George Graham

Paul Krugman’s Warning

krugmanHorrifying. That’s how Nobel prizewinning economist Paul Krugman sums up Bernie Sanders’ campaign promises. And when Paul Krugman (photo at right) says anything, I listen.

I admire Bernie. I agree with his views. I support his goals. I yearn for that just and prosperous society he promises.

But can he get there from here? Or is his platform a rosy daydream?

Krugman doesn’t think Bernie can deliver on his economic promises. Not the way the would-be Democratic presidential candidate says he can, anyway.

The calculations and projections supporting Bernie’s platform come from another economist – Gerald Friedman of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.  But Krugman questions Friedman’s figures on projected job growth. He calls Bernie’s assumptions about the consequences of a massive expansion of the social safety net “voodoo economics of the left.”

Krugman warns that:

The Sanders campaign is basically signaling that it doesn’t believe its program can be sold on the merits, that it has to invoke a growth miracle to minimize the downsides of its vision. It is, in effect, confirming its critics’ worst suspicions.

If Paul Krugman were some foaming-at-the-mouth conservative, I would dismiss his skepticism as right-wing propaganda. But this is one of the most progressive economists in America.

Of course, you and I know that economics is not an exact science. Krugman could be wrong. Salon staffwriter Elias Isquith insists that he is. Perhaps not wrong on policy, but wrong on politics.

Isquith could have a point. Voters – Democratic voters, anyway – are flocking to Bernie’s side.

The big question is what happens if Bernie wins the nomination.

If an ally like Krugman can be so critical, imagine how an opponent like Donald Trump – or Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio – would trash Bernie’s lavish promises.

The prospect gives me the shivers. More than ever, I’m covinced that Hillary is the prudent choice for Democrats.

Krugman’s column.

Elias Isquith’s rebuttal.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for