisconsin, North Carolina, et al have tried to strip powers from incoming Dem governors. The White House's refusal to acknowledge House oversight of the Executive Branch is part of this same picture. Just because this crowd cavorts under the banner of a kidnapped party doesn't mean they are GOP'ers; they just needed a brand and didn't want to bother with starting their own party. Biden shouldn't be bamboozled.

  20. Past events would suggest the answer to this is no.

  21. Very true. The GOP under Scott Walker hollowed out the once proudly progressive State of Wisconsin long before Trump even considered running for POTUS

  22. This column forgot to leave out the efforts of the EU regulatory agencies to curb the excess intrusion into privacy and surveillance by Google, Facebook and others with massive fines. The EU, despite its falws with the Euro, looks out for its citizens. Meanwhile, here across the pond, the message is very clear - we are on our own.

  23. @PN ....."...forgot to leave out the efforts of the EU..." ???? Don't you mean, "forgot to include"??

  24. We are, indeed, all on our own. I find it very frightening.

  25. @PN ….we are on our own in many ways. Our govt protects corporate power and profits, in return for mega donor money to run for office. We the People are left unprotected and subject to exploitation in various ways. NYT op ed: “The Government Protects Our Food and Cars. Why Not Our Data?" "Today, the European Union has an even more comprehensive law, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Each member state has a national agency to enforce it. Those agencies in Belgium, France, Germany and other European countries have recently acted to curb data exploitation at Facebook, Google and other tech giants.” Important to be discussed here. Krugman doesn't think it's that important?

  26. Centrist Joe Biden just can’t see around the corner. Progressives have an idea what might be there; they’re willing to be bold. Conservatives don’t even want to look or think. Their worldview is firmly rooted in the past; their currency is fear of change. I don’t think the Democratic candidate next year can be a centrist; an incrementalist, if you will. Take, for example, Dr. Krugman’s reference to broadband and monopoly with the resultant philosophical animus by the Right to work for the benefit of the vast majority of American citizens. Lower prices are not what Republicans want; at the first whisper of egalitarianism or redistribution, we hear agonized cries of Socialism!” It’s a major reason the president and his administration won’t go anywhere near the needed infrastructure makeover. It would mean jobs and investment by the millions. Republicans need a healthy climate of poverty so they can point to those drags on America as examples of what happens to a nation that takes care of its own. Hardly the Republican way. Which brings me to Elizabeth Warren. Her plans to nail the oligarchs for the bill for her M4A are anathema to not only the Boardwalk-Park Place swells, but also to the folks just getting by on Baltic and Mediterranean Avenues. Instead of making America great for the first time by leavening their hostility to altruism with just enough of a dash of practical realism, Republicans retreat to a place they know well: the hill they can only imagine is a mountain.

  27. Unfortunately, ignorance rarely keeps people from expressing their opinions. Usually this is a fear-driven behavior: those terrified of deficits, government intrusion, and Euro-style "socialism" are loud in their criticisms because they're afraid of what these things would do their lives. Ironically, these things would greatly improve their lives, while sticking with the "trickle down" economy we've had for decades will only make their lives worse. But while ignorance doesn't seem to stop the mouth from working (or keyboards), it does a great job in shutting down the eyes and ears. And this is why trying to convince these fearful people of the benefits of Sanders and Warren's plans is almost pointless - their fear won't allow them to consider such things. This is also why these folk are clinging to Biden, regardless of his flaws: he's "safe". Biden won't do anything to upset the Status Quo, and that's just fine with these people. But their ignorance prevents them from seeing the connection between their tenuous circumstances - most living paycheck to paycheck, and at risk to go bankrupt due to medical costs - and how the Status Quo keeps them there. If we are to escape from the "trickle down" economy, it will be because enough people have the courage to embrace the changes required. The polls seem to indicate that support is out there. If so, the fearful ones will have to be dragged into the future.

  28. @Kingfish52 Fear has absolutely nothing to do with it. I would love a European style safety net, but what Warren and Sanders propose ignores all the tough choices the Europeans have made and will cause them to lose disastrously for Democrats and this country. This isn't fear. It's fact. So, yes, bring on the European style safety net, but Warren and Sanders aren't it.

  29. @OrchardWriting , Fear caused by facts is, nonetheless, fear. The first step away from fear is having the courage to look for and at facts that might dispel fear. FDR: We have nothing to fear but fear itself.

  30. @Kingfish52 It is also very difficult to be told from birth that you are Exceptional and subsequently come to grips with the fact that, quite simply, you are not.

  31. Paul, I deeply respect your work and your analysis. I simply don’t believe that Senator Warren can create a path to electoral victory. She’d be a great secretary of Labor, though, if we can afford to have a republican governor of Massachusetts replace her with a republican senator, tipping the balance further away from substantive action on any meaningful issue. The arc moves slowly in the right direction.

  32. Myopia never was a very good strategy for policy-making. The MAGA-crowd is myopia-magnified. Kind of like looking through the front end of the binoculars. The sad thing is that points have to be made that facts matter, that data should drive decisions, and that minds have to be open to science and new information -- all the things missing in the current Repubican mind-set. I wish I had confidence that these people can look through the right end of the binoculars, open their minds, and apply objective facts to problem-solving. My fear is that myopia, often based on racism, will prevail.

  33. Biden is absolutely right: when he calls up Mitch McConnell to cut Social Security and Medicare, he'll get all the cooperation he could wish, thus dooming the Democratic party for a few more election cycles. Say, until Florida is under water and Biden, having done maximum damage through out his long career -- Clarence Thomas, financial and telecom deregulation, inescapable consumer debt, mass incarceration, NAFTA, Iraq, Libya -- is long gone but whose one term is unfortunately not forgotten.

  34. Even more to the point, the centrists do not seem have real plans for addressing climate change. Just rejoining the Paris accord is not enough — we need a massive effort over the next 10 years. Warren is the only candidate whom I trust to get it done.

  35. @E If I may interject, E, you are presuming a new centrist POTUS would not have a team at EPA and Interior to assist in such visionary endeavors. As long as the new president is aware of the extent of the climate crisis, and hires the climate scientists to lead us, and the world, in the right direction, then I will gladly vote for the moderate Democrat taking the WH with an open mind, all the while also mulitasking on the tasks of cleaning up after Trump.

  36. The EU employment rate is indeed higher but 30.8 percent of all women worked part time and eighth percent. So a lot of the employment is part time or contract work with little benefits. Unemployment rate in Europe is still higher than in the US. Though it has gone down to 6.3 but in France Dr. Krugman's favorite country it is at 8.5 percent also youth unemployment is at 14.0 in Europe. And work force participation rate is lower than in the US. Also twenty percent of all jobs are part time . https://tradingeconomics.com/european-union/full-time-employment

  37. @prpgk1 But is part-time work bad, if that is what you want? It seems that the relationship between the jobs people get and the kind they want should be discussed.

  38. I hate to break the news to you, but a lot of employment here is part time with no benefits too.

  39. @Smilodon7 Currently in the US it's at seventeen percent . And it has been going peaking at 20 during the great recession. Part Time work increased dramatically during the recession and has the economy has improved part time employment has declined.

  40. Paul, if Paul Ryan had proposed a funding plan as fundamentally dishonest as Warren you would tear it down. I am a moderate only because I live in political reality and know two things: 1. The general election electorate will not vote for massive programs, debt, and tax increases, even if in the end it may be good policy. 2. Nothing Warren and Sanders have proposed is European. European nations have mixed private and public insurance with many hard and difficult choices around taxes, what is and is not covered, and much more to control costs and maintain their health programs and safety net. Neither Warren nor Sanders have done this. I would add, that Europe would never vote for our system, but when reforms on the scale of Sanders and Warren have been proposed, they are soundly defeated because of expense and scope. What Warren and Sanders proposed is massive compared to what Europeans have. If you want a system that resembles Europe's, look at Biden, Buttigieg, and Klobuchar. And you know all of this. Why act as if you don't?

  41. @OrchardWriting Where do you get your info? Many European countries fund universal healthcare through through national health insurance programs (not private) funded through taxation a la Medicare. To name a few: Denmark, Czech Republic, Sweden, Spain, Norway, Portugal, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Norway, France, etc.

  42. Sorry, can't agree. And not only because I grew up in Europe. The European system has one major systematic flaw: It selects for politicians who can talk well, but are not necessarily qualified. Demagogues. Typically those people who end up in Parliament there are those who have failed in free enterprise or are teachers or other kinds of government employees who have a cushy job to fall back to when they are no longer elected. Almost without exception, German members or the Bundestag lack meaningful qualifications. Just look at Angela Merkel, a failed scientist. Even in Germany now people are beginning to realize that she has never really done anything constructive. She was exceptionally skilled at building a facade, but not as a true leader. I am very worried that Sanders or Biden would squander the rest of the American capital that made us the leaders of the free world - in the past, at least. I am not thrilled by Bloomberg, for various reasons, but he and Buttigieg would be the best team I could hope for to get us back on a rational track.

  43. @Captain Nemo Sorry, make that Warren, not Biden!

  44. @Captain Nemo On what basis do you reach your conclusion that... 1. European politicians are Demagogues. 2. “Almost without exception, German members of the Bundestag lack meaningful qualification who....” I would be interested to hear what meaningful qualifications a member of Parlament should have. Furthermore, I doubt that our members in congress are in any way better than the members of the German Bundestag as our representative and senators also usually have a nice cushion when they exit. There are for sure Demagogue politician in Europe. Just look to the UK, Poland, Hungary. Italy just became more rationale. In short, the politicians in the center of Europe are much more rationale than our President and his party. You must be living in a parallel universe!

  45. @Captain Nemo Here we have the worst of both worlds: politicians (particularly of a certain stripe) who can't talk well and are completely unqualified.

  46. Is it just me or do "isms" obfuscate? Centrism and Progressivism? Is that the same as conservatism and liberalism? So the opinion is about how Democratic conservatives are reluctant to make changes, improvements? And the conservatives are not well informed about Europe? Should this come as a surprise? America has a huge educational challenge. Will we ever accept our responsibility to educate our populace? Or is that also opposed by conservatives?

  47. @PayingAttention The Left/Right, Conservative/Progressive scale has been shifted waaaaaaay to the Right. (Reagan,et. Al.) Ike was a conservative Republican who built a transcontinental highway. There is no Left anymore. Only modest attempts at Public Health care that get mislabeled as Socialist.

  48. Again Krugman substantiates what I've been saying for decades, this country can and should provide access to higher education, access to healthcare. Would it require, taxes sure, but if properly packaged it can be done. I've had republicans claim that all you have to do is look to Medicare or Medicaid to see tax dollars being wasted. But they simply don't know what they are talking about, Medicare, and Medicaid are in fact the best run insurance programs in the country. Is there fraud, sure. But that's more about that Doctors character or lack of one, than a poorly run bloated bureaucratic system ripe for the picking. it's worth noting that when Doctors have committed fraud, they've been caught because of the checks built into the system. It's not like this country doesn't have the money, currently tax payers spend about 60 billion on welfare payments, food stamps, etc. Yet we corporations 100 billion in subsidies alone, that's above and beyond the negative tax rates corporations like Amazon gets, currently Amazon enjoys a -12% tax rate. Which means, a trillion dollar company headed by the richest man on the planet, pay's nothing in taxes. Amazon received hundreds of millions in tax refund. If Europe can do it, so can we.The answer, is to close loopholes, stop the subsidies, collect tax revenue from the rich and corporations. Stop holding the working poor, and struggling middle class to foot a majority of the tax burden in this country, and receive nothing in return.

  49. I love how progressives sneer at Joe Biden’s hope for a Republican epiphany. It is unlikely, yes. But it’s no more unrealistic than Bernie’s plan to rally a million marchers in Kentucky to scare McConnell into supporting M4A, or Warren’s hope to abolish the filibuster (non-starter) and then convince anywhere close to fifty Democratic senators to vote for it. If you want a realistic picture, tell voters that Democrats will be lucky to retake the Senate at all. At best, we may get some legislation on drug prices. But realism doesn’t win elections.

