First, Krugman on Greece:
Suppose you consider Tsipras an incompetent twerp. Suppose you dearly want to see Syriza out of power. Suppose, even, that you welcome the prospect of pushing those annoying Greeks out of the euro.And now Krugman today, on Jeb and how he embodies conservative economic attitudes in America:
Even if all of that is true, this Eurogroup list of demands is madness. The trending hashtag ThisIsACoup is exactly right. This goes beyond harsh into pure vindictiveness, complete destruction of national sovereignty, and no hope of relief.
The real source of his remark was the “nation of takers” dogma that has taken over conservative circles in recent years - the insistence that a large number of Americans, white as well as black, are choosing not to work, because they can live lives of leisure thanks to government programs.Yes, conservatives in Europe and America favor economic policies that comfort the comfortable. But, in both cases, the specific means of doing that is afflicting the afflicted -- and the way you get popular buy-in on that is to define the afflicted as people who deserve all the affliction they're already suffering, and more, because they're so shiftless and lazy.
You see this laziness dogma everywhere on the right. It was the hidden background to Mitt Romney’s infamous 47 percent remark. It underlay the furious attacks on unemployment benefits at a time of mass unemployment and on food stamps when they provided a vital lifeline for tens of millions of Americans. It drives claims that many, if not most, workers receiving disability payments are malingerers -- “Over half of the people on disability are either anxious or their back hurts,” says Senator Rand Paul.
It all adds up to a vision of the world in which the biggest problem facing America is that we’re too nice to fellow citizens facing hardship. And the appeal of this vision to conservatives is obvious: it gives them another reason to do what they want to do anyway, namely slash aid to the less fortunate while cutting taxes on the rich.
The underdogs are supposed to do all the sacrificing, because the world is divided into the deserving and the undeserving, and the deserving shouldn't really sacrifice at all. The deserving are morally superior. (Middle-class and even lower-class supporters of conservatives, at least here in America, identify with society's winners, even if they don't share in the spoils.)
We're expected to think that the overdogs want to find solutions to economic crises, but, in fact, they don't want to do what's necessary if what's necessary involves serious sacrifice on their part. They think of themselves as the ones who have a genuine work ethic and who are willing to delay gratification, but in reality they insist that their gratification must proceed uninterrupted, because they deserve that. The underdogs don't deserve any gratification, ever, because they don't -- and that's true even if lifting up the underdogs would help bring the economy back to general health. That doesn't matter. What matters is that the underdogs must be punished.