07 June 2011

The Polarization of Politics

In a blog post yesterday, Paul Krugman sees the withdrawal of Peter Diamond as a candidate for membership on the Federal Reserve Board and laments the polarization of politics:
What you need to know about Peter is not just that he’s a very great economist, but that he’s an economist’s economist — someone who is a deeply respected theorist, not at all someone who made his way as an ideologue. His work is basically apolitical.

Except that these days everything is political.

Never mind the obviously fake concerns about his suitability for the Fed. Obviously, Peter was blackballed for two sins: being personally a Democrat, and having been nominated by Obama.

The thing is, the Fed was supposed to be above and aside from the partisan brawl. It never was, completely — but that was an ideal to be striven for. No more.
This is of course ironic because in the area of economic policy few people can claim more responsibility for the polarization of politics than Paul Krugman.  Clive Crook, who also laments Diamond's withdrawal, calls Krugman on this logical inconsistency:
On the view that one side in US politics is irredeemably evil and the other basically right about everything–on Krugman’s view, I mean–why would one want the Fed to avoid taking sides? That’s the kind of thing you’d expect a feeble centrist to say. You know the type. 


  1. The polarization of politics is a given. It goes back at least to the Bork nomination, and there are so many grievances and counter grievances it's going to be impossible to unwind them all. And of course, Paul Krugman railing against partisanship isn't even worth the breath expended in laughing at him.

    More seriously, though, the issue here is money printing, aka QE1/2/3. The GOP doesn't want it. I think they're right. Diamond would be a vote for printing money. It's that simple.

  2. Oh, yeah, the good old days, when politics wasn't polarized at all. I guess that must have been back before the advent of verbal communication, at least.

  3. The irony of Paul Krugman complaining about polarization and divisiveness is one of the richest examples irony I have read in a long time.

  4. Politics is only polarized when people that disagree with me get to have a voice.

  5. OT - BP Statistical Review of Energy just released