  50. I sometimes wonder how much of the difference between the economies of the US and Europe are attributable to the greater dynamism of the American economy. As a younger nation with lower taxes and a greater emphasis on entrepreneurship and innovation we are certainly more dynamic. But there is a price to pay for our dynamism. Lower taxes and greater entrepreneurship also mean that our jobs are less secure and our safety net is weaker. We are also less stable. The financial crisis a decade ago originated in the US and then spread to Europe through the greater global connectivity that exists today. And the increased connectivity also means that innovations that originate here quickly spread to Europe. So, on balance, we are still paying a price for our weaker safety net, while the advantage we used to have due to our dynamism and innovation is perhaps eroding.

  51. Most European countries have a higher rate of entrepreneurship than the US because of the social safety net. It is a myth that the US currently is the most entrepreneurial nation.

  52. @Martin We actually have fewer entrepreneurs than most of Europe. And yes, that’s because of weak safety net, especially health insurance. And we aren’t really more dynamic: growth has been similar once you adjust for population growth.

  53. @Paul Krugman I agree with your entrepreneur comment. I am an entrepreneur who has worked hard with my spouse to grow my small business over the past 3 years to something that can 1) support my family, 2) continue to grow. I never would have been able, at least in my own mind, take this risk without the ACA to provide health care to my kids. It was subsidized the first 2 years but it won't be in the future because our earnings have grown. It gave me the freedom to leave a lucrative R&D job and a terrible work environment to start out on my own. :-)

  54. The real question is wether a country can at the same time be: A) a heaven for its ultra rich that barely pay taxes in relation to the money that they make or have, B) a militaristic empire that expends 60 cents every dollar that it collects in taxes and has 750 military bases in 150 different countries, and C) one that provides education, healthcare and other human needs to its citizens. An impossible proposition. It is evident that something has to give, and is not going to be those with power. So it has to be education and health.

  55. I'd love to hear Biden's idea of a Republican epiphany in Trump's absence. The epiphany McConnell had about denying Obama's last nominee to the Supreme Court a hearing came about independently of Trump. So did their epiphany on slowing down confirmation of Obama's judicial nominees. The point is that the GOP, as it is now and has been for the past 20 years, will not arrive at any epiphanies on how to treat people decently or work and play well with others. They don't care and it shows. 11/7/2019 7:37pm first submit

  56. @Rima Regas The GOP has hated the New Deal since it began. But it's important to notice that none of them turn down the benefits it's given them. They just try to steal it from others.

  57. @hen3ry Class intersects race then gender, but class always Trumps all. Once one sees that, it becomes clear that the messenger isn’t who matters. What Trump has undone, is undoing, is exactly what the establishment has wanted ever since the New Deal. That is why Biden told his wealthy donors not to worry, that not much will change. This promise was made in the full knowledge of the destruction of our most basic protections, put in place over decades. The center is the old right. Triangulation means giving the other side what it wants in exchange for personal glory.

  58. @Rima Regas That´s why Mr. Biden isn´t really a "centrist" but a "more-of-the-samer" as he is already decyphered by many who remember the 2016 campaign.

  59. They're about to close the lid on me, but all my long life I've wondered why economists cannot agree on: ~ where we are; ~ where we should go; ~ how to get there; ~ what works; ~ and what doesn't. To this layman, the realization of economically sound nations seems very achievable, but apparently not. I guess economists, like medical doctors, just practice economics; they're just making educated guesses. And one more thing before the lights go out: Why would anyone need billions or hundreds of millions of dollars when there is so much poverty all around? I really just can't grok it. Do you eat six meals daily or use two or three bathrooms at once? Maybe they'll explain it all to me in the afterlife.

  60. @Jim Muncy The megaphone comes with conditions: amplifying the voices of those who bestow the hallowed space we read in.

  61. @Jim Muncy -- my best wishes for you in this life and the hereafter. I, too, have a list of questions for the Almighty when my time here is over! Blessings to you.

  62. @Jim Muncy "Nowhere was this intolerance greater than in macroeconomics, where the prevailing models ruled out the possibility of a crisis like the one we experienced in 2008. When the impossible happened, it was treated as if it were a 500-year flood – a freak occurrence that no model could have predicted. Even today, advocates of these theories refuse to accept that their belief in self-regulating markets and their dismissal of externalities as either nonexistent or unimportant led to the deregulation that was pivotal in fueling the crisis. The theory continues to survive, with Ptolemaic attempts to make it fit the facts, which attests to the reality that bad ideas, once established, often have a slow death." Joseph Stigliz https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/end-of-neoliberalism-unfettered-markets-fail-by-joseph-e-stiglitz-2019-11

  63. I attended the World Fantasy Convention last weekend at the Marriott Hotel at LAX, a pretty classy venue. After dinner, I reached for my debit card to pay the bill and asked the waiter to "bring the machine" (i.e., a hand-held wifi terminal), which is what you do in any small-town Canadian restaurant. The guy had never heard of such a thing. I had to get up and follow him to the register where he actually swiped my chip-equipped debit card and then had me sign the paper slip. I've used my debit card in Canada and half a dozen European countries. I would say America must be ten years behind the developed world in wifi, but since most Americans don't leave the country, they think they're cutting edge.

  64. @Matthew Hughes Actually, Matt it's more than ten years. The first time I saw such a machine was in France in 1993, I believe. They also had pay at the pump long before it came to North America. I missed the WFC. Good?

  65. @Sean In my case, I know I saw the credit card stand-alone terminal in France more or less at the same time you did. In the mid-90s I started being able to travel within Norway using absolutely no cash, as even cab drivers would take credit cards... etc.

  66. @Matthew. The chip we now have in our credit and debit cards and helps them be more secure were already in use in the Netherlands since the early 1990’s. Transferring money from your bank account to someone else’s at a totally different bank was easy as pie in the early 1980’s. The American banking system is hopelessly antiquated.

  67. However, Europeans still pay much higher taxes than we do in the US. This is acceptable to them, but not to us. Why is that? Up until recently, European countries were ethnically homogenous and well-educated, so everyone trusted each other. Here in the US, however, we have a wide variety of competing groups who are avowedly out to gain advantage over others. Nobody wants to give the government too much control, for fear their opponents will capture the levers of power and manipulate the system to their own benefit. This doesn't even count the 20% of the population who are crooks ready to steal anything that isn't nailed down. They look at a new government benefits program as a golden opportunity to invent a new scam and make off with millions before anyone catches on.

  68. @Jonathan Right! Like , I have a good idea. Let's have heart surgery. That sounds like fun!

  69. @Jonathan 20%? That sounds really high. Where do you get that statistic?

  70. Yeah! Let’s pretend we have cancer and get free chemotherapy! My European relatives pay the same tax rate I pay. They don’t complain because they get something for their taxes: free health care ( my cousin with diabetes pays 55 cents for insulin), free university education (another cousin went through medical school without running up high interest debt) , modern public transit (you don’t need a car in most European cities). What do we get? A bloated military industrial complex and endless wars for oil

  71. A holdup man points a gun at Jack Benny and says: "You're money or your life." After a long pause the gunman says: "Well, what's it gonna be, fella?" Benny replies: "I'm thinking." A good punchline is always unexpected. Of course almost everyone would pay up rather than die. And that's the economic problem with healthcare, except that medical professionals don't need a gun. I'm old enough to remember back in the 1950's when our family doctor made house calls. Healing was a calling. Now it's just another way to make REALLY good money. We need a heart to heart national discussion on what it means to be a medical professional. Why do people want to become physicians? What do they imagine their contributions to society to be? I suspect that health care has not been attracting the optimal personality traits.

  72. @WDG Let's not confuse the inhabitants of hospitals with the denizens of wall street.

  73. That might have something to do with the fact that it costs the GDP of a small nation to attend medical school.

  74. @WDG There are plenty of people who become medical professionals to answer a moral, humanistic calling. Then they are forced, whether they are an employee or a private practitioner, to work as a drone in a giant parasitic hive called the health-insurance industry.

  75. Are we willing to live with less, give up “the dream,’ settle for leasing, not owning because ownership has become such a drag. Is the knitting together of America dependent upon the relinquishment of personal aims. That’s kind of how I envision parts of Europe. In France my less fortunate countrypersons are French, even if statistical analysis might yield a less consoling answer. In America, one strives for the sake of striving.

  76. @Jeffrey Cosloy -- you should go to France and several other European countries (several times, not once or twice) and I think you will find that these people are quite content with the amount of vacation they are allotted as well as their home ownership, marvelous infrasture, beautiful cities that are well-maintained and clean. These are not less fortunate as you say.

  77. No one in France depletes their savings, goes bankrupt , or starts a GoFundMe snd begs for money to pay for medical bills. No graduate of the Sorbonne is burdened with high interest student debt that will take decades to discharge. And the food is better. So is public transit. And the French live longer.

  78. On the merits, there's no doubt that Elizabeth Warren's health care proposal is worthy of consideration and debate. From an electoral perspective, it might spell disaster in the general election. Its strongest appeal is to millennials and other progressives, who reside predominantly in states that are securely blue. The "socialism" bogeyman, however, holds terror for many of the crucial voters in battleground states; they're liable to link the word not with the Scandinavian nations (routinely at or near the top in metrics of health care, longevity, and happiness) but with Russia or, even worse, Venezuela -- and you know that Trump would hammer Warren unceasingly with that message, spurious as it is. Many labor union members are also highly pleased with the health care concessions they've fought for and won, which operate via private-sector health insurance companies. It would risk losing the support of some fraction of them to advocate a plan that would abolish what they've won and replace it with a system untested in this country. Even Dr. Krugman acknowledged, in his last op-ed, that Warren's plan is unlikely to become legislation, even if the Democrats win control of both houses of Congress. That being the case, the Democratic nominee, whether Warren or someone else, would be best served by advocating a Medicare-for-those-who-want-it plan along the lines of Buttigieg, Klobuchar or Biden.

  79. My analysis, of course, rests on the reality of the Electoral College. If the presidency were determined by popular vote, the calculus might well suggest that maximizing the voter turnout amongst progressives -- millennials foremost among them, since their turnout is typically lower than that of other agre groups -- would be the winning strategy. But the Electoral College exists, and wishing it were not so is of no help.

  80. The unemployment rates cited in this week's issue of a fairly reliable source (The Economist) read as follows: United States 3.5 France 8.5 Given that information, I would like clarification from the author about the precisely meaning of his assertion that the French are more likely to be employed during their working years than are Americans. And the unemployment rates for some other EU nations are: Austria 4.5 Belgium 5.5 Germany 3.1 Greece 16.9 Italy 9.5 Netherlands 4.4 Spain 13.8 Czech Rep. 2.1 Denmark 3.8 Norway 3.7 Sweden 7.1 Switzerland 2.3 The first

  81. @Quiet Waiting Check the link in the article. The data is on employment rates, not unemployment. The ER used is a more direct number -- employed in the age group/number in the age group. That is, without all the massaging of unemployment rates.

  82. @Quiet Waiting There are a lot of minimum wage jobs that have no benefits in those numbers for the good old USA. Now, I have to get to McDonalds for my shift after driving Uber all day.

  83. @Quiet Waiting Look at the labor force participation rates.

  84. All of these labels: far right, centrists, the left, progressives, liberals, conservatives, moderates, etc. How about humanists? That's where I stand.

  85. Meaningless word in 2019. Define it for me please (in today’s lexicon).

  86. Paul Krugman: "it often seems as if the centrists, not the progressives, are out of touch with reality. Indeed, sometimes it feels as if centrists are Rip Van Winkles who spent the last 20 years in a cave and missed everything that has happened to America and the world since the 1990s. I'm one of those centrists, and I think I do know what will pass muster with American voters, at least in those "battleground" states which will determine the outcome of the 2020 election. I think it has been clearly established that the majority of American voters don't like drastic change. Medicare for All which eliminates private health plans comes to mind. If Democrats run on this health plan, free college tuition, reparations and an immigration plan that does not promote secure borders, we are going to again lose states like Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania--and the electoral college.

  87. @RF What strikes me as being so ignorant s that Medicare participants all carry and pay for one or two private insurance policies, so the very idea that private insurance will be gone is absurdly ridiculous. I contend that Congress people, who have gold-plated paid for insurance benefits, do not what in the heck they are talking about. Period

  88. @RF Even if one stays with an employer, plans change almost every year, in my experience. Sometimes just the plans; often the carriers, as the benefits group renegotiates. I get that it is people's perceptions that matter, reality be damned. But this sudden Love of insurance companies is ... odd, given the realities of how the market gets dysfunctional because of them.

