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Douthat's column seems like a more substantive or accurate version of what Mitt Romney expressed or attempted to express with his 47% remarks, or more recently with his campaign donor wrap up phone call. I'm surprised Krugman was even capable of responding even handedly to RD's column.

Well, he didn't. And I would have likewise been shocked had he been capable. His lack of hysterics is not even-handedness, it's just smugness.

Douthat and Krugman are colleagues. They probably have to interact with each other in real life. And that usually makes a big difference in what one is willing to say.

It is a rare Krugman column where he actually just explains his point of view. I couldn't find one insult, and the tone was neither arrogant nor smug. The person he disagreed was not called a zombie, a liar, or the sarcastic "Very Serious Person."

It was as if he left his account open, and someone else submitted the blog post on his behalf.

Or, perhaps now that the election is over, he has less need to rally the troops with his usual anger and vitriol.

3. I'm surprised to still see liberals citing Sweden and its high rate of out-of-wedlock birth. The Swedes have a higher rate than the U.S. but the parents tend to remain in the same household and raise the child together.

Births to unmarried women in U.S. are at about 40%. In Sweden, almost 55%.

But in the U.S., almost 30% of households with children are single-parent whereas in Sweden that figure is at about 19%.

So welfare state or two-parent households?


Conservatives have dictated that if a man exists in the household, then he must provide the household income, because the man must provide, even if he is poor, isolated in low cost housing far from even the menial jobs in the suburbs, because he should just get in the car he doesn't have, because he can't possibly afford a car on the low wages he can earn, so, the only way to provide for a child, even of marriage, is to leave your kid behind with the mother so she can get welfare, and the mother must kick her partner out to get welfare, because as a family, they will starve and end up homeless.

Conservatives latched onto Moynihan's observation that welfare policy broke up families by doubling down on the aspects of welfare policy that broke up families.

If conservatives valued the tradition family based on marriage, then the traditional married family would get the greatest welfare support to make sure the family is healthy and secure, provide the resources so the family can succeed and become self-supporting, not attack such families by driving them into poverty with the only hope of survival based on breaking up the family to get on welfare.

I have seen a lot of conservative criticisms of public transit that has said "it would be cheaper to give each rider a car" but I have never seen any conservative actually propose providing free cars or free taxis to the poor who rely on horrid public transit to get around. Who in their right mind would ride for an hour or more on buses to get to and from work if their job paid enough for them to buy a reliable car? If you can't afford a car, how do you get to better jobs than the limited options off public transit, or within walking or biking distance of where you live? Conservatives generally oppose zoning that requires a walkable or bikeable environment on the basis that they takeaway from car drivers.

Go down the list of household expenses, and in the "red states" the way you solve the financial access problem is by breaking up the family. Single mom's with children get food subsidies, subsidized health care, subsidized child care, subsidized housing, but the single man or woman, or the married couple without children are left in the lurch.

Sweden, like its peers, provides for health care and housing aid plus income support based on the community, which all support businesses who can't or won't pay living wages with the social security that is the basis of a good middle class family in the US.

It is Sweden's social welfare society that supports the family, not the American conservative social welfare policy that breaks up families. Ending welfare for single women with children which is basically the only thing provided will not do anything to maintain the traditional family. Homeless shelters can't handle the families today, so ending the welfare that is the safety net for the destitute family if they break up is not going to eliminate the destitute families.

I enjoyed the Douthat piece, unsurprising as I am a conservative, but I also thought that Krugman's reply was very reasonable.....and that was a surprise.

Those were good articles on both sides. I was also surprised with Krugman's reasonable reply. And it's been a long time since I've read a Krugman column and thought it made some good points.

Its a post-election olive branch the NYT extends to their conservative readers to prevent their complete defection to the WSJ.

"Some reasons why I don’t believe in Scottish independence."
I didn't see any actual reasons given.

However far-fetched it might be to chatter about the good that would be effected by the bracing consequences of independence, it would have to be independence indeed; holding onto the leading reins of the EU would be absurd.

So the reason Obama won is because we are a nation of Shook Ones, needing a nanny to smooth over the rough spots of life. That's sad. We don't have a nation of adults, but children begging for a mother. The only difference is who gets to be Mommy.


But the wave that swept Obama to the presidency began in 2006 when 12 years of Republican control of Congress fighting Clinton to deliver good government and smaller government and thus prosperity for all, leading to six years of Republican control of Congress and the White House which would mean even smaller government, greater good government, and a fantastic economy....

The Shook Ones were created in 2006 as the evidence of the disintegrating economy from Republican governance created unease.

There were clearly no adults making mortgages based on the idea that capital assets always increase in price because depreciation always increases value...

There were clearly no adults in devising a tax system that taxes labor income at higher rates than income from gambling with other people's money on pump and dump ponzi schemes.

There were certainly no adults when Romney, the architect of Romneycare to cut costs to small businesses was nominated to oppose national Romneycare as harming small businesses, and who claimed identity with the unemployed and working poor by touting his unemployment at $20 million a year income taxed at less than 14% which denouncing the 47% which includes millions paying directly and indirectly the same tax rate for working but no income tax. After all, if Mitt were to earn his income from labor, his tax rate would be much higher, so the tax system over the past few decades has evolved to tax work to destruction in favor of gambling on pump and dumping stocks and real estate.

Where are the adults in the Republican party when it comes to hiking taxes to pay for the things they say the nation must pay for, like wars?

