Krugman Admits He's Enjoying Opining More About the Financial Crisis Than Bashing Bush
If print is becoming journalism's dying backwater, Paul Krugman isn't showing it.
In a Dec. 6 interview in Stockholm, Sweden, the Nobel Prize-winning New York Times columnist told the ironically named Adam Smith, editor-in-chief of Nobelprize.org, that he found himself more effective in his role at the Times lately He said he was more influential in shaping policy as a journalist than he would be in a high-ranking position on the Obama economic team.
"I like to think I'm a good analyst," Krugman said. "But, I don't think I'm a good bureaucrat of any kind. I might think differently if I wasn't at the Times, but as it is I have a mouthpiece, people are listening. I probably can have as much influence, as say on the shape of this upcoming economic stimulus package from where I am as I could if I were, you know, the third-ranking member of the Obama economics team - something like that, so I think it's probably as good of position as any."
Besides, he's just starting to enjoy writing his column again, what with the economy in crisis and his chief nemesis leaving office.
"I have to say in recent months it's become more of an economics column and less political than it had been, partly because we won't have George Bush to kick around anymore," Krugman said. "And, partly because the economic situation is so dire. In a strange way that make me - it doesn't make the actual workload less but it makes the emotional wear and tear less. So, I actually find I'm enjoying the column more now than I have at any point in the past eight years."
Krugman told Smith he felt vindicated for his attacks on Bush - even though some considered it over-the-top. Krugman dismissed those criticisms at his Princeton news conference immediately following the announcement he won the prize. "A lot of intellectuals are anti-Bush," he said
However, he feels like now he has found a role in the media marketplace as a purveyor of solutions.
"Now I'm in a position of saying we have this crisis - here are some things we ought to do," Krugman said. "And people are listening. Whether they'll do what I say - I don't know. But there really is a - it's much less of a feeling of this sort of panic." Whereas when he used his column to attack the Bush administration, "No one was willing to look at what was obvious" But now, "People are actually - we're now having a real discussion. Even if my view doesn't prevail - it's a real discussion."