  89. @Sara C I don't think very many people "love" insurance companies. The point is that many (most) people who have private insurance plans don't want to be faced with the uncertainty of having to lose their insurance and change to a new system. I'm retired and have been on medicare (actually a medicare advantage plan) for years. I'm very happy with it. The Medicare for All proposed by Warren and Sanders won't be acceptable by many people. Strengthening Obamacare and adding a public option will be much more acceptable.

  90. My fellow progressives keep pointing to those "happiest of places" like Denmark, The Netherlands and the rest of Scandinavia, as the success stories of democratic socialism. And while, after my 75 laps around the sun, I have been a believer in universal/single-payer health insurance for America, I also know this is not going to be a slam-dunk concept even if/when a Democrat displaces Trump in 2020. From Medicare for All, to a Great Green Deal, these are idea that will take a few decades to convince Americans to give up the insurance they have liked. And as a talk show pundit noted recently, you can't win an election promising to "take stuff away" from the American People. If I ran the zoo, I would advise Liz Warren and Bernie Sanders to modify their respective positions on Medicare for All, by supporting the expansion of the ACA, while allowing Americans to keep the insurance they like. The biggest problem I see in promoting Medicare for All is, we are anything but a homogeneous society. Scandinavians and most Europeans make up much smaller countries were consensus is easier among like-minded citizens in more homogeneous societies. Free college? No problem. Free healthcare? Again, no problem. But America is not only like herding cats, with great cultural and economic diversity, it is not deeply, and emotionally, divided politically. And the Republican Party, and not Trump, with its white nationalism on parade, must shoulder the blame for the latter.

  91. @David Ohman Two things: Netherlands isn't Scandinavia and it has a system of private health insurance with a "public options" [National Ziekenfonds, if memory serves]. I'm curious what ethnic homogeneity has to do with Medicare for all. Canada has it and isn't homogeneous. If I'm not mistaken, Denmark is 15% foreign born and the Netherlands close to 20%, not counting folks of Indonesian origin.

  92. @batavicus The Netherlands has actually had an overhaul of their system in 2006 and 'ziekenfondsen' no longer exist. Much of what you said still stands, though. Health insurance is government mandated, meaning that every Dutch citizen has to purchase a basic health insurance policy. These basic health insurance policies are offered by private companies, but are heavily regulated. The government decides what should be covered and what the minimum and maximum deductible (currently €385-885

  93. These people that think their employer provided insurance is so great, do they not understand how easily they could lose it? All it would take is a job loss. And that can happen no matter how hard you work. All it takes is one large contract lost, one jerk to embezzle millions from your company, or even an object falling out of the sky and hitting your place of employment ( that one actually happened to me) and you find yourself out of a job and insurance.

  94. "Will the Democratic presidential nomination go to a centrist or a progressive? Which choice would give the party the best chance in next year’s election? Honestly, I have no idea."...You really need to leave New York more often. It isn't even close. In fly over country there are gobs of Republican voters just begging for a choice they could vote for. And nominating a centrist will hardly make any difference anyway, because the far left wing ideas will never get through the Senate. If they really care about getting any of their agenda inacted they had better tack too the center. I sure wish progressives knew how to count.

  95. The problem is not us becoming Europe and being sad about it, though that is possible (VW scandal and premature nuclear power shutdowns are cautionary tales), it is that we cannot adopt European-esque social policies without introducing other massive problems because we are not just a big European country. We need and historically accept lots of immigrants, we have a global military that Europe depend on and we have vast areas of sparse but not zero population that cannot have a federal office of everything in each tiny business district. People in such areas need, among other things, robust cars with lots of range and quick refueling. For a recent example, California cannot pull off high speed rail even with lots of federal help. In fact, many of our giant projects - nuclear plants, nuclear aircraft carriers, passenger rail systems - have giant cost and time overruns so we avoid them as much as possible but recognize they cannot all be avoided. I do not know if Europe has fewer problems with such projects, but what does it really matter for us if they do or do not? We are not only optimizing a different incumbent system with different constraints, we have different goals than European states do. A good sports team coach chooses strategies to fit his players' talents, they do not blindly mimic the opposing team that half of the players are jealous of.

  96. @Alan Glibly put ... but the core question remains untouched: do those in the lower tiers have food, health, education and leisure time, or not?

  97. I have only practical examples to give you Professor. Being a theoretician myself with a doctorate from the older school that had still Ivy on the bricks on the other end of Mass Av, it is not that natural for me either. I lived in Scandinavia, in Paris, in Milan and Geneva. There is NO comparison for the 99 percentile of the population. European standards of living are hugely better. Infrastructure, food, wine, healthcare, education from K to Grad School (again I am taking about 99 percent not 1 percent so that excludes the schools we both went to and taught in), architecture, arts and culture, the way both men and women look and dress are significantly better there than here. I lived most of my life in NYC’s upper east side in a five town house I own. My daughters went to Harvard and Yale. We are highly educated and are culture mavens. My wife is a choreographer, one of my daughters is a violinist in a major string quartet and the other one an architect. I am a mathematician turned high-level quant in the firm that produces Treasury secretaries en masse. Now I am retired and consult the people who manage more money that you can imagine. All this to say, you have no clue what you are talking about on the European standards of living vis a vis ours. I can tell from the way you dress :-)

  98. Minor correction five story town house not five town houses :-)

  99. @Blunt Well, thanks for sharing your experience abroad. But the Dr. K article I read didn't compare quality of life in Europe to what's available here. I'm not disagreeing with your comparison, BTW. And I think that's an important comparison to make. Given your professional background, it would be more interesting to read your thoughts about how to adjust data about family/household income here and in France for the very different social services (including education) in the two countries.

  100. Hint : Changing coordinate systems solves many problems that would be otherwise hard to tackle. :-)

  101. Progressivism these days means a complete reordering of our economic system. They are the liberal radicals commensurate with GOP conservatism. We should get off the shoulders and into the middle of the road to work on income inequality; job losses to globalism; and raising income levels. Bring the tax structure back in line favoring the middle class and lower income groups. These are the goals of the Moderates. We do not need a complete restructuring. We need to change the tilt of the economy so as to not favor the wealthy and corporations.

  102. @DENOTE REDMOND said: "We need to change the tilt of the economy so as to not favor the wealthy and corporations." That, my friend, is a complete restructuring. Nothing more; nothing less.l

  103. @DENOTE REDMOND the nation needs to be reeducated, the Ayn Rand bible needs to be thrown out and burned.

  104. Wrong use of the word “commensurate.” Please see Kuhn, Feyerabend, Popper and even the wonderful filmmaker/philosopher Errol Morris (was Kuhn’s student briefly....until the Ashtray hit him :-))

  105. A few hundred families have managed to accumulate untold riches on the backs of the citizens of this nation by slowly, but surely, undoing everything FDR got for us. How did we get to the political necrophilia I wrote about in February 2016? How did we get to triangulation? What, exactly is Triangulation? It’s using your tools to fix the other side’s car. Here we are, post Great Recession and into the pre-Trump depression. We need a complete do-over - not splitting the middle, again. That’s how we got here

  106. @Rima Regas let's not forget how our previous history has contributed to this. We are not as tolerant or accepting of others as we say we are. Charity is something that is extended to our own but not to the poor person across town who doesn't look like us. Even FDR was careful who he set up Social Security for. We were very lucky after WWII until about the mid 1970s. Then our country's rich decided that they didn't want to pay as much in taxes and they went to work. Reagan and voodoo economics have led us here. The GOP's welcome of the Southern Dixiecrats helped us to get Trump as president. The GOP encourages the ugliest isms people in America have. Trump is their mouthpiece. He's saying all the ugly things that they won't. Is this destructive? You bet it is. This is how civil wars start. This is how hatred stays alive. This next election is about survival of our country's spirit, our rights, and our ideals.

  107. It’s still all part of the residue of seventy years of anti-Communist propaganda in the US. We have been so thoroughly indoctrinated into fantasies of “free enterprise” that only represent freedom for the one percent and an expensive and low chance lottery ticket for the rest of us, that all thought of the social good has been wiped out of our collective psyches. So, we’re trained into thinking Big Government Bad, Regulation Bad, Taxes Bad, so no-one will be allowed to think even briefly anywhere past that. What a great form of mental slavery we’re captured by! We’re only allowed to support the freedom and socialist policies — financial support and subsidization (bailouts), government regulations destroying anything that looks like it’s in the public interest, and so on — present for the rich. The rest of us get by on bread and circuses, with a regular daily clown show called, “politics,” to keep us distracted from our unfree inability to have enough time or energy in the day for anything remotely looking like enterprise. Physical chains and walls and a complete, neo-Fascist Police State, backed by the most up to date surveillance techniques, couldn’t work a fraction as well as the propaganda we’ve been forced to swallow this past half century, and more. Meanwhile, any chance of thinking outside this box is being rapidly eliminated. We can no longer conceive of an “outside” to our broken state. Nothing but endless misery lies ahead while we’re stuck in this ignorance.

  108. Well, the activist/progressive base styles the modern American Democrat as essentially on par with Corbyn’s U.K. Labor Party, and casting their moderate DNC contenders as posh, Tory types. US Republicans don’t even register on this fanciful scale that the luvvies have dreamt up on Twitter.

  109. There is a solution that can neutralize the Electoral College before it is retired, letting Democrats just focus on the best candidate. Trump is much harder for the Russians to elect in 2020 than 2016, but doable even with a larger popular vote deficit given the Electoral College. Trump will likely face a far larger popular vote deficit in 2020. Twitter bots can't vote. The only way he can win is by Russian statecraft analyzing the internal Republican polling data for the Electoral College, and with updated stolen psychographic profiles from social media and machine learning/neural network techniques, they can target the requisite voters in purple states to win with a certain level of statistical confidence. The difference in 2020 is that Democrats know this and can do the exact same thing, but far more easily than can Trump - and without the Russians. The Democratic candidate will likely win the popular vote. What Democrats, private universities and companies must do is use Democratic private polling data, and psychographic profiles from unstructured social media data derived from artificial intelligence techniques, to target the requisite voters in blue, red and purple states to ensure the Electoral College vote is won with a high level of confidence - along with the popular vote. Statistical techniques for evaluating voting irregularities, and paper ballots where they exist, will serve as voter confirmation. We can protect American Democracy now.

  110. It is the lack of adequate education in America that has brought us here and given how shamelessly the GOP is taking advantage of its uneducated base while bastardizing the electoral process, I am not very hopeful.

  111. @Rohan so true if we would take the steps needed to really support education our nation and the world would benefit in so many ways

  112. So centrist Democratic presidential candidates are warning that Warren would turn the U.S. intro France? Examples, please.

  113. @G16 All the candidates who claim her health care plan is socialism and it can't be done. They advocate the status quo of Obama care and don't dare mention the real elephant in the room the unregulated for-profit health care market. Elizabeth's plan would consume how much of the nation's GDP compared to the 18% of GDP we already spend? How much of GDP do we pay for the defense budget?

  114. The median household income & median per capita incomes are almost the same, US vs France.....except you're living in Paris rather than Minneapolis. (Sorry, I spent 100 years in Minnesota one decade.) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Median_income#Gross_median_household_income_by_country Warren is correct: "....if anyone wants to defend...high profits for insurance companies,...for drug companies,...not making the top 1% pay a fair share in taxes,...then I think they're running in the wrong presidential primary." NOTE: Joe Biden's name appears NOWHERE in that quote. Unlike Biden attacking Warren by name, Warren has NOT attacked the other candidates by name, other than to rebut their accusations. If we don't elect Warren President of the US, we're out of our minds. Even Paul Krugman needs to answer the question, "If universal health care would bankrupt the US, how do other nations afford it?" Warren should CERTAINLY be allowed to at least use the Republican Mantra: Like tax cuts, universal health care will pay for itself.

  115. @Johann Smythe Universal health care is not necessarily the same thing as single payer. Universal care can be achieved by single or multiple payers.

  116. @Johann Smythe Sherrod Brown for VP with Bernie or Elizabeth.

  117. @dlb .....I understand. Sorry, I was using the phrase Universal Health Care as a generic catch all.

