Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman speaks during a press conference at the World Capital Markets Symposium in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Monday, Aug. 10, 2009. Aggressive stimulus spending by governments helped the world avoid a second Great Depression but full economic recovery will take two years or more, Krugman said Monday. (AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin)
Has Nobel laureate and New York Times opinion columnist Paul Krugman lost all connection to reality?
Authoritarian rule may be just around the corner.
By Paul Krugman | Opinion Columnist | April 9, 2020 | 6:47 PM EDT
If you aren’t terrified both by Covid-19 and by its economic consequences, you haven’t been paying attention.
Even though social distancing may be slowing the disease’s spread, tens of thousands more Americans will surely die in the months ahead (and official accounts surely understate the true death toll). And the economic lockdown necessary to achieve social distancing — as I’ve been saying, the economy is in the equivalent of a medically induced coma — has led to almost 17 million new claims for unemployment insurance over the past three weeks, again almost surely an understatement of true job losses.
Yet the scariest news of the past week didn’t involve either epidemiology or economics; it was the travesty of an election in Wisconsin, where the Supreme Court required that in-person voting proceed despite the health risks and the fact that many who requested absentee ballots never got them.
Why was this so scary? Because it shows that America as we know it may not survive much longer. The pandemic will eventually end; the economy will eventually recover. But democracy, once lost, may never come back. And we’re much closer to losing our democracy than many people realize.
What did the state Supreme Court do? It declined to change the existing state laws, something which is not within the court’s power in the first place.
There was no contention that Wisconsin’s election laws were somehow wrong or discriminatory. Rather, the Democrats wanted to change them to a vote-by-mail system without any reasonable form of vote security. Ballots would be entrusted to the Postal Service, and thus multiple handling personnel, none of whom are legally charged with the proper procedures for securing ballot integrity. It would be a massive opportunity for vote fraud.
This November, it’s all too possible that Trump will eke out an Electoral College win thanks to widespread voter suppression. If he does — or even if he wins cleanly — everything we’ve seen suggests that he will use a second term to punish everyone he sees as a domestic enemy, and that his party will back him all the way. That is, America will do a full Hungary.
What if Trump loses? You know what he’ll do: He’ll claim that Joe Biden’s victory was based on voter fraud, that millions of illegal immigrants cast ballots or something like that. Would the Republican Party, and perhaps more important, Fox News, support his refusal to accept reality? What do you think?
The left, including Dr Krugman, were the ones refusing to accept reality starting on November 9, 2016, flinging about all sorts of allegations that Donald Trump cheated, that the evil Russians rigged the election, they just must have, and forced the appointment of a special persecutor to investigate alleged Trump campaign collusion with Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin. When Robert Mueller III’s investigation came up with nothing, the Democrats in Congress insisted on calling Mr Mueller to testify, and still came up with nothing. Then, when the Democrats kept pushing and pushing and pushing for something, anything on which they could pass Articles of Impeachment against President Trump, they never alleged a single actual crime, and didn’t even try to include any charges of collusion in the 2016 election, because they had nothing. It wasn’t the Republicans refusing to accept reality!
So that’s why what just happened in Wisconsin scares me more than either disease or depression. For it shows that one of our two major parties simply doesn’t believe in democracy. Authoritarian rule may be just around the corner.
Dr Krugman bemoans his fears of authoritarian rule, yet the left in general, and The New York Times specifically, have been cheering that very same authoritarian rule by Democratic governors and mayors, with our constitutional rights under the First, Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments just blithely swept aside, as the majority of the public seem to support. When we are allowing, with only a few ineffectual protests, state Governors to use the force of law, backed up by police power, to confine people to their homes, to stop cars with out-of-state license plates, and to go door-to-door demanding to know if a resident has been in a certain place, all done without a warrant, all done without any semblance of due process of law, all done without people having a day in court, that is when we are experiencing authoritarian rule, and the esteemed Dr Krugman hasn’t uttered the first peep of protest over it.
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