Paul Krugman, Mad Economist - September 3, 2003

Times Watch for September 3, 2003

Paul Krugman, Mad Economist

Times columnist Paul Krugman talks to the website Liberal Oasis to say America has gone mad: The key thing, in terms of the state of the world right now, is that the United States has gone mad. Lets get some return to fiscal and environmental and general governmental sanity in this country, and then we can talk about we manage globalization.

On those benighted Democrats unconvinced of the danger Bush poses, Krugman says: They keep on imagining that, Oh, you know, they have limited goals. When they make these radical pronouncements thats just tactical and we can appease them a little bit by giving them some of what they want. And eventually well all be able to sit down like reasonable men and work it out. Then at a certain point you realize, My God, weve given everything away that makes system work. Weve given away everything we counted on. And thats basically the story of whats happened with the Right in the United States. And its still happening.

Labor Day No Holiday for Bush-Bashers

David Sanger accentuates the negative in his Tuesday story on Bushs Labor Day speech, Bush Defends Tax Cuts and Announces Jobs Post. As Slate magazines liberal-leaning Eric Umansky says in his Todays Papers column: David Sanger, perhaps ticked off he had to work on Labor Day, wallops Bush.

Sanger comes out snarling: Since the last time President Bush addressed a Labor Day picnic-with carpenters in Pennsylvania-the economy has lost 700,000 jobs, most of them in manufacturing. So by the time Mr. Bush arrived at a rain-drenched field today to talk to highway construction workers, he faced what some of his supporters acknowledge is a far more complex political task than he did a year ago: convincing layoff-weary voters in crucial states like this one, which he carried by a mere three percentage points in 2000, that his tax cuts had saved workers from a worse fate and that 14 months before the next presidential election he has a strategy to bring back the kind of jobs that many economists say are leaving the United States for good. Things are getting better, Mr. Bush told a subdued crowd here.

For the rest of Sangers piece on Bushs Labor Day speech, click here.

Damned If You Do

Sometimes it seems like providing security in Iraq is a damned if you do, damned if you dont job for U.S. troops. And the Times will be damned if they make the job any easier.

Here are Times reporters Neil MacFarquhar and Richard Oppel from their Saturday piece on the car bombing in Najaf that killed a Shiite cleric, Ayatollah Muhammad Bakr al-Hakim: There were no American forces in the vicinity, as senior Najaf clergymen had made it clear they did not want troops patrolling anywhere near the holy site.

And heres MacFarquhar writing in Thousands at Burial of Slain Cleric, his dispatch on Wednesday: Mourners chanted condemnations of the United States military for failing to provide security, with one participant pointing out that the looting the American forces failed to stop in April allowed all sorts of munitions to flow out of military stockpiles. The police say they believe that the explosives used in the attack were old army mortars and other similar hardware.

MacFarquhar doesnt mention his reporting from four days ago, in which clergymen refused security from U.S. troops, instead letting the latest Iraqi accusation stand as another example of alleged U.S. incompetence.