  118. We need radical change in this country on a large number of issues and we need it really really fast.

  119. This has been going on for a long time, unfortunately. "It ain't right; it ain't American; it's French!"-- Mark Twain. I suspect he may have been joking.

  120. Trump is the #1 threat to America. He has guaranteed votes in 2020, as does whoever is the democratic nominee. The key is to appeal to a small sliver of people who could vote either way or who can be coaxed out of their non-voting stupor to the polls to vote for a democrat. Medicare for All, which has become the defining policy of Elizabeth Warren, does not help. So, forget about Europe.

  121. I respect much of what Dr Krugman says, and agree about 80% of the time, but 2016 was a true teaching moment of what he's espousing now: "One thing I can say, however, is that neither centrism nor progressivism is what it used to be." He wasn't of that opinion then. Even as recently as 2016, it was evident that a bolder choice of policies, and a more strident advocacy of what people actually feel should be the right choice of policy for the nation. It's managed to pan itself out through the advocacy of Warren and Sanders, but Obama was an example of the charisma of character which could sell such changes to the public. Now, it's becoming evident that these are just smart economic policies, and not much more radical than what existed before Reagan. Or even 30 years before that. I think that once we get rid of the fear of having a weak candidate as a celebrity salesperson, and concentrate unflinchingly on policy, then the Democratic Party might be able to take its correct place in electoral victories which have the advocacy of the people behind them. There's nothing weaker - as learned in the 2016 election - than a celebrity candidate espousing weak policy. The American people aren't that dumb.

  122. Do you live in the same America I do? This is the same country where people were eating laundry pods.

  123. Thank you for the defense of Keynesian economics. Without it the us would be in the dumpster. We just don’t acknowledge keynes, but that is what we are doing.

  124. I think Biden is simply saying that about Republicans having an epiphany after Trump just to make Republican voters comfortable about voting for him. I don't think he is that naive.

  125. As always, Krugman again "hits it over the fence". His commentary is unerringly accurate and most importantly - informed. I've traveled widely in Europe. I have European friends. I envy the role that their governments play in their countries. Capitalism needs regulation. Europe has it, the United States not so much. Regardless of the whining rich Republicans.

  126. Well it's too bad the voters that need to read this piece won't. Most don't want to be encumbered with facts and data. I am 65 years old and don't want to vote for a centrist unless they are the Democratic nominee. Then I i will hold my nose and vote for them.

  127. Facts and data means one must use the gray matter between one’s ears. That’s hard. Most people would rather watch some stupid TV show than actually think.

  128. @bluegirlredstate ….yes imagine having to stand in long, long lines to vote for someone you don't like, just to prevent a criminal authoritarian from winning.

  129. @bluegirlredstate I'm 77 and will be doing the same.

  130. centrists=both-siderism=wrong and uninformed

  131. @Kristen leftists=100% purist=lose elections and proud of it

  132. Kinda dressed up some things you wanted to discuss as if they were what people were worrying about when viewing the Democrats try to get a nominee. I'm a left-of-center centrist and my fear, specific to exactly one Presidential Election next year, is that the Dems won't thread the needle and present a candidate who will win enough votes in every state to replace the incumbent. Spare us from candidates who invigorate the base more than they thoughtfully present plans that will attract enough of the majority of voters today - the 40% or so who don't belong to either party.

  133. The question BEGGING to be answered here is why does Paul Krugman undermine Bernie Sanders at EVERY opportunity? He and his paper are ALL IN for Elizabeth Warren... especially after she intimated that she would play ball with the democratic party establishment: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/26/us/politics/elizabeth-warren-democrats.html Dr. Krugman's assessment of Europe is flawed, imo. He lumps together the broadly distributed prosperity and social advances of post-war Europe with the social and economic troubles of the EU-period that he wishes to hide, it seems. He still refuses to recognize the unwanted consequences of the economic globalization he has pushed so hard for. Furthermore, he still sees all societies just in terms of economic theory, leading him to one-size-fits-all prescriptions - usually of high doses of Keynes. He never seems to consider the possibility that maybe the US would profit greatly from more Keynesian approaches, whereas Europe might now suffer from it.

  134. These are all solid points, but one other exceptional characteristic of the United States bears mentioning: the imperviousness of its politics to facts. These facts are all very persuasive to those who still care about facts, but even among Democrats, that's a small minority.

  135. There is no difference between progressives and centrists. A centrist just looks for progress in the third decimal place.

  136. America and Europe were not so far apart politically until the Reagan Revolution and the rise of the modern Republican Party beginning in the 1980s. Even then, the degree to which Red America was leaving the civilized world behind -- and veering off into redneck populism -- was not immediately apparent to the rest of the world in the '80s and '90s because Presidents Reagan, Bush Sr. and Clinton were smooth operators, and much of the damage Republicans were doing was directed within the United States (rather than at the rest of the world). But that changed with the new millennium and the Bush II and Trump Presidencies. I have personally observed the resulting sea change in attitudes about America across the pond, including in my supposedly pro-American native Poland. The good news is that America seems to be at a major turning point, with every year bringing us increasing numbers of Millennial and Generation Z voters replacing Boomers and those older; more and more racial diversity in the electorate; and more and more secular voters. Once this new Democratic majority really takes power, America and Europe will again speak the same language.

  137. Yeah, we’ve been hearing this for a while. It’s taking its sweet time.

  138. "By all means, let’s talk about whether “Medicare for all,” wealth taxes and other progressive proposals are actually good ideas." Progressive media have been trashing Biden for his centrism. Warren is sinking her ship with constant talk about taking away private health insurance. There are no other viable Democratic presidential candidates for the general election. In fact, these two are not really viable. Meanwhile, the stock market is heading for another record high while unemployment numbers remain at record lows. Trump has successfully cowed the Fed. He could very well "solve" the China trade war next year to send the economy completely through the roof. The only real chance for near-term change in America rests with the impeachment inquiry. Nancy Pelosi and the House should keep it going through the election as a constant barrage of negative publicity against Trump. They should not turn it over to the Republican Senate, which will not convict Trump and that will gaslight the voting public into believing that nothing happened that was wrong, except partisan Democrats fomenting divisiveness and subsequently whining that they did not get their way. Honestly, the impeachment inquiry is all that's left to talk about, if we actually think we have any hope of ousting Trump and his GOP enablers next year.

  139. Gosh, I hope your sense of optimism isn't contagious.

  140. The only people that love their private health insurance are the ones who haven’t tried to use it for anything big yet.

  141. If Biden wins and McConnell is re-elected, the first thing that he will say on Inauguration Day is that he wants Biden to be a one term president. McConnell has said that before about the opposition party when we were in the midst of an economic collapse with two wars. They would rather see turmoil than unity.

  142. @Mark Smith Probably true. But after those 4 years of a Biden presidency, many of the Boomers whose political leanings are all over the place will have acquiesced to the younger generations wish to just plain disappear, and they will have been replaced by current 13-16 year olds whose leanings are undoubtedly leftward. I am not a Biden fan (and I see Sanders, but not Warren, as a possible winner this time around) but I can see the value of holding the Republicans at bay for 4 years until the overall voting population is more amenable to Big Change. And I do regard a Charge of the Light Brigade and consequent 4 more years of Trump as possibly the last time I will see (presumably) free and fair elections in this country.

  143. @Mark Smith He will not this time. Last time he did the President was black.

  144. If Krugman and the media would inform Americans about French and European protections for citizens---like how they've financed HC for all for generations---it would give our politics a shot of reality---in instead of more Reality TV political talk. We don’t see French or other citizens doing street protests, in colored vests, against their taxes for their health care, pushing to change to our US high profit model---that leaves out millions and overcharges millions more. Our media must ask our politicians, why not? Let's throw at our politicians these contrasting examples of what’s been working for generations in other capitalist democracies--- with centrist, accepted govt regulation for the public interest. They like profit too, but their political center doesn't make profits the highest priority over citizens lives, health, and financial security. Their courts don't equate big money in politics with 'free speech'. Could Krugman comment on the following? A few dates when countries started HC for All….from True Cost Blog's longer list. Is it too ‘left wing’ to discuss this? How do they do it, PK? If you as a liberal Nobel economist, interested in inequality, can’t tell us, who can? Norway 1912 Single Payer New Zealand 1938 Two Tier UK 1948 Single Payer Canada 1966 Single Payer Netherlands 1966 Two-Tier Finland 1972 Single Payer France 1974 Two-Tier Australia 1975 Two Tier Switzerland 1994 Insurance Mandate

  145. Switzerland has insurance, but they’re required to be not for profit.

  146. @Vasari Winterburg Seems many countries, if not single payer, use insurance mandates as the US does. But unlike the US, their govts regulate the cost of insurance premiums so their citizens can afford them. This is centrist policy, not left wing. Less insurance profits. What's been centrist here is for our govt to protect excessive insurance and pharma profits, thus leaving millions of citizens unprotected by the officials they elect. Medicare can't even negotiate drug costs with pharma. We need our columnists to make it plain how much we differ from other countries.

  147. @Meredith Germany goes back to Bismarck, the 19th century, and has not-for-profit insurance.

  148. Europeans believe that none of their fellow citizens should do without a decent social safety net. Americans believe that their fellow citizens who want any kind of a safety net are no-good freeloaders who refuse to work. This is why we'll never be Europe, because we just don't have the genrosity of spirit towards our fellow citizens that those who live in European nations have towards theirs.

  149. @Mark Lebow Agreed, but that didn't used to be the case. (See: Roosevelt, Franklin, et al). In my lifetime, it was Ronald Reagan who continually told us taxes were bad, government is bad, only privatizing everything is wonderful. Now we're stuck with 40 years of people being born and growing up with that misinformation.

  150. @Mark Lebow Totally agree. I was so shocked (and I'm not trying to be sanctimonious or morally superior here) when I first heard the "I've got mine, why should I care about anyone else?" from an American. It just boggles the mind - you live in a SOCIETY, of course you should be concerned about what your fellow citizens have or don't have. Otherwise how does your society function?

  151. @laurenlee3 That was why Reagan was so awful. A generation of brain washed boomers.

  152. If we as a people and by that I mean all of us at all economic levels agree that our ship of state is on the wrong course we can turn her about and sail into a future over which we at least have a fair and progressive nation. The future of our nation and if we are wise, our continent, will be determined by the unity of trust that must develop if we are to survive. If those who have become wealthy beyond dreams were to be reimbursed for their time effort and knowledge proportionately, the "trickle down" effect would not only eliminate poverty it would bring prosperity to all of us. It is correctly pointed out that Europe is facing a crisis of "political fragmentation and ideological rigidity" and the same thing is happening here. We can stop this. We can open our eyes to the coming winds of change or we can, as we have so often, place our trust in the fictions so freely preached by those who are entirely too willing to accept any reality beyond the only one any of us know.

  153. So good to read Paul Krugman the realist. Most of the reporters and their readers have never heard of true progressivism, because they were never exposed to it in the last 40 or 50 years. Ronald Reagan is what they learn, not Franklin Roosevelt or even Eisenhower, for heaven's sake! It's going to take a lot of educating the angry and disinterested.

  154. @laurenlee3 I wouldn't even call FDR a true progressive, much less Ike. FDR was pushed by true progressives and a fear of revolution into some excellent policies that still benefit us today, and he has never been forgiven by the majority of the billionaire class who have been running things in this country -- running them down -- ever since Reagan.

  155. @Thomas Zaslavsky FDR deserves much more credit than that. I’ve heard the revisionist history that FDR was dragged, kicking and screaming, into the New Deal. That’s simply false. Roosevelt’s post war vision, embodied by his Second Bill of Rights, adopted by him when he was under no economic or political pressure, is a true representation of where his head was at. FDR is THE American progressive.

  156. @Todd We really agree. I would never say "kicking and screaming"; that is some nutty revisionist history. I said he was pressured by circumstances and progressives. FDR was very adaptable and preferred to go towards progression instead of repression. He was a great president, great enough to "welcome" the hatred of the billionaire class (in today's money). Who is that now? Bernie, maybe Warren. I would call FDR "progressive" but not "a progressive", because my definition of the latter is quite strict.

  157. I think I understand in the article what are Progressives and what is Europhobia, however I do no get who are the centrists except as some who reject anything which sounds progressive as well as Europe. If my interpretation is correct, I still need to know if the centrists of the article belong to the democratic party and what percentage they represent. It seems to me that too many "centrists" are getting nervous about a Democratic candidate that can be labeled "progressive" or for that case a socialist. Why is then the Democratic Party allowing Bernie Sanders to run in its primaries. I hope it is not the Democraicc Party the one who is out of touch with reality.

  158. @berale8 The centrists are the democratic establishment of conservative people like Biden. They are centrists because the center has moved to the right. The progressives are the common-sense centrists now.

  159. @ARL I am confused. The center has to be in the middle of something. If it has moved to the right it is not the center of the same thing it was before. Please tell to which center yo refer in each case.

  160. The US fiscal fraud in Europe amounts to 20 % of the EU budget ,equivalent to the EU deficit annually. Why is it never in the US press ? Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Yahoo, Google, Starbucks, Netflix, and others , are not US fiscally registered firms. They are European. They are all in Ireland and Luxemburg because there they can cheat and use tricks to pay no taxes while using the infrastructures, stealing jobs, all advertising business, all competitive markets and invading all the fields of business all over Europe. They pay zero taxes. Just Google repatriated 20 billion dollars in 2018 without paying 1 $ of tax in Europe. Then they use du ious fiduciary transactions through London to get the cash back to the US via the semi illegal off shore banks of the Caribbean. See the Panama papers film... Without the dishonesty of Americans , European workers would be much better and they have to pay for the 20 % stolen by American corporations in an economy based on participation ,for free health care, free education, culture public investment. All things that are unknown to Americans. but when you come play in our game why do you cheat and not respect the rules. They also steal European private data, not respecting the European laws of copyrights, etc...

  161. Not only are today's centrists stuck in the '90s, they're also too ready to accept far right talking points on the economy. They won't stop asking how we can afford Medicare for all but almost never ask how we can afford tax cuts for corporations and the super-wealthy. These centrists may as well be Reagan-era Republicans.

  162. @Eric Caine They’re not? Who keeps having fundraisers with roomfulls of wealthy corporate donors? Who keeps promising to take us back to 2016 while telling the wealthy not to worry, that nothing much will change? Who voted with Republicans on every rollback and gimme?

  163. @Eric Caine That old “ who will pay for it” refrain is tedious if not specious. Every other country pays less for better outcomes than we do. It’s a money saver, but you’d never know it if your following the debate in most media.

  164. @Rima Regas Answer: $tatu$ Quo Joe Biden.

  165. According to The Economist, unemployment in the U.S. is 3.5%. In Germany it’s 3.1%. France is running at 8.5%.

  166. Numbers don’t tell the whole picture. Most of those jobs created in the US are low wage.

  167. Our country has moved so far to the right over the last 40 years that I see centrists as people who think things are mostly fine right now and only incremental changes need to be made. Today's centrists are sit pretty far to the right. I see progressives as people who think we need to erase the last 40 years of economic policy fairly quickly. I think the progressives need to spell out how medical costs, student loans, taxes, corporate wealth, and wages have hurt everybody but the upper classes these last 40 years. I don't know if people in the red states would listen, but the progressives ought to try to get this message through. They need to change the conversation in this country.

  168. @David Biesecker I agree. I agree with Liz; we need significant change. The ideas that she and Benie are touting are seen as center-left in Europe.

  169. @David Biesecker Agree - to add to that, I would suggest that 'incrementalism' is what defeated Clinton: people know that if you're in negotiation over bread, and you ask for half a loaf, you'll get in this climate 1/6 of a loaf. You might as well ask for a full loaf. Anything else is a shivering cowardice on policy that marked the horrid 90's in Democratic think-tank-thinking.

  170. @networthy On social issues, the country has slowly moved slowly forward, though woman's issues have been going backwards lately. The same can be said of LGBT issues. I was talking about economic issues.

  171. I believe part of the problem is a failure to communicate. A failure to effectively communicate progressive values and policy. Instead, others, whether Republicans or Centrists, have communicated what a progressive is and the dangers they pose. Progressives have lost control of their own narrative and what they strand for. A good example is immigration. The current progressive narrative on immigration is that progressives want open borders. Even I sometimes wonder if certain progressives do want open borders? Or do progressives want a responsible immigration system where immigrants are treated fairly and compassionately, but still have to meet certain requirements, The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 was a bipartisan immigration reform bill that would have provided legal status and a path to citizenship for many undocumented immigrants, while increasing border security. It passed the Senate, but failed in the House of Representatives. Progressive candidates would go a long way towards countering the scare tactics of Trump if they would state they do not in any way propose open borders, but would support something like the BSEOIMA of 2013.

  172. The unemployment rate in France is 8.4% versus 3.6% in the US. Growth is so pitiful in Europe that the 10 year bond has a negative interest rate. At least Macron is trying to reverse the socialist policies. Let's trade Warren for him.

  173. @Blair A Miller: A better measure than unemployment rate, which does not count folks who are not seeking employment, is labor participation rate. By that measure, assuming Prof. K is correct, Europe and France are doing better than the U.S. Also, France has a lower population growth rate than the U.S. I wonder how the GDP growth, per capita, compare between the USA and France.

  174. @Blair A Miller , while our unemployment rate may be lower, we also suffer from a glut of low paying service jobs, jobs that in many cases are simply not providing a living wage. Even the much bandied $15.00 an hour minimum wage wouldn't get an individual enough to buy or rent a closet in most of the major metropolitan regions of the two coasts of the United States, or even the metropolitan centers of much of the interior of the country. And even if you could afford to rent an apartment on such a salary for, say, $1,000 a month, you ain't going to have much left over for food and clothing...and God forbid, a car payment. And you sure aren't going to be able to put yourself or your kids through college. Oh, I know, I know, there are always the noteworthy and heart-warming exceptions. , the modern day hard-working Joads who can live on water-soaked bread and save for a rainy day. But let's get something straight: that 3.6% unemployment rate papers over a lot of misery out there.

  175. The unemployed in France don’t have to worry about affording health care or paying off high interest student loans. The employed in the USA still may not be able to afford health care or college even when working 2 or 3 low wage jobs which are the majority of all jobs in the USA

  176. Western Europeans are better off than Americans, unless the latter happen to "weigh" $3 million for a couple and $5 million for a small family. Then, they may actually look French and perhaps even speak it.

  177. @Marco Avellaneda Got me here. Oui, Oui. Grew up in France, worked in the US for 20 years saved money bought a few houses and moved to Canada. Cause even with millions, I am not looking forward to grow old in the US.

  178. Ok, talking about whether the most progressive ideas are actually good ideas is fine (I happen to think they are), but can we also talk about what is actually doable in our culture with our situation and our government? I would call myself a practical liberal rather than a centrist. My concern is that Sanders, Warren et al are preaching a place the country won't go. Too often attempts to have it all end up in having nothing (or having Trump until 2024 which is far worse than having nothing).

  179. @Anne-Marie Hislop On the point!

  180. @Anne-Marie Hislop Exactly! Progressives seem to think that the unique awfulness of Trump and his unpopularity means they can finally have every policy idea on their fantasy wish list. The sky's limit! They can't, and it's not.

  181. @Anne-Marie Hislop If the country won't go there, then they won't win the primary. Much as I love Sanders' platform (IMO he doesn't go far enough but no one would) and while there may have been some fingers on the scales in 2016, he did lose the primary. The D voters chose the centrist (or the pragmatic liberal) and the rest of the country/electoral college gave us Trump. This could happen again no matter what. We should all vote whoever we feel comfortable with. Nothing else to do - this discussion on the Internet is always fun but it doesn't move the needle especially writing from places like Chicago or NYC. What I think is more important is that we should agree to support the D nominee no matter what. If we did, then it won't be an issue. Already I hear so many people saying "If it's Warren, then I'll stay home or vote for Trump." Then go for it is what I'd say - you deserve Trump if that's your attitude. It means the country hasn't suffered enough yet and hasn't hit rock bottom. Likewise with the Warren/Sanders voters who may stay home if Biden wins. In 2016, a fraction (let's say 10% - I think this is close to right) of Sanders voters stayed home. In 2008, a similar (slightly larger) fraction of Clinton voters stayed home instead of voting for Obama. Obama overcame this due to the minority support but could Biden? Both sets of voters are an issue. If Warren wins the primary fair and square, and then if the country still chooses someone else, it's their problem.

  182. Another problem with today's centrists is that they lean toward the right. Hence, their paranoia about social justice, income re-distribution, "socialist" health care and policies that have given European countries a better quality of life. Today's centrists lack what they were best known for in the past - objectivity, balanced approaches and critical thinking. The greatest economic debacle of the past two decades has been the worsening income disparity. Whatever faults maybe ascribed to progressives, centrists are unwilling to respond to this emergency.

  183. @Nav Pradeepan "The greatest economic debacle of the past two decades has been the worsening income disparity." Is that so? And why has that been the greatest economic debacle? Progressives just assume this to be true. But it isn't. Income inequality is not as big a deal as progressives imagine it to be. But let's just suppose that it is. The reasons progressives give about its cause and their proposals for its cure are often wrong. Even if the causal mechanisms are targeted, the "cures" would often be worse than the disease they're attempting to remedy. And why are we putting scare quotes around "socialist"? That's exactly what it is. Does Bernie Sanders use scare quotes? Progressives should try it without them from now on; at least then they'd be more honest. Do progressives imagine that none of the rest of us care about the world? Disagreeing with progressive policies somehow turns one into an avaricious and malicious demon. Progressives can label their policies however they wish, socialist, capitalist, Rastafarian. I have my own way of labeling them. It's very simple. Here goes: bad.

  184. @Nav Pradeepan Here in Quebec we can look across the border to see how ill prepared America is to serve its people. The cost of good schools, good healthcare and a society that provides for everyone is high but the cost of poor healthcare, poor education and ever increasing alienation is catastrophic. If you told me Canadians would have a higher standard of living than American in 1980 I would have asked for some of whatever you were smoking.

  185. Maybe it’s not such a big deal to you because you aren’t one of those trying to live on an inadequate income.

  186. Centrists are what rich Democrats call candidates that won't make them decide between voting for their money or voting for their country.

  187. I consider myself progressive liberal of the center, but I do not classify as such any of the Democratic pretenders to the throne, and of course none of their Republican equivalents. The current crop of Democratic candidates is an assemblage of radically open socialists or crypto-socialists, with a strong following of militant vegans and promoters of recreational use of cannabis. God save the USA from them and their ilk.

  188. What do you have against Medicare for all and free college education? Why can’t Americans have what citizens of every other first world nation have had for decades?

  189. @Tuvw Xyz It's a binary choice. Four more years of Trump and the Gang of Kleptocrats, or one of the Democrats. My preference is for Elizabeth Warren. Let's get back to where we thought we were economically in 1980, with some social improvements. Like Medicare for all.

  190. @Zejee, just to be clear, what's been proposed about higher education costs is zero tuition at public universities and colleges, not "free college education."

  191. When you see billionaires crying at the thought Elizabeth Warren might make them pay more in taxes, you know you are dealing with people who have a skewed view of the world. (And why does Michael Bloomberg think only another billionaire can defeat Trump?) All those people who want to go back to the good old days when America was the unquestioned leader of the free world and the unchallenged economic giant have forgotten A) the rest of the world was still recovering from World War II, and B) the tax rates Eisenhower had to work with. These days Eisenhower would be seen as a communist.

  192. That was absolutely disgusting to watch a billionaire cry because he might have to pay a few more percentage points in taxes. There’s plenty of people in this country who have something real to cry about. The homeless, people who can’t afford the medicine to keep them alive, families bring bankrupted because Grandma needs dementia care & they can’t afford it. Those are people who have something to cry about. No billionaire is going to have to change their lifestyle because of these taxes. They will still be fabulously wealthy.

  193. From my experience, it appears most of the people afraid of free college and widening the safety net (if they aren’t rich) don’t own passports.

  194. I kinda think the idea of this article is outdated. I talk politics every day with everyday people and I haven’t heard anything about the US becoming too European in years. The last time I heard my contemporaries talk about France was having to do with freedom fries.

  195. @Allen J Not hearing about the dangers of European Socialism? You don't live in a Red state; This is one of the more popular memes among the "educated" (Edamacated?) voters around here. We can't be like Denmark (Never mind Arkansas has a population SMALLER than any of the Scandinavian countries); We don't want none of that commie socialism. (Honest); Well, you get the picture. So they elect clueless ideologues like Tom Cotton, who seems NOT to have been broadened in any useful way by his government funded foreign travel.

  196. Another problem in Europe: Population decline. This, i In addition, to deficit-phobia, is causing economic problems for Europe. In fact, Germany has the oldest average population in the world.

  197. How is this a problem when there are plenty of immigrants

  198. Seems to me there’s an easy fix to that, more immigration.

  199. We hear constant negative talk about European citizens paying high taxes. But let's define---what is a 'TAX'? The big fees we Americans must pay to high profit insurance, pharma and hospitals function as a TAX. We must pay, or we don't get the crucial services we need for our life and health. This is levied by corporations, not the govt we elect to represent our interests. The corporations that levy health care taxes for their profits, and other expenses on us all, also make our elected officials dependent on their $$ donations to conduct campaigns. Then our own highest court legalizes this money as 'free speech--- while it drowns out the voice of average citizens. Our biggest campaign expense is said to be the high cost political advertising on media, needing big donors to fund. Many countries ban the paid political ads on their media that swamp our voters. They don't want their political discourse to be directed by high-profit, special interests. See Wikipedia. Many ripple effects. When will economist Krugman and other NYT columnists include these huge factors in their columns, as they lament our politics?

  200. The United States of America, the land of Perception Management run by corporate America, and its wealthiest elites, specifically for corporate America and its wealthiest elites, engaged in a 24/7/365 several decades-long campaign of disenfranchisement of the poor and the middle-class, using every imaginable tactic, especially perception management, via the mainstream media, to keep the masses in a constant state of fear, so they can be manipulated into voting against their own best interests. This is why today our nation is so badly divided, with a level of inequality the likes of which we have never seen, with rural America poverty stricken and unlikely to recover, tens of millions of Americans no longer looking for work, and tens of millions more barely existing on subsistence type wages, unaffordable and no healthcare, crumbling infrastructure, and no real hope for any sustainable change. And now Bloomberg, another sometimes Republican, sometimes Democrat, depending on how effective the perception management programs have worked, may step into the game, obviously courted by the Republican-Lite Pelosi Schumer democrats, shaken badly by the reaction to Joe Biden, in an all or nothing effort to keep Warren or Bernie Sanders from restoring a true representative democracy here in our dying Republic. Yes indeed, the American dream, become the American nightmare.

  201. Our problems are so huge that we need bold new strategies to fix them. I'm talking about the impending catastrophe that is climate change, our aging population that will need more and more long term care, the income and wealth gap that if allowed to continue could destroy capitalism and our lack of policies that will address the shortage of workers for both skilled and unskilled jobs. The shortage of workers in many communities and in many job areas is huge and growing. Shortages such as doctors in rural areas, skilled workers in the building industries and the lack of qualified teachers in many small towns. A smart immigration policy could solve some of these shortages but the prejudice and fear on the part of members of one party in this country keeps us from being able to move forward on this issue. If these impending problems are not addressed Americans will have no one to blame but themselves for not paying attention and getting involved. Most adult citizens care so little that they can't even be bothered to vote at a time when citizens of many other countries are dying for that same right. Shame on us.

  202. The only problem with Dr. Krugman's analysis is that whether Democrats agree on Medicare for All or other progressive programs, there are still Republicans running the Senate and it is not even conceivable that any of these worthy programs can get 60 votes in the Senate, even if the Democrats keep the house and make some gains in the Senate. Why should the Democrats push programs they can't conceivably pass when those very programs are the ones that give the GOP their "socialist" talking points and the ones that may drive away voters who are on the fence?

  203. @Mark: We don't need 60 votes in the Senate for everything. A simple majority can pass a budget reconciliation measure that addresses major issues, as long as the measure clearly affects the budget and stays within established limits of budget impact. That's how the R's passed the absurd tax cut bill.

  204. Democrats only need to win 4 seats to flip the Senate. Dream bigger and vote! Maybe even put some money into the race and help make a difference.

  205. Macro economic metrics are important, and Paul Krugman is certainly ideally positioned to judge on the overall health of economic and governance systems, but I am glad he is also considering the quality of life of individuals as a critical element, which is often ignored in the US where politicians tend to emphasize material wealth and spending power over other considerations. In fairness, the two elements cannot be dissociated. A minimum of material wealth is necessary to have a good life, but good health and pleasant and safe living conditions are also absolutely essential for each and every human being.

  206. @Fly on the wall "the quality of life" I sometimes wonder if Americans understand this concept. More vacation time... longer life expectancy... no worries about losing everything because of illness. That's worth a lot! But don't imagine that Europeans don't have money. The median French family has a higher after-redistribution revenue than the median American family. "Average" is pointless with billionaires in the mix. Before-redistribution bears little ressemblance to the real world.

  207. Centrist have been pretty uninspiring. Biden in particular. If the message is that the Obama years were great, you should realize many people voted for Trump because it did not feel like that to them. We need bold reforms and new blood. Incrementalism should not the goal, it can be tactic for some things but without a bold long view, incrementalism leads to dead ends. De-carbonizing the economy within 30 years is a bold goal we can get close to meeting if we have the courage of taking the first steps. Stopping tax dollar support for Oil and Gas production and re-investing those dollars into infrastructure to improve our energy efficiency and carbon foot print. Oil and Gas wants to still be in the game, have them sequester their CO2 emission and support base electric load where there is no hydro power to use as a production buffer. Get them to invest in sea base green electricity productions …. Lets send some strong market signals that the future is coming and it will not be written by the ones with their head in the sand.

  208. The unemployment rate in Spain, Italy, Greece is unacceptable to any American. Europe doesn’t outlaw private insurance completely Europe has a lot of soft protections of their auto and agriculture industries. Europe doesn’t pay full price for pharmaceuticals or defense. A lot of younger people in EU are on contract and not full time employees of the companies they work for.

  209. There are a lot of gig workers here, too. And we don’t have near the social safety net to help those workers when they need it.

  210. Why single out Spain, Italy, Greece? And American industries also receive protections. And have you heard of 'gig culture'? That's what work is for lots of young Americans. Your concerns are overblown.

  211. I love Sanders and Warren, but they would do better to argue for a public option rather than MFA. The Euro is a disaster. Europe is trying to be both one country and many. You can't have it both ways. You're either one or the other. And stop calling it "stimulus". What countries need to do is eliminate the "fiscal drag" of not printing enough money to account for the trade deficit and private sector savings desires. Trade deficits are good things. They mean you are getting more real goods and services than you are giving out. All other countries are getting is your currency, and you can control what they are allowed to buy from your country in the future.

  212. Hear, hear! Thank you Paul. Just a couple of quibbles though. Firstly I don't think it's right to point out "that European nations have lower G.D.P. per capita than we do" without mentioning that median incomes and wealth are generally higher in European countries than in the US (or in other words that income and wealth inequality is lower). I know I don't have to tell you that medians rather than means (or averages) give a more accurate picture of the reality for most people of a community; and that relative differences in status are imbued with greater significance in the reasoning of most human persons than absolute differences. Secondly I think it's fair for all to give France a bit of a whack. Considering its high tax take and social spending as a percentage of GDP, it should be doing much better according to some important political, social and economic indicators than it is. It might be doing better according to most of them than the US, but it is doing worse according to some of them than other countries with similar levels of taxation and social spending such as Denmark and Sweden (e.g. social progress, opportunity, happiness). Could it be because it's actually rated as a worse democracy than the US? (#29 compared to #25 for US - and #5 for Denmark and #3 for Sweden). Seriously, what gives France?

  213. We have had enough of the disastrous Neo-Con policies of the Democratic Leadership Council under Clinton which led to growing inequality and wars of aggression abroad. These establishment Democrats like Biden and Clinton serve as enablers for Wall Street, the military industrial complex, and led us to the disastrous Trump regime.

  214. There are basically 3 major systematic problems that the US must face to avoid failing as a nation in the not too distant future: 1) Gross income inequality 2) Climate change 3) An out of control health care system. Centrists acknowledge the problems but ignore the urgency. In the last 40 years little has been done to ensure that those problems will not get worse. Progressive may be too ambitious, face enormous political hurdles but understand the urgency. One question centrists should answer: how long will it take with their go slow approach to actually make a dent in the above problems? In particular how will we get to zero greenhouse emissions by 2050, how will they make sure the cost of medical care will not increase faster than inflation, and how do they see reducing income inequality in the lifetime of those forming families today?

  215. @Serban Excellent, concise assessment. Those are the three issues Democrats should hammer home and leave the other items in the progressive agenda, as important as some are, for another day. No more Hillary "shopping lists"! When people vote, they need only two or three good reasons to vote for a candidate.

  216. @Serban. I would add a fourth one: the cost of higher education. Student loans are shackling our youth right from the start.

  217. I really appreciate Paul's perspectives but on this column I take issue. We need to keep our eyes on the primary goal of this election: defeating Trump. Look at the broad view: all the Democratic candidates are strong on healthcare, environment, equality and justice; they differ on how to best achieve these positive policy goals. I consider myself a Centrist, and contra to some of the comments, I have never voted Republican and despise their political philosophy nor do have "Europhobia." Can we please avoid the stereotyping? The reality many progressives fail to accept is that this country as a whole is not nearly as liberal as they seem to think. If elected, which is unlikely, Warren or Sanders would need a Democratic majority in both Senate and House, which at this point seems iffy, to get her "plans" implemented. The reality is to win we need a more balanced approach that will appeal to moderates/centrists and independents. We need to win the presidency; keep the House; and take the Senate. That's a big order. We need a candidate with broad appeal, not a "revolution."

  218. From the start, I had a problem with Warren’s Mandatory Medicare For All and I have bigger problem with it now after I’ve been diagnosed with DCIS non invasive breast cancer . My course of treatment will be a mastectomy and reconstruction. Hopefully , if they don’t find any cancer after examining all the breast tissue remover after surgery , I’ll be spared chemotherapy or radiation . After my diagnosis I then spent the next week doing research online reading dr reviews to find a breast surgeon with skill and a heart . After the first one ( that my medical group assigned to me who was horrible ) , and another one who was totally aggressive and mean , I found the most wonderful kind and knowledge surgeon for my care . It has made all the difference in the world in putting me at ease and giving me the confidence I need to move forward . And I preferred a woman . What if all we had was a government plan ? Would I still be able to shop around for the surgeon I wanted , not one that was “ assigned “ to me ? Would I be able to pick my own plastic surgeon for the reconstruction? Or have to take what they give me . I know I pay a lot for my health ins but I want to get the dr I want , not the next government dr in line . Maybe I would be able to pick my dr , I don’t know because Warren hasn’t said anything about that . My view is let’s put it into use as an “option” . Then people can see how it works and buy into it if they choose .

  219. So wrong on many levels. Why is the doctor you want the most expensive one? I noticed that in certain circles, automatically believing if a doctor is not expensive he cannot be good, a direct result of our medical system.

  220. @Sue My husband and I have had standard Medicare for eight years through several heart episodes, skin cancer/cosmetic surgery and garden variety ailments. We have always picked our own doctors and hospitals. We have never encountered a physician of any kind who would not accept Medicare. I have heard Sanders say explicitly that physician choice is assured.

  221. Um, since when have we been able to pick the doctor we want with private insurance? We have to pick whomever takes our insurance. If your insurance changes, you have to find a new doctor. If we had single payer, every doctor would take it and we really could see whomever we wanted to.

  222. One of Krugman's best columns in a long time. Hard to go wrong with assuming that American political pundits evoking another part of the world (among numerous other instances!), " have no idea" what they're "talking about." But the column does not assume that. It shows it quite convincingly.

  223. Krugman is right but the issue he is arguing is beside the point. Getting rid of Trump is the only urgent priority, and running on policies that jeopardize a Democratic victory is the biggest example of being out of touch. Krugman is out of touch.

