Regular Cafe patron Jon Murphy sent the following letter to Paul Krugman. I asked Jon for permission to post the letter in full here at Cafe Hayek. Jon kindly granted that permission.
Dear Dr. Krugman:
Your editorial “Why We Fight Wars” (New York Times, Page A18, August 18 2014) is particularly good. You draw upon the body of knowledge known as Public Choice Economics to discuss how wars often serve political, rather than practical or useful, ends. I suspect you will exercise similar caution when discussing political solutions to economic and social issues? After all, if politicians are willing to go to war to boost ratings or distract from other contentious issues (as you suggest), shouldn’t we give the same level of skepticism towards domestic polices, such as stimulus spending, subsidies, or trade policy? It seems inconsistent to think that politicians would be so cynical as to serve their own interests internationally, but be enlightened enough to direct economic and social policy benevolently at home.
Prof. Krugman understands that miracles do not occur to transform ordinary, poorly informed, and venal human beings into saintly Hollywood heroes when those ordinary, poorly informed, and venal human beings are elected to political office and turn their attention to wielding military power. It’s inexplicable that Krugman nevertheless believes in such miracles when those ordinary, poorly informed, and venal human beings are elected to political office and turn their attention to intervening into the economy.