Paul Krugman Profile picture
Nov 24 5 tweets 1 min read
Watching the world's richest man descend ever deeper into the Q-hole has been amazing. I blame economic anxiety 1/
One thing I haven't seen discussed, however, is how inequality has magnified the influence of paranoid plutocrats. There have always been super-rich people disconnected from reality; that's what being surrounded by sycophants can do. But they matter much more now 2/
To put some numbers to it: 50 years ago J.Paul Getty was America's richest man, and a very strange guy. But he was worth "only" ~$2 billion. Until recently Musk was worth >100X times that. 3/
True, a billion $ isn't what it used to be: nominal GDP up by a factor of ~20, total wealth somewhat more. But Musk's spending power is still much bigger relative to America than Getty's was. So his solipsism can do far more damage than that of billionaires past 4/
The point is that being ultra-rich was always dangerous to one's mental health. But these days it matters more to the rest of us than it did in a more equal society 5/

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More from @paulkrugman

Nov 26
Idle thoughts on the Muskopalypse, crypto and all that. How much is about midlife crises among formerly cool tech bros? 1/
What is cool? Always hard to define, but it's a real thing. And a dozen years ago tech had it. Musk had it longer: obviously his perceived cool was a major marketing tool 2/
But cool often doesn't last; cool guys get older, and tech has suffered in particular from diminished delivery 3/
Read 8 tweets
Nov 25
Revisiting an article from two years ago I get a lot of grief over, in which I predicted a V-shaped recovery from the pandemic slump. The funny thing is that on the economics I was ... right 1/…
Here's employment, which did in fact experience a V-shaped recovery that contrasted with sluggish recovery after the 2008 crisis 2/ Image
Although inflation has created a lot of anger, it hasn't prevented a rise in real consumption, i.e., a higher average standard of living 3/ Image
Read 7 tweets
Nov 23
It's Thanksgiving weekend. I'm not driving, but many Americans are, confronting gasoline prices that ... aren't all that high 1/
Taking the historical perspective, here's the gas price relative to wages, which is higher than 2014-2020, but not in a longer-term view 2/
And as some have pointed out to me, mileage has risen a lot over time, so the actual cost of driving isn't especially high at all 3/
Read 4 tweets
Nov 20
OK, gonna start dual-posting on Twitter and Mastodon. Let’s see if this works. 1/
So, I’ve been noticing a real change in tone in online discussion of inflation (by sophisticated observers). Suddenly more talk about inflation coming down pretty fast, maybe without a recession. Why, and is it justified? 2/
It’s more than one good inflation print. Growing realization that a lot of official inflation is driven by shelter, which is very much a lagging indicator. Here’s BLS rent v Zillow (which itself is a 3m moving average, and hence lags a bit) 3/
Read 7 tweets
Nov 18
Want to come back to this. Far too soon to declare victory over inflation. But good reason to believe that inflation will come down significantly even if there isn't a recession, as market rents get reflected in official shelter costs 1/
Some people looking at inflation ex food, energy and shelter. But I've grown reluctant to look at indexes that exclude more and more stuff. Much risk of motivated reasoning — results can depend on exactly what you exclude 2/
Plus the narrower the index, the more it can be swayed by idiosyncratic stuff, like how you measure health insurance costs. And by the way, if true shelter inflation can surge and plunge the way it has, what is "core" anyway? 3/
Read 4 tweets
Nov 13
Can Ron DeSantis effectively challenge Trump? I have no idea. But one thing I hope doesn't get forgotten in the horse-race coverage is DeSantis's major achievement as governor: the unnecessary death of around 20,000 Floridians 1/
Here's how I get that number. Compare Covid deaths by state since Jan. 1, 2021 — roughly when vaccines became widely available. (2020 comparisons distorted by early carnage in New York areas when we didn't know it was airborne) 2/
By state, deaths since then are

FL 59,170
CA 70,565
NY 35,247

But CA has a much larger population than FL, NY a slightly smaller one. 3/
Read 6 tweets

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