Paul Krugman Exposes the Real Reason Trump (and Ryan) Are Trash-Talking America
Paul Krugman explores one of this election cycle's biggest ironies in Monday's column. Once upon a time, it was conservatives who yelled, "America, love it or leave it!" at those who protested the nation's various injustices. Now, it is the right that trash-talks the country.
"This is obviously true for Donald Trump, who views the world through blood-colored glasses," Krugman writes. "In his vision of America — clearly derived largely from white supremacist and neo-Nazi sources — crime is running wild, inner cities are war zones, and hordes of violent immigrants are pouring across our open border. In reality, murder is at a historic low, we’re seeing a major urban revival and net immigration from Mexico is negative. But I’m only saying that because I’m part of the conspiracy."
But Krugman's real target this time is not Trump, but Paul Ryan, whom Krugman regards as equally dangerous and dishonest, yet somehow still a media darling. This despite "the obvious fraudulence and cruelty of his proposals," Krugman writes angrily, of Ryan's utter "moral spinelessness" and failure to fully break with Trump.
Mr. Ryan claimed to be describing the future — what will happen if Hillary Clinton wins — rather than the present. But Mrs. Clinton is essentially proposing a center-left agenda, an extension of the policies President Obama was able to implement in his first two years, and it’s pretty clear that Mr. Ryan’s remarks were intended as a picture of what all such policies do.
According to him, it’s very grim. There will, he said, be “a gloom and grayness to things,” ruled by a “cold and unfeeling bureaucracy.” We will become a place “where passion — the very stuff of life itself — is extinguished.” And this is the kind of America Mrs. Clinton “will stop at nothing to have.”
Where is he getting this? Krugman, of course, sees the glass as half, maybe even two-thirds full, citing a recent Gallup poll that found "80 percent of Americans are satisfied with their standard of living, up from 73 percent in 2008, and that 55 percent consider themselves to be “thriving,” up from 49 percent in 2008." Things are not perfect, not by a long shot, but unemployment is low, incomes are finally rising, and many more people have insurance thanks to Obamacare.
In short, Ryan's America is about as realistic as that portrayed in a book Ryan has obviously read and cherished, Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. Ryan has taken to denying his devotion to Rand these days, but as Krugman zings, "while you can at least pretend to take the boy out of the cult, you can’t take the cult out of the boy. Like Ms. Rand — who was basically writing about America in the Eisenhower years! — he sees the horrible world progressive policies were supposed to produce, not the flawed but hopeful nation we actually live in."
In this way, Ryan and Trump and the rest of the right are perfectly aligned.