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ezra klein interviews paul krugman October 26, 2007

Posted by KG in books, econ, health, news, politics.
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paul krugman with greg palast 

american prospect:

EK: And I’ve also gotten the sense that liberals, to some degree, don’t believe they should have to make that argument, which is to say that they tend to make the argument against Republican economic policies on grounds of fairness rather than efficiency. Our approach is touted as being better for the poorest man, rather than better for the common man.

PK: And it’s taken a long time for people on the moderate left to appreciate just how bad things have gotten. They’ve taken a long to appreciate. I mean, even now, even now you’ll find people who claim to be moderate to liberal democrats saying “well, you know, inequality isn’t really that bad.” And ten years ago there was much more denialism.

EK: And you were writing about inequality in The American Prospect ten years ago.

PK: That’s 15 years ago now! It was one of my better pieces.

EK: And one thing you sort of suggest in the book is that universal health care isn’t merely good policy but has the potential to act as the wedge on rolling a lot of this back, on changing how people think of government, what they think of what their responsibility to each other is — that it has a cultural component.

PK: Yeah, I mean this is one of the few things on which William Kristol and I are in complete agreement. Bill Kristol had this famous memo during the defeat of the Clinton health care plan saying, we as Republicans must ensure that there is no plan because if there is a plan, if Clinton gets something, it will legitimize, re-legitimize the welfare state, and he’s right. Universal health care is important and worth doing in its own right, but it also clearly would be a demonstration that you can do good things, that government can make society safer and more equitable, which is why conservatives are so hysterical over even S-CHIP. If we can get heath care, and I think we have slightly better than even odds that we can, it does change the whole set of norms.

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