  224. Selecting a candidate by determining what policies will lead to a victory over Trump is a fully subjective endeavor and an impossible one to accomplish. What’s worse is that it is also the strategy Trump wants his opponent to project: fear. As in: “I’m afraid if we don’t run a candidate with these views, then we will lose.” Let’s let the primary voters decide what policies are best, then help get out the vote. We can count on Trump being vitriolic to whomever gets the nomination. That’s a given.

  225. So you like being progressive or what I would call; caring and generous, you know, Like Jesus Christ who fed the hungry and healed the afflicted. Well, I do too. Take your examples for instance of the high price of Broadband and fossil fuels. Republicans have traditionally served the interests of profits over people. The F.C.C. Chairman who oversees broadband is a former Verizon attorney. Do you think that having so many corporate servants accustomed to the pressures of profits are going to serve the interests of the customers? Or how about Trump's first Secretary of State was former Exxon chief Rex Tillerson whose was responsible for international commerce. Oil is big. The Republicans repealed the long standing ban on exporting American crude oil to make a fast buck while leaving no national strategic resources for their own children. Another case in point is Trump the trasher who will pollute the air and water his own kids have to have. But your argument is the conflict between centrists and progressives in the Democratic party. So what's wrong with that? That means as the Republicans believe in their strategy of It takes a pillage, we are infighting, just what they wanted. Begin with the premise that Democrats are good caring people who focus on the needs of all Americans whereas the Republicans only seek to enrich their own at the expense of all others. We have to look past common party rivalries and save the nation from Conservatism.

  226. I am from Spain living in the USA for almost 60 years. I have come to the conclusion that the laws and the social welfare system in Europe can naot be established in the USA beacuse they ar different entities. The US is a Federal System while the EU is similar to a Confederation. Universal and Public heallth care was established in each EU country from more than 60 year, and is part of their culture, history and tradition. paradoxically in Spain was established during the right wing dictatorship of Franco. The centrists and right wing in Europe support it! In the USA its not possible on the Federal level and should be adopted by each state.

  227. Question, Mr. Krugman: Out of dozens of capitalist democracies, under varied systems, which ones have HC plans similar to Warrens and to Sanders? Compare/contrast the financing and protections, here and abroad. This is the informative coverage we lack, that an economist could give to US voters. Abroad, they're not all single payer. If insurance mandates, they have crucial regulations by elected govts, to keep premiums affordable for the majority. Our elected govts do not give this to Americans. Is that too left wing to even discuss here? Do EU conservative parties oppose this, and run on a GOP style high profit HC system? What are insurance company profits like in other democracies with HC for all, vs in US? If Krugman can't write about that, who can? Analyze the terms " pragmatic and workable" in our politics. Are insurance profits pragmatic, but Health Care for All is not? Who decides? Voters need concrete, simple comparisons, from the candidates and the media: What average Americans are forced to spend--net-- on HC without Warren’s plan VS with it. Give examples of real people at many income levels. Compare to same people in other capitalist democracies. Compare each US candidate's proposals by this yardstick. We need reality, not Reality TV media.

  228. Mr. Krugman cites France but Italy and Greece are in Europe too. Also I am a medical doctor, won no Nobel prizes, but I do know that the explanation given by Mr. Krugman would win him no Nobel prize in Medicine; namely that differences in life expectancy ( which has, incidentally, has risen enormously in USA in last two decades) between nations does not have an easy explanation. There are many factors to consider: population groups, severity of opioid use, diet, exercise. He offers no science to back his claim. Ovarian cancer survival is much higher in U.S. than England and I have seen many Europeans at Memorial-Sloan Kettering and my English friends tell me of long waits for procedures. These facts also prove nothing. Mr. Krugman should stick to economics and politics. He may not have any idea about whether Warren would do better than Biden. Maybe he should also look at polls this week in battleground states where Biden wins and Warren loses. Maybe then he'd have an idea.

  229. None of this should come as any surprise when politicians and the media are still throwing around Red-Scare terminology and tactics that Joe McCarthy was using in the 1950s. It's been over 60 years since McCarthy pulled his garbage on the American public but we still trot out his scandalous methodology to try and ruin the likes of Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren or the Representatives known as The Squad. Most embarrassing of all is the lack of understanding by the American electorate. With little desire to do even a small amount of research into the plans or policies of the candidates we are destined to continue along a path with little to no real change.

  230. One of Warren's potential talking points, and one she should emphasize more, is her role in the creation of the consumer protection agency and its effectiveness in its operation under Obama. I'm not sure Europe has anything like that, but this agency is American made and designed to protect working people. And it is suffering under the Trump administration. The rhetoric may sound socialist, but the reality is home grown American.

  231. To answer your question, yes this exists in Europe as well. Some counties even take it way beyond the American model.

  232. @Eero The CFPB was not really that successful under Warren. If you measure success in terms of word count in new rules and regulations, then yes. But the actual impact of was minimal and in many cases counterproductive. If she runs on that record, she will be easily torn to shreds.

  233. @Eero There's nothing "socialist" about making sure people don't get cheated.

  234. "Europeans actually have significant vacation time and hence work fewer hours per year. This sounds like a choice about work-life balance, not an economic problem." Absolutely correct. My present employer provided me with 9 weeks vacation as soon as I started. In Holland we have legal protections against vindictive or capricious employers. Here, employees are not afraid of their employers.

  235. America is headed for a severe crisis. Too many people are living too close to their financial edge. Nothing in our culture encourages saving to deal with job loss, medical needs, or even retirement. Banks advertise how to use our money for pleasure and are tripping over themselves to give us loans. Having health insurance is not the same as being covered when it comes to how it works nowadays. We can't even save for retirement because we have college loans to pay off, rent to pay, food to buy, utility bills and credit card bills. Our salaries have not kept pace with the actual cost of living. That tax overhaul the GOP passed in 2017 did exactly nothing for 99% of us. We refuse to spend money where it's needed but go out of our way to penalize those caught in the problems our stinginess has created. Arrest homeless people for loitering. Wreck their encampments. But don't change zoning laws or build decent affordable housing. Call people stupid for going to payday lenders but don't change why they go. Say that Americans are lazy or want to be unemployed but don't look at why they can't find jobs. Accuse them of being lousy patients while ignoring the rhino in the room: it's become too hard to figure out what's covered and what's not. Watch as the GOP defends its own inhumane actions and weep. We vote for these policies because of who we put into office. If we don't like them we have to vote better. 11/7/2019 7:32pm first submit

  236. @hen3ry If you run for a political role, I’d vote for that platform!

  237. @hen3ry I wish I could recommend your comment more than once.

  238. @hen3ry Great post! As an aside, those 'nattering nabobs of negativity' saying Amerikans lack choice have it wrong; we still have many choices... - Casket or urn - Paper or plastic - Rent or mortgage - Taxes or prison - Submit to authority or die ... and so on...

  239. This column, and the ensuing discussion among readers, reminds me of medieval theologians arguing about how many angels will fit on the head of a pin. We have only one existential goal, one categorical imperative—that is to beat Trump. Every other issue, including healthcare, can wait to be resolved after the election. To beat Trump, the Democrats must win 270 votes in the Electoral College. That outcome will be decided in three to six battleground states—so-called because their voters are evenly split in party loyalty—and where the result will turn on a relatively small group of moderate voters, so-called swing voters. Some such are Obama-Trump voters; others may be suburban Republicans. The Democrats won over these moderate voters in 2018 by focusing on kitchen table issues, so-called because they are the issues that the voters, themselves, would raise in a discussion around their kitchen tables. Prominent among these were jobs, income gap, Social Security and healthcare. The Democrats flipped 40 Republican districts to gain control of the House in 2018. They did so by focusing on these pocketbook issues, and avoiding 1) divisive cultural issues, 2) attacks on Trump and 3) grandiose, expensive-sounding policy proposals. Isn’t it time, Prof. Krugman, that you began to discuss the lessons of 2018, and how to apply them in 2020? Unless we win, all our discussions of healthcare and other social policies will be seen as having been the idle chatter of a privileged elite.

  240. @Ron Cohen Alternate theory -- outcome in those states will depend on the enthusiasm of the dems who do the ground work -- the young and the committed. If they don't believe the candidate will deliver meaningful change, then there won't be a big turnout and low turnout guarantees a trump victory.

  241. @Ron Cohen Winning will be pyrrhic at best unless the country of Rip Van Winkle wakes up to the fact that the world is much better than it ever was. Trump is not the problem he is but a symptom of what the GOP has wrought since the passage of the Civil Rights act in 1964. Even overpopulation has been remedied and we are at maximum population and the world's population is set to start decreasing. We believe too many things that just ain't so. We have the technological that will cure us of our dependency on fossil fuels but the oiligarchs and plutocrats and oil sheikhs control the rudder.

  242. @Montreal Moe "Even overpopulation has been remedied and we are at maximum population and the world's population is set to start decreasing. " Hmmm....Last I heard/read, the human population will reach 9 or perhaps 10 billion before it starts decreasing. Would be happy to read your source/s.

  243. I want to discuss your second question: "Which choice would give the party the best chance in next year’s election?" because I believe the nation and our global interests will be better served if the message "builders" focus their intellectual energy on electing a Democratic majority in the Congress. When I think about the Constitution and its design for representative government (republic, states vs federal responsibilities, separation of powers, and the specific responsibilities of the Executive, the Senate, the House, and the Courts, and how our laws are made, I have concluded that we must give more more attention to fielding and supporting highly qualified candidates for the Congress. One third of the Senate, 33 seats and 435 House seats are in the contest in 2020, and it is absolutely imperative for the people of this country to realize that we must encourage Democrats with qualities that all admire to run for the Senate and the House. Candidates who know their districts and their states and have the capability to make the most persuasive case for how they can address the needs of their districts and States. If all the people with respected reputations show up at the candidate's state and district rally's, town halls, etc. and contribute to creating a "good government" message to address the needs of their States and districts, I can promise you that "We the People" will put this country on the correct course. So I hope the Times will give more ink to the Congress.

  244. @james jordan President Trump seems to have a strong base and one indisputable component of that base is the G.O.P. members of the Congress who supported: (1) the Jobs and Tax Cut Act that worsened income inequality in the country and also slowed the economy, (2) the repeal of major trade treaties and unilateral imposition of tariffs, that destabilized the economy, (3) dropping our nuclear control agreement with Iran, (4) rolling back the environmental controls that were enacted to improve the condition of our air, water, and soil, (5) denying global warming and delaying the implementation of mitigation strategies, and (6) messaging support of cultural and ethnic positions that intensified the divisions in our society. It would seem that the interests of this Nation would be better served if the the G.O.P members of the U.S. Senate were held accountable and turned out of office. This is the most urgent goal of the 2020 elections. Can you imagine what would have happened if the House had not gained a majority in 2018?

  245. Recent studies have shown just how abysmally ignorant most Americans are of the wealth disparity here. Completely clueless, their minds are still stuck in the 1950's, and when asked to depict what they feel is a reasonable wealth divide, they invariably describe what prevails in Scandinavia. It's ironic that the people who are most disparaging of the European system are people who haven't been there, but are just reciting Fox talking points. Of those that definitely have been there, the plutocrats see the writing on the wall and will join forces with Trump's backwoodsmen, while the remainder will go with Warren or Sanders. I only hope that those two can make their case to all Americans and not just their supporters, something which our Twitterized, corporate debate format does not allow.

  246. @stan continople The main harm of wealth disparity is that it seems so unfair. But if nobody knows about it the main harm doesn't exist. And you're just reciting a talking point like those you attack. This raises the proverbial question of whether, if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

  247. @michjas So, if a group of people were starving, yet one of them was holding out and hoarding food, as long as no one knew, that would be fine? It's only the knowledge of it that makes it objectionable? Not exactly my definition of civilization, but I'm sure the current resident of the White House would agree with you 100%.

  248. @stan continople Most Americans are also abysmally ignorant about European health care systems because our mainstream media is either also ignorant or too lazy to give them the facts. One of those facts is that not all of the most advanced countries have single payer, Medicare for All systems. Several use the German “Bismarck” private health insurance model. That model has been working well for Germany since the late 1800s and has been successfully adopted but the Netherlands, Switzerland, Japan and Belgium. We should have been discussing the pros and cons of the different approaches to universal health care, not being misled into thinking there is only one viable option. Whatever system we eventually chooses government oversight will be key to making sure providers don’t cheat.

  249. I will not vote for any candidate who will not support Medicare for All. Why can’t Americans have what citizens of every other first world nation have had for decades? Why shouldn’t we invest our tax dollars in our health care and our children’s education—instead of more trillions thrown at our bloated military industrial complex?

  250. Almost no country has something equivalent to Medicare for All. What high functioning countries have is health is health insurance for all. Why is this one solution the only one you will support?

  251. @Zejee We can't have those things because they are politically unfeasible. Saying you plan to do something you know you can't is a way to win the nomination and lose the general election. Candidates should be saying, "I will try to get Medicare for all because that's who I am. I probably won't be able to pull it off and I'm telling you that up front because that's also who I am." There should be an array of fall back plans.

  252. @Zejee Instead of being so fixated on Medicare for all, how about health insurance for all using Medicare as another option to private coverage. Then the market will show which is best.

  253. Excellent analysis - unfortunately many and perhaps the majority of voters don't have a clue what you're talking about. The dilemma is desperately trying to replace Trump without losing sleep the day after the election. That means no Sanders or Warren. Biden is questionable.

  254. Thank you for this international perspective. What I hope Democratic "centrists" take away is that developed economies expand and contract regardless of how many benefits their citizens enjoy and, although you didn't mention it, I assume how much in taxes, within limits, they pay for those benefits. The American economy did not collapse when Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, the minimum wage and unemployment insurance were enacted to put a floor under capitalism. They did not kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. To the contrary, a case could be made those safety net programs added some eggs to the basket. Certainly, the GI Bill was instrumental in growing our middle class The centrists stoke voter fear of "structural change" because they are themselves afraid. Fear never got us to a better place.

  255. We "of an older age" know well the nightmares that arose in the older European cultures from newsreels, movies, history books, school, and Television. But did we learn? No. Americans elected Trump and his opportunistic operators. So, it seems there is no history learned to avoid the pitfalls, but that the public is either not focused enough, or can't compute the fact that history repeats itself because people repeat their knowledge of history. I write that the European model is a much more mature learned result of those nightmares, so it is we that should emulate European social economic models rather than subscribe to the backwards centrist and conservative comforts with the way it always was, which was a nightmare. Think of Progressives, centrist, and conservatives as a car. The kids want to race down the road to the future, the centrists are in the back seat passively enjoying the ride, and the conservatives are the parents telling the kids not to go fast and be home by eleven. All things in moderation they say. The Democratic party succumbed to the oldest strategy of divide and conquer. We are victimized by an opportunistic Republican party that seeks to rob the future as we make it better. Shouldn't the party factions huddle and devise a unified strategy to defeat the locusts that are the Republicans?

  256. As someone with family in Europe and who spends a decent amount of time there, I've often wondered why we choose to ignore the benefits so many European countries provide their citizens. We certainly have the resources to do so despite our country's gargantuan size. But to the other point of Krugman's column: Though I'm not convinced a centrist could win in 2020, it's certainly a possibility, but then what? Go back to the status quo that gave us Trump? Trump is a symptom of a deeper affliction ailing America; sweeping it under the rug by simply returning to the status quo will, I suspect, result in another despotic right-wing demagogue down the line, perhaps this time a competent one. The progressive candidates are actually proposing solutions that, whatever you may think of them, are aimed at tackling the deep structural imbalances in American society. Health care, education, inequality, the fact that we are increasingly ruled by plutocrats. What are centrists offering beside not-Trump? Their mantra seems to have become "no we can't." How is that going to inspire people to the polls? How is that going to inspire the Democratic base? How is that going to inspire the proverbial Obama-Trump voter disillusioned by Trump's empty promises to vote blue again? By promising him the same old stuff that caused him to pull the lever for Trump in the first place? Maybe the centrists would be better served moving to the left for a change, rather than expect progressives to move right.

  257. Greetings from Bavaria. We usually have 30 work holidays plus 13 public holidays. We earn 20-30% less, but have free schools, (almost) free universities, public transport in our cities and mandatory public health & retirement insurance. Our Gini index is at 31.7, and most people work around 40 hours a week. Oh, and we have a 6 times lower homicide rate. No active shooter drills. And no voting machines. So if this doesn't turn out too well in 2020....

  258. Same goes to the problem that Americans talk about dealing with China, where their ideas of China came mostly from travel books and sightseeing. They have no clues about Chinese history, culture and way of life. Their taste of Chinese food comes from the Chinese restaurants in America where most the chefs are not even trained chefs. Europe has much to teach Americans how to live.

  259. Prof. Krugman is ignoring the prevalence of temporary work contracts in Europe. Part of the protests in France and support for far right candidates is driven by the lack of opportunity, especially for the young. As to health care, most countries allow for a roll for private insurance companies. That said, we would benefit from analysing the various labor and health care policies in Europe. We are not European. But we do face the challenge of retaining our entrpeneurial business culture while ensuring a much more equitable distribution of the benefits.

  260. After years as water bearer for centrists, Krugman has taken a small step toward redemption. When he and Bob Herbert were duking it out over their presidential preferences (Herbert advocating for Obama), I considered their arguments as worthy as debating how many angels can fit on the sharp end of a pin. Both candidates were centrists, although Obama's platform was slightly to the left of Clinton's, he turned rightward once in office. Krugman continued his support of Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign while forcefully attacking the policy proposals of Bernie Sanders. Any attempt to implement universal healthcare under President and Mrs. Clinton's reign was doomed when they got behind closed doors with representatives of the medical industrial complex, and created "managed care" which only made a bad situation worse. When Mrs. Clinton ran for president, a very optimistic and naïve supporter asked her during one of her "listening tours" how soon she would implement single-payer healthcare. Her response: "next question". The Obama administration like Bill Clinton's, tinkered with the present system without fixing it. Krugman makes sure to point out that systems in European nations aren't perfect, as if anyone suggests otherwise, but democracies with mixed economies worldwide have far superior standards of living compared to the U.S. At least Krugman has acknowledged a political and economic reality that is rarely found in the NYT.

  261. Krugman's argument about GDP is wrong on its face. It's an elementary error for a Nobel prize winner. He tells us per capita GDP is higher in the US. But he says that that is because Europeans work fewer hours and have longer vacations. But, as he also states, more Europeans are in the work force. In fact, it's a lot more. So in Europe there are many more people working somewhat fewer hours and they still fall shy on GDP. It is beyond debate -- Europeans are considerably less productive than Americans. It's as if Krugman forgot to carry the one.

  262. And yet it is not about the actual GDP, but the distribution of its effects that make societies either more or less livable. The GDP as a measure of 'success' is a poor choice. Best example is American infrastructure. That really is mostly stuck in its glory times somewhere in the 1980s. I just spent time renting in Chicago, in the Loop, outstanding location, small apartment and BIG price tag. That landlord's contribution to the GDP was certainly great. The place?? Not so much. One-pane windows, heat goes straight out, the loop trains making so much noise that it just blows your mind (try standing next to a modern street car train in Germany or France and let's discuss that again....), and the condition of the streets in and around downlown is beyond help. I would take the terrible French/European low GDP anytime. They seem to be able to actually make things WORK with less cash.

  263. GOP is the party of cronyism, bailouts for the rich and then Milton Friedman for the rest. It’s utterly fake. Trump fits right in as its leader. In the election Republicans will tell the same story about how too much tax and regulations stifle economy and the need for free markets,more privatisation to make competition strong and so drive down prices. Whatever they say, they are really ,in general, working for their constituents which are not the voters, but big donating companies. Companies work to satisfy stockholders and they have a drive towards monopoly and higher prices, and for that they need to control politics and law.

  264. Do what Hilary Clinton already did years ago. She held a number of meetings with hospital administrators, doctors, nurses, patients, and the pharmaceutical industry. Many health organizations and HMO's were invited to participate. What should reimbursement look like? What benefits will be achieved by regular check-ups, both health-wise and cost-wise? Could some people tolerate a clinic-style setting for an appropriate group of services, while retaining your "personal physician" for the most part? Finally, Medicare by itself is limited and the fees for extending your "contract" are quite substantial. Hospitals are becoming "corporatized". Let me illustrate: The last time I visited an ER, I was seen, evaluated, treated, and discharged by a physician's assistant and a nurse. I never saw an M.D. Also, the P.A. wrote my discharge and gave the nurse the paperwork. I told the nurse that I had a question for her, but she never returned to speak to me. I was told that "It's all in your discharge notes". I had to take an ambulance home because I couldn't walk (for which I paid 75% of the bill). I might have a few things to say about getting what you need when you need it, and every patient's case is unique in some way. Medical care is an art form- listening, asking good questions, taking the time. Otherwise too many people are going to end up either with "nothing" or a poorly designed "something". And given the option, you'll sometimes wonder why you went to the trouble.

  265. Today's Centrists make Richard Nixon look decidedly liberal. As far as I'm concerned, they are as much part of the problem as the Republicans. Enough is enough, it's time to storm the Bastille!

  266. Krugman is absolutely correct IMO. Progressive policy initiatives among democratic candidates for the most part are a matter of degree, really nothing more. In matters of addressing healthcare, taxation, wage disparities, infrastructure, global warming, etc, I fully expect the party’s platform to be robust - and also attacked as radical and socialistic. The 2020 election is huge and it’s time to jettison any conventional notions of “moderation” or “incrementalism” and go all in for a sea change in the fundamental nature of what we expect from our governance.. Time to take a stand.

  267. I m generally critical of Krugman. In this one he is right. Or...partially right. In order to have a welfare system European countries spending in defense are low. Furthermore for a developed welfare Europe, maybe there is a need for a productivist less welfare America. In other words there is a need of complementary interests between Europe and the US. I m convinced that American own poor people will enjoy of an European welfare style. My question is whether even an European welfare system would exist without an American productivist non welfare system.

  268. 17 members of the EU are running either a budget surplus or a balanced budget, this figure looks like it will grow each year. The USA is running a 1 TRILLION usd deficit, nearly 5% of gdp. Balance the budget and the us goes into recession. The next economic crisis will not come from Europe, it will come from the USA and as its constantly living beyond its means.

  269. That the U.S. is stuck in the past in their appreciation of the State of Europe is not a shock. Europe is reported about as well as Tokyo or Bankok, that is to say the information conveyed about foreign events is close to nil in the U.S. The death of the leader of Isis and mass protests in Lebanon have gotten merely a murmur in the press for example. If the public has no more information about Europe than, the Umbrella's of Cherbourg, or An American in Paris the commentary about public impressions of the European State is not surprising.

  270. I have lived in the USA for 20 years (5 states) and 15 years in Germany. I run my own business. When you total the many taxes paid in the USA (local, school and etc.) the comparative taxes in both countries are fairly close with the exception of sales tax. The difference in Germany is that while not perfect, citizens nevertheless see and experience "their taxes at work". A baseline health system, significantly better infrastructure, low cost tertiary education and less urban blight. The quality of life index on virtually every level is higher in Germany and France than in the USA, sorry to report.

  271. @Realworld Germany relies on the US for nuclear defense against Russia and everyone else with nukes. It has a paltry defense budget. Volkswagen polluted the US at will. With all Germany's wealth, it couldn't spare a dime for Greece. And Germany's got millions and millions of second class citizens otherwise known as Turks. Sorry to report.

  272. Talking to many French people, the sense I get is that the problem with France is not a weak economy leading to unemployment, but a mismatch in skills. While there are of course many unemployed people, many companies also have trouble hiring. This has nothing to do with the strict employment laws or workers rights, but because of the education system. They are relatively weak in STEM subjects, and many students opt to study liberal arts subjects. One could argue that French students have less incentive to choose a subject that gives them more employment opportunities because they do not have to worry about student debt as much as American students do. Most universities are free, and even the Grandes Ecoles such as Science Po cost less than 2000 Euros a year. They also don't have to worry about health insurance etc. The other side of the argument is, of course, people who do what they love instead of choosing a career based on remuneration are usually more successful at the end.

  273. It's even better: Living in Europe means not only payable and Universal Health Care - it also means ''Secure Jobs which pay living wages'' - ''Free education'' - and still compared to my homeland the US -Affordable Housing - (and the long payed vacations - of up to seven weeks were mentioned)- and there will no permanent return to the US before the homeland offers the same.