Federal tax burdens are 25% lower today than in 2000, and you can hardly claim the Federal debt is starving the private sector sitting on over three trillion in cash of money to invest more wisely than government - large parts of the three trillion in private money is invested in Federal debt because that is their idea of the wisest investment available.

And where are the adults when the justification of high pay for CEOs and on stocks is the high risks they take, claiming they can't operate because their is too much uncertainty creating high risk and they need government guarantees of their investments to eliminate the risks.

Where are the adults who can pick either "government spending does not create jobs" or "the sequester cuts in government spending will kill jobs"? Can't an adult figure out whether government spending creates jobs or not?

And if the deficit must be reduced immediately by cutting entitlements, but entitlements can't be cut for ten years but the cuts in entitlements in ten years means taxes can be cut immediately and the immediate increase in deficits solves the deficit problem is adult logic?

The debt burden was going down steadily until 1980 when conservatives provided the required adult fiscal policy, and the only time it fell again was when the evil Clinton was president. Obama has the debt burden on the same track as Reagan, Bush, and Bush, so isn't Obama being the same kind of adult as Reagan, Bush, and Bush?

I'm stunned. Krugman could have taken the low road, as he so often does, but actually provided counterpoint commentary without getting down in the mud.

I guess there's a first time for everything.

Krugman's response was surprisingly civil and clear.

He mentions that Sweden seems to be doing well with over half of all children born out of wedlock, and credits the welfare state with ensuring stability/thriving. I'd say that the chickens haven't come home to roost yet, re: that remarkably radical social "experiment" of having over half your children born out of wedlock.

The issue here, as Chuck Ross explains above, is that wedlock is a useless statistic for comparisons. People simply don't get married as much in Sweden, even if they do co-habitate.

Quite so. We should be looking at single parent households.

The NY Times reportedly has rules limiting how or in what terms its columnists can criticize one another. Krugman's piece here is much more effective as advocacy than many of his other columns and blog posts, where he goes out of his way to impugn the integrity and/or intelligence (usually and) of those whose views do not match his own. To be a better advocate, and just to explain his positions more clearly and persuasively to a broader audience, he should stifle is inner middle-schooler. Maybe he should assume that everyone he wants to criticize is a fellow Times columnist.

I can't think of any difference between the typical Swedish single-parent family and the typical American single-parent family that might cause disparate outcomes, can you?

Where's Steve Sailer when you need him?

I wasn't gonna, but here you go, this struck me as funny:
"Beside the Swedes, the Sweden-Finns are the largest ethnic minority...
Sweden Finns (ruotsinsuomalaiset in Finnish, sverigefinnar in Swedish) are a Finnish-speaking minority in Sweden. The Finnish-speaking Swedes are not to be confused with the Swedish-speaking Finland-Swedes in Finland (and Sweden)."

So, the biggest minority in Sweden is Finns...

"[C]reated by social disintegration and unified by economic fear."

Well who and/or what is doing the "creating" seems to be in serious doubt, but I suppose just assuming that it must not be (even partially) Republicans makes Douthat feel better. Nearly across the board failure for the majority of Americans and it might not be the fault of Democrats "necessarily" says Douthat. Okay, that's certainly reasonable.

Douthat's claim that Hispanics support Obama because they have not succeeded economically does not explain why other highly educated and prosperous minority groups, like Asians and Jews also supported him in large percentages.

Asians support the Democrats because the majority live on the coasts.

because diversity + proximity = war.

or, to put it in more inflammatory terms, the racial minorities of any large multiracial society will always reflexively vote against the majority's interests, even if the blowback harms their own interests.

Jews support liberal candidates largely due to the championing of civil rights. Their long history of persecution is hard to forget.

Asians vote for Democrats because Republicans and especially Tea Partiers are correctly seen as dangerous, crazy people.

People don't like you because they correctly see you as a dangerous, crazy person.

Swing and a miss, Cliffy.

Then you would have to assume that the Jewish community voted Republican before LBJ. You know, when the Republicans were forming groups like the NAACP. And the Democrats were the polite wing of the KKK. When over 80% of Republicans in Congress voted for the 1964 Civil Rights Act - and only 60% or so of Democrats did.

Did they? Did the African-American community?

White racism is not the problem. The Republicans have never been the party of White racsts anyway. Something else is driving the voting of racial minorities.

African American community voting before 1964? You know that wasn't actually allowed either by law or by custom in large parts of the US right? The parties switched ideologies, there isn't any point in pretending they didn't.

"The parties switched ideologies, there isn’t any point in pretending they didn’t."

No, they didn't. The Democrats abandoned stark oppression of blacks, because it was ugly and oppressive. Not that there aren't still plenty of Democrats that believe in segregation, but they are mostly north of 80 at this point.

Claiming that Republican's have become pro-segregationist or pro-slavery is just mindless partisan rhetoric.

The institution which is most sorely missed is the secure middle class job.

One can believe in two parent families and responsible personal behavior and still be a staunch Obama supporter. If the Romney campaign had been honest about the facts, their values or their policies they would have gotten less than 30% of the vote.

Vague hyperbole in support of my chosen tribe!

Look at how much trouble Romney caused when he said what he really thought - both before and after the election.

Romney lied about his tax plan and lied about what they would do to Medicare. I am of the view that if they had told the truth they would have been wiped out.

We could find out - it is not too late for the Republicans to explain Romney's tax plan with details showing how the math would work.

The middle class was also the chosen tribe of Aristotle.

Did Obama even win single white women or was the race all about race? Surely more blacks and Hispanics agree more with Romney than Obama than voted for Romney. You could say that more whites agