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Let dogs delight to bark and bite

By Owen Paine on Wednesday April 27, 2011 10:44 PM

In these brutish days, on lovely rare occasions, our Merlin bigfoots clash like mud wrestlers, thank God.

Take this recent piece at gossip rag New York magazine. The topic could not be more moribund: the harrows of being a major pwog econ-con these days.

The setup is an in-camera White House meeting, this past December, between our POTUS and a delegation of six of our best "lefty" poli-econ-cons:

  • Brightest of all sheeple, Joseph Stiglitz;
  • The pwog's own winnie-the-pooh, Bobby Reich;
  • The horrendous Jeffrey Sachs;
  • Human bulb head Alan Blinder;
  • Rubber ball union maid Larry Mishel;
  • and last but not least, Paul "yip yip" Krugman.
"The economists sat ringing Obama -- two Nobelists, a former Labor secretary, and a former vice-chairman of the Fed. Not a Gentile among them, Krugman noticed, but an amazingly high proportion of beards. To begin the meeting, Obama asked each of his guests to identify the most pressing economic issue. Five of the economists emphasized the same problem. Unemployment, they said, was so high that the recovery might never get out of first gear. It was not the time for austerity; the president should focus on short-term job creation and turn to the deficit later."
Only five? The exception? -- Why, of course, the Ivy League shitheel, Jeff "Millenium" Sachs, striking a noble pose about slogging through, eyes on the long run.

But the best is yet to come. The piece then settles down to a profiler on the terrier of Nassau Hall, punky Paul Krugman. And there is a nice little bark-off nestled inside, between Nobel Paul and the porcine paragon, Lawrence triple-X Summers.

"In the early eighties, when the two worked together in the Reagan administration, Krugman realized that Summers had a talent for effectiveness -- winning meetings, organizing subordinates, convincing economic novices of his point of view that he himself could not hope to match. Summers became the insider and Krugman the outsider..."

I think we get the ahh-hahh moment when this writer realized he might provoke a scrap:

"There were moments in conversation with Krugman that I began to suspect he viewed Summers as a one-man control group for his study of himself."
Pressed on the contrast between himself and dark lord Larry, Paul takes the bait:
"When things go crazy, my instinct is to go radical on policy, and Larry’s is to be a little more cautious... Larry’s extremely smart. Ask him -- he’ll tell you."

When these quotes were taken to Larry for "comment" -- well, here's why I love Larry. Forget the hedged "little more" bullshit. Forget the academic's mushed-up understatement. Forget Paul's fencing around. Killshot Larry takes his opponent out -- all the way out:

"[Paul] always gravitates to opposition and dramatic policy because it’s much more interesting than agreement... [imagine a nice pause here, perhaps punctuated with a little lipless grin] when you’re involved in commenting on rather than making policy."
Kool, but not nearly sufficient. Larry goes carpet-bombing:
"[Paul] savaged the early Clinton administration from the right, blistering Laura Tyson and Bob Reich, and then moved to savage the more liberal Obama administration from the left.... The only politician I remember him praising in the last sixteen years is John Edwards."
The coup de grace? Larry fires off a line worthy of an updated, boorishly demotic Cardinal Richelieu:
"There is some element of Paul that is like the guy in the bleachers who always demands the fake kick, the triple-reverse, the long bomb, or the big trade."

Comments (19)


One loathes New York magazine, of course, but there are some good moments in this piece. My fave:

[America] might not have been Utopia, [Krugman] says, but it could have been France.

Al Schumann:

Larry was always one for the sober, sensible, just-doing-my-job-ma'am approach. Faced with a burgeoning endowment at Harvard, he pared it back to manageable size. Faced under-polluted countries in Africa, he avoided the radical dirty fucking hippy advocacy of leaving them under-polluted and instead proposed a means of leveraging their deficit into an asset. Faced with the collapse of the Soviet Union, he became a staunch advocate for collapsing the life expectancy of its inhabitants, thus reducing the legacy burden faced by the new social order. In his most recent triumph, he made sure no one mistook bubble economics and actual bank insolvency for actual bank insolvency and bubble economics and correctly identified the real problem: over-employment.

There's plenty more, and more, and more to come undoubtedly. So I can see why he'd have little patience for Krugman's querulous back seat driving.


" “Knowing that I am in fact me..."

That may be my favorite phrase of the week.



cardinal larry has had his slips over the years
......yes mistakes have been made
as you bluntly notice
fair harvard wise

the very advanced securities markets
part products of his own beltway stewardship

is nothing ess then a glaring case of non maximizing an endowering process

yes the complex synthetic istruments he played with like a slde rule faust6
clipped him and his charge but good

such are often the wages of smoozing with
one's own conjuries
before i gho futrher and start putting out your unsporting arsenage

a proposition :

this mighty servent of american institutions
up to the very highest level of institutions
the us federal gubmint
has failed on occasion
but a careful scrutiny
of the full account books
i submit
some day will reveal to neutral scholars
this brat of a mandarin
stumbled far far less in his policy choices
then he failed in his presentation
of these choices

to continue
the case of the bad loss on high stakes gaming at harvard with harvards funds
is the only black mark among your
allegated bill of nasty particulars

you point wiith understated glower
at his world bank memo with its obvious swiftian frippery ..
a memo that in the upshot
amounts to an apologia for
the gloriously hard nosed progressive
trans border MNC's
global devlopment system's
present law of motion

LS in his spoofy intramural playfullness
suggests here
an inverted off set channel exists
from south to north
as well as the goo goo
prefered north to south channel

surely at the margin equal increments
of global warming may well optimally
be abated in either region eh ??

like " net capital flows "
there is no convincing a priori
direction of flow
betwwen north and south on pollution abatement or and here's the LS point
on pollution prevention either
no convincing a priori at all
not a moral a priori or any other

ahh but this gets complex

i hope it suffices if i suggestt
the cost should be born
at the planetary margin of least
total cost
if a policy abates a certain quantum of naughty emission
at its globally cheapest cost
and that happens to involve abatement
down south fine
but just as strongly one can claim
it may also be the case
down south is also the cheapest place
to locate any earth wide necessary
add on pollutions
for precisely the same cost based reasons

in the event
the planets mangers and guardians best move
may be to place cheek by jowl down south the net abatements with the new pollutions

as to your other indicting count
the bit about larry supporting the russian " economic reforms " of early yeltsin
in particular the hyper inflating away
of the ruble debt harness of the soviet era
as well as what amounts to looting
of the hard currency cash ins of the gosplan and sweat produced
productive platform of the nation

yes i conceed the people of russia gave up their unspendable savings and sacrifices of the prior 60 years as well as their sub optimized system of socialist jobs

but what better move by a benign long view taking despot would you choose ??

larry chose the welfare of countless
future generations of free russians
the petty lollipops possible for
the present three /four living generations

that is in the best mandarin tradition of
negative future discounting no ??

a view he shares maybe not with you and gay that lord johnny keynes
but with calvin confucius frank ramsey and ironically uncle joe stalin

at an rate to return to the general plain

when various potential outcomes
were weighed in the heat of the historic moment
of course
in the massive fleshy head of the great summers
trade offs were instantly calculated
and you must accept this bald fact
he made his damnest greatest effort
to find within the bounds allowed him
by Clio the rational best of all possible choices
and once that calculation was made
he whole heartedly implemented
with total availible impetus
unflagging vigor dexterity
and yes with a non refined brutality

heads would roll each time
but in the cause of a right action ...

an action that never made the better the enemy of the possible

--- vide for example the half a loaf stimuless ---

okay as observed the policy in motion
if not faultable for its means of implementation
was indeed defended with ..shall we say
less then best framing and most diplomatic of tactics

but as a defender of a bullish faith
de facto if not de rhetorico

now of course
as a champion of that golden calf creed
the very sacred faith
of all believers in
the universal catholic law
of unfettered
global corporate marketeering

arch expert summers constantly faced the hazards
of anyone in the service of that very faiths imperatives

and it must be said frankly
once conjured
unfettered market spirits
in the effort to prevail over lesser decencies
can be devilishly seductive creatures

and our man here
may not always have faced
those blandishments down

he has indeed fallen now and then
off to straight and narrow
into the dark trench
of imperial wall street
in moments of high historic conjuncture

indeed it can be fairly
and nearly universally claimed
he has played
and still plays the machiavel
in the service of ...
not so much his prince
let alone his principles
as ...well ....
his principals

he has been their fierce and undaunted agent
their slashing razor back
charging thru thick and thru thin
his soul sold long ago
to these higher powers
arching above the state of the present
even all its living citizenry


to be candid for a moment
i'll ask and answer the bottom line question

to what ultimate end
does this brightest of brightly wicked spirits
what must be his very personal inner tranquility ??

i suspect
precisely the same end that convinced him
to trample masses of ass hole living innocents in the causative instance

and this is hardly
the same value set that allowed the irish famine
the long run horizonless integral
total all time social welfare


larry's too deeply
skeptical for that benthamite bromide
to dissolve into his soul and neutralize
the acid bite of inner conscience

i suspect he likes winning too much

winning over everyone
from john taylor to paul krugman
so much so
he lives every day with the acid
burning away in his spiritual bowel

what could be more heroically satanic
then that


i hear captain slun amerika
played by brando

" ya shuolda looked after we barry
i coulda been ....france
i coulda been decent ...i coulda been somebody ..
..not just a no good bum ..a god damn dirty stinkin bulling no good bum of a nation

ya shoulda looked aftah me larry "


its interesting
pk's call for nationalizing the big banks
back in winter 09
gets the dissator label from larry s

larry conceeds the stimuless was two sizes too small
and protects himself with the line

i'm merely an artist of the possible "

more stimulus we are to believe
was not possible to extract out of THE HILL

but nationalizing the big banks
no more difficult then nationalizing that horrendous insurance scam factory uncle did nationalize
even if possible
would have been a dissator


dissator indeed

the end of wall street global hegemony


dissator is typing dislexic for disastor

ps i'm running up comment count here to see if it attracts ...comments to the post

on the theory where youy smell smoke or what might be smoke
you click to see the fire


anon seems to pop up as me

now i've ordered my pc to eat its cookies

Awesome piece, Paine -- if for the descriptions of the dramatis personae alone. "Shitheel" has always been a favorite word of mine.

Actually, may I take a moment to suggest you describe what went on with a different term than "bullshit"? I've realized that terms like "bullshit" and "horseshit", used in their current context, are an insult to two perfectly fine forms of organic fertilizer. Also, the term "bullshit" implies that what's being emitted here, while a steaming heap o'lies, is at least half-heartedly crafted to be halfway believable to most folks.

No, Paine, what was emitted here is deserving of an entirely new word: clownshit: something produced by clowns, entirely for consumption by other clowns. For example, pretty much everything coming out of the Sunday-morning inside-the-Beltway talkers these days is total clownshit.

Oh, and one more thing... why do these media clowns insist on calling what's going on now a "recovery"? Cripes, man, I don't see any goddamn' "recovering" going on. What are they, afraid that if they actually type or utter the word "depression", their heads will explode?


got to give it to you flug
clown shit is perfect
i shall use it frequently
and with a bow to its creator


depression certainly dexscribes
our job markets

but i use the word stagnation
a contrived artful stagnation
and it is working its way to its own secret end

a new arrangement of trade and finance flows internationally

one most think local
but smell globaly
what's rotten isn't in denmark

its ...well ..let me put it this way
its every where visa is taken


"Clownshit" is perfect.


"Democrats give better ratings"

Why aren't we surprised?


When I was in highschool we said "shit-con-heel" instead of shit heel. I didn't know why, but assumed it was an intensification by multiplication thing, or verbal shock and awe. Now I can see the second word was either French for stupid (stupid shit heel, in effect), Middle English for cunt (shit cunt heel), or possibly, con and heel were one word, "canaille", French for dog (or, shit dog.)

Keeping the English language lively and relevant, we were!


I read the NY Mag article. It seems to come from a galaxy that I can barely begin to describe, but a vaguely unsettling one that at turns bores me and makes me queasy. The author -- via the personages he chronicles and voices he channels -- seems to be suffering the delusion of heroically challenging liberal-centrist pieties. Actually, he meekly tweaks the pieties for a moment, and then a moment later absent-mindedly forgets what he's done and indulges and reinforces them.

And the plain brown wrapper mediocrity disguised as incisive analysis is stunning. Well, I guess it's no surprise. The fella admiringly sources Matt Hayes and Ezra Klein. These guys are selling flavorless toothpaste that doesn't even clean your teeth. (Read their fucking quotes. Not just apologetic or clueless, but astonishingly banal. The effect is like eating a bologna sandwich pumped full of a dramamine.)

Then there are many passages, big chunks of them, where the signifying chain just breaks down. The link between words and referents dissolves and shit plain doesn't make any sense. Is there is a literacy crisis?


Chris Hayes, not Matt Hayes

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