New York Times economics columnist Paul Krugman went on a tone-deaf rant against rural Americans who are fed up with Washington, D.C. elites making their lives miserable.
Krugman’s Jan. 26 drivel, headlined “Can Anything Be Done to Assuage Rural Rage,” bemoaned that rural Americans have shifted so far to the right that loyal Democrats supposedly “face intimidation and are afraid to reveal their party affiliation.” Krugman exploited the findings of political scientist Katherine J. Cramer that reportedly tied “rural resentment” to “perceptions that rural areas are ignored by policymakers, don’t get their fair share of resources and are disrespected by ‘city folks.’” Krugman squawked that “all three perceptions [by rural Americans] are largely wrong. I’m sure that my saying this will generate a tidal wave of hate mail, and lecturing rural Americans about policy reality isn’t going to move their votes.” Krugman, whose net worth is $5 million, clearly has an acute aversion to not sounding pompous when he’s “lecturing” rural plebeians. [Emphasis added.]
Krugman banked his argument in part on how rural Americans “received special treatment from policymakers” since the New Deal in the 1930s. Did Krugman forget rural Americans felt the brunt of the inflation crisis stoked by the $1.9 trillion stimulus monstrosity that he championed? He also happened to arbitrarily dismiss the inflation crisis for months as a “transitory” phenomenon, which of course turned out to be categorically false.
In fact, Fortune magazine published a piece that ended up demolishing Krugman's argument the day after he published this nonsense targeting rural America. “Two economists who study rural America say official inflation numbers don’t count people who live outside of cities—and their own analysis shows that they could be suffering more,” the Fortune headline read. The slightly declining inflation rate put out by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which Krugman has been flinging around as redemption for his bad “transitory” inflation calls, “ignores a sizable chunk of the country – rural America,” according to Fortune. What’s worse, the “price increases” in rural America are “likely lingering longer than in cities.” But apparently, in Krugman’s elitist view, the rural Americans who believe they’re being “ignored by policymakers” are just making that up in their heads.
Fortune noted that the exclusion of rural America from the inflation data is potentially “masking a rural-urban inflation gap.” For example, rural residents are “more likely to own a used car,” the prices of which skyrocketed since the COVID-19 pandemic due to inflationary pressures and supply chain constraints, thereby having a disproportionate effect on rural communities. The irony is that Krugman coined his own-made up term “Superdupercore [inflation]” in December, which arbitrarily dumps used car prices from considerations to make inflationary pressures seem less severe. In effect, a real pain of rural America — which Fortune said “spend[s] more on car purchases out of necessity” — gets left out of the calculus to score Krugman some political points.
Krugman even tried spinning that rural Americans supposedly have an advantage because they’re poor and don’t pay as much in taxes. “And because rural America is poorer than urban America, it pays much less per person in federal taxes, so in practice major metropolitan areas hugely subsidize the countryside,” Krugman claimed. Yikes. This is nearly as cringeworthy as when Krugman condescended to inflation-afflicted American workers in September that the so-called “Biden Boom'' was great for them “whether they know it or not.”
Even a Democrat disagrees with Krugman’s dismissive take. Then-Maine State Senator Chloe Maxmin (D) chided her side of the aisle in a May 2, 2022, co-authored New York Times guest essay headlined: “What Democrats Don’t Understand About Rural America.” As Maxmin stated, “Since 2008, residents of small towns have fallen behind cities on many major economic benchmarks, and they watched helplessly as more and more power and wealth were consolidated in cities.” Earth to Krugman!
Conservatives are under attack. Contact The New York Times at 800-698-4637 and demand it distance itself from Krugman’s awful economic takes.