Bad Joke: “Obama’s Economist” Paul Krugman on VA “Policy Success Story”.


The VA scandal, in which many veterans have suffered and died while stuck on waiting lists, has pulled the curtain back for the general public on what many veterans already knew: The VA healthcare system sucks. I knew this even as a teenager. The mom of a good friend of mine was a doctor at a VA hospital. She used to talk to us all the time about how there were zillions of vets trying to get seen every day, while only a select few could be seen. The rest were told to go home and they’d be contacted. It seems this scandal has shown us that many of these vets had to wait for months to get the call, and some never got called at all. They suffered and died waiting for the call. And I wouldn’t have even needed inside information to get this idea; the VA hospital was a dump. It looked like a dilapidated public housing project from the outside.

Most people knew this to some degree already. The “dark, dismal VA hospital” is even a cliche by this time. This is an interesting case which illustrates Thome’s Rule of Government #22: “Politicians always know less than the public does, at any given time.” The public knew the VA healthcare system sucks. Presumably, the politicians did not. Only the politicians involved should have been surprised by this scandal. Or maybe they did know it sucks and they just didn’t care, which is equally likely.

Paul Krugman is the very definition of an establishment Keynesian economist, like the ones I lambast in this article. I call him “Obama’s Economist” because of his tireless support of the Obama Administration from 2008-onward, and also because Krugman’s economic views basically sum up Obama’s economic policies: an emphasis on heavy government spending, increased regulation, monetary inflation, and welfare schemes.

Paul Krugman is grade-A bozo and a jackass of economics. Rarely do I use such harsh words, but I make an exception for people like Paul Krugman. The beauty is that you don’t have to take my word for it. Want proof of how clueless he really is? Here’s an excerpt from a 1998 article in which he predicted  the Internet’s impact on the American economy:

The growth of the Internet will slow drastically, as the flaw in ‘Metcalfe’s law’–which states that the number of potential connections in a network is proportional to the square of the number of participants–becomes apparent: most people have nothing to say to each other! By 2005 or so, it will become clear that the Internet’s impact on the economy has been no greater than the fax machine’s.

You hear that? Mr. Krugman predicted that the Internet’s impact on the economy would be no greater than the impact of the fax machine. Unbelievable. He predicted that by 2005, the Internet would be irrelevant. Reality check: by 2005, iTunes, eBay, and Amazon were making millions of dollars and satisfying millions of customers every day. By 2014, human society across the world had been intrinsically altered by the Internet. But he thought it would basically die out. This should give you an idea of how much stock we should put in anything Krugman says.

Now, on to the topic at hand: The Veteran’s Administration Healthcare System. Here is a magnificent excerpt from 2006, in which Paul Krugman calls the VA healthcare system “highly successful”:

American health care is desperately in need of reform. But what form should change take? Are there any useful examples we can turn to for guidance?

Well, I know about a health care system that has been highly successful in containing costs, yet provides excellent care. And the story of this system’s success provides a helpful corrective to anti-government ideology. For the government doesn’t just pay the bills in this system — it runs the hospitals and clinics.

No, I’m not talking about some faraway country. The system in question is our very own Veterans Health Administration, whose success story is one of the best-kept secrets in the American policy debate.

Oh, boy. He calls the VA a glittering example of government-run healthcare success. He glowingly refers to it as the “best-kept secret in American policy“. There were secrets being kept, alright – some real “skeletons in the closet”, you might even say. And I mean that literally; the rotten skeletons of dead veterans who slipped through the cracks of the “excellent care” Krugman refers to.

It doesn’t end there. Krugman had 5 years to acknowledge the truth. He didn’t. He stuck to his guns, and in 2011 he quipped:

What Mr. Romney and everyone else should know is that the [Veterans Health Administration] is a huge policy success story, which offers important lessons for future health reform. …

And yes, this is “socialized medicine”[!!!] — although some private systems, like Kaiser Permanente, share many of the V.H.A.’s virtues. But it works — and suggests what it will take to solve the troubles of U.S. health care more broadly.

This argument has been fairly popular in liberal circles for years. Phillip Longman has written extensively about how great the VA healthcare system is and why it should serve as a model for broader healthcare reform.

Sweet fancy Moses. Reading these lines in light of the recent developments is downright painful. “A model for broader healthcare reform”? Say it ain’t so. I suppose I should be thankful that Obamacare, for all it’s horrendous crappiness, at least did not transform American healthcare into a copy of Krugman’s beloved VA system, lest we all be stuck on government waiting lists until we perish or become officially disabled by our ailments. Meanwhile, administrators and bureaucrats would continue to rip us all off and rake in the dough at our expense, not unlike how the VA administrator in charge of the Phoenix hospital received an $8,500 bonus this past April while vets were dying while waiting for care.

Paul Krugman is a Nobel Prize-winning economist, Professor at Princeton University, and an utter fool.  Can you believe that rich people spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to send their kids away to Princeton so they can learn Economics from this guy? Why on earth would anyone want to have their kids learn at the feet of a bonehead who is so completely blind to reality that he couldn’t even recognize the potential of the Internet or the corruption of the VA in front of his own two eyes? I just can’t believe it.

Paul Krugman is the perfect example of the “government economists” I lambasted in this article. He is beloved and lauded by the US government and taxpayer-funded Academic establishment.  He is invited to speak at countless political events and establishment economic conferences. He is a fool who actually understands very little about basic economics (and technology, apparently): but he says what the State wants him to say. He blesses the US government’s insane vices – endless deficit growth, massive spending, welfare schemes, heavy regulation, heightened taxation, and monetary inflation – as vital and necessary to the health of the nation, and vital to promoting prosperity amongst the lower and middle class. But none of these things are his ideas (or necessary and vital, for that matter). All Krugman does is baptize the stupid things that the State already wants to do. For that, the State elevates him to a nearly god-like status of reverence. He is their faithful ideological apologist, after all.

I think Paul Krugman’s entire flawed outlook is implicit in his ridiculous analysis of the Internet from 1998, when he dismissed it as a mere fad. The Internet is possibly the most important invention in human history. It was indeed created by a government agency; but it was no more than a money pit until it was released to the world, when private individuals turned it into a juggernaut. It is the most massively decentralized institution on the earth. Nobody owns “the Internet” as a whole; tiny pieces of it are owned by millions, maybe billions, of people around the world. It is based on voluntary interaction and personal choice. Some governments try to control the net, which is a resounding failure. Even in places like Iran and Cuba, people circumvent State censors like it ain’t nuthin’ but a thang. This is precisely why someone who adores and idolizes the State, like Paul Krugman, may have dismissed the Internet in it’s early days: because they recognized it as something the government could not realistically control and tightly regulate. To people like Paul Krugman, anything the State cannot control and regulate is not something worth paying attention to or utilizing.

Paul Krugman believes that the only great force for good in the world is the regulatory State. He believes that only men with guns and badges, ordering everyone around at gunpoint, can produce acceptable outcomes and a benevolent society. His wider model for society itself lies in principles shared with the VA healthcare system. Is that a world you want to live in?

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