Opinion – Paul Krugman: Despair, American style | The Kansas City Star

Krugman piles into America‘s latest demographic time-bomb. Krugman, who’s a liberal, Nobel prize winning economist, with a prominent NYT blog and a 1 million+ Twitter following.

Krugman agrees that white Americans are, in increasing numbers, killing themselves, directly or indirectly – with suicides way up, and deaths from drug poisoning and the chronic liver disease that excessive drinking can cause. Krugman admits that ‘We’ve seen this kind of thing in other times and places. But it’s a shock to see it, even in an attenuated form, in America’.

Source: Paul Krugman: Despair, American style | The Kansas City Star

As a conservative, living in Europe, let me share a few open questions.

Firstly, it’s questionable what Obama‘s two terms have done for working and middle class Americans?  Sure there are some extra zero hours type contract jobs stacking supermarket shelves – but what’s Obama done about real jobs?

What has Obama done to increase America’s competitiveness or the nation’s skill-base? Why does the American education performance so poorly for so many & so well for so-few?

With rising technology and offshoring being trends that are here to stay, why hasn’t Obama tried to harness the energy of Americans lost along the way?

Perhaps, Americans have lost some of their national pride after Obama’s disaterous foreign policy interventions?

Most of all, I question whether Obama’s legacy has helped to bury the American Dream?


2 responses

  1. Obama and his acolytes do like to tout the unemployment numbers that are down compared to the Bush years, but unemployment numbers are not the entire story – infact in this case, I would argue they are a poor proxy for the health of an economy.

    Unemployment rate measures only those that are actively participating in the labor market. Those that have given up or retired early are not factored in. A good measure of the health of the economy is the labor force participation rate, which is currently hovering at just over 62% and is the lowest such rate in decades.

    Also, to the extent that there has been gains in employment, many of these are in low paying and temporary jobs. Many people are relegated to jobs that are part-time when they want full-time employment or jobs that are not a match for the person’s skills.

    While the Obama and liberal plan would be a quixotic and ultimately harmful plan to increase the minimum wage and add more people to the government dole through Medicaid and other welfare schemes, better growth proposals that give humans a higher measure of dignity through meaningful employment will necessarily have to arise from a combination of individual tax reform, business and corporate tax reductions and reduction in the loopholes and deductions that serve no economic purpose other than to entrench crony capitalism and benefit lawyers, accountants, and lobbyists, and innovation and reform in our primary and secondary education models, including removing the government out of subsidizing secondary education and a lack of school choice at the primary level. Repealing and replacing ObamaCare with more market-driven and choice based models will also play a role.

  2. The legacy of President Obama is going to be one of profound disappointment.

    Dr Alf has hit the nail on the head in what he says but the American Dream is still in existence despite President Obama’s attempts to damage it with ill thought out environmental policies, free trade agreements which destroy American jobs, corporate taxation designed to drive tax avoiders offshore rather than remaining onshore and foreign policies which upset practically everyone.

    This is because Obama is out of touch with economics, lacks the aggressive, laser-like focus that is needed to turn the country round, formulate wise foreign policy and compete with the major economies of the Far East.

    Worse than that, Obama has no empathy for the ordinary man or woman in the street and does not care whether they have a job or not.
    Originally he promised “hope and change” and used NLP to trick his way into office by delivering differently packaged messages to different audiences.

    More recently we have had the advance of automation, robotics, nanotechnology, cybernetics and the expansion of Artificial Intelligence(AI) which according to Eric Schmidt of Google will destroy 50% of American jobs by 2033.

    President Obama knew about the speech by Schmidt because it was made at a Bilderberg conference, at which Hillary Clinton and Dr Kissinger were both present, held in the Grove Hotel, near Watford, just 28 miles from my house.

    Despite knowing that this would destroy lives and millions of jobs, Obama has never once articulated a meaningful policy to address these problems and because he is patrician and aloof does not concern himself with middle-class Americans, especially men.

    Since these men have to compete with the offshoring of many of their jobs, younger and cheaper graduates and the rise of the machines, many of them lose hope as their jobs disappear and their savings are depleted.

    Lost hope leads to drinking, depression and troubled behaviours which I suspect is a leading cause of these middle-class male suicides.

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