Paul Krugman, economist turned left-wing folk hero. New York magazine’s Benjamin Wallace-Wells talked with the once respected-economist turned hack New York Times columnist about “What’s Left of the Left,” a title which at least positions Krugman accurately as a left-wing opinion leader who draws cool economics graphs that prove the perfidy of Republican policy (whether or not he once agreed with those same policies). Krugman continued to bash Rep. Paul Ryan as setting American "on a glide path to a much harsher society."
For the first two years of the Obama administration, Krugman has been building, in his columns and on his blog, not just a critique of this presidency but something grander and more expansively detailed, something closer to an alternate architecture for what Obamaism might be. The project has remade Krugman’s public image, as if he had spent years becoming a chemically isolate form of himself – first a moderate, then an anti-Bush partisan, and now the leading exponent of a kind of liberal purism against which the compromises of the White House might be judged. Krugman’s counterfactual Obama would have provided far more stimulus money and would have nationalized Citigroup and Bank of America. He would have written off Republicans and worked only with Democrats to fashion a health-care reform bill that included a so-called public option. The president of Krugman’s dreams would have made his singular long-term goal the preservation of the welfare state and the middle-class society it was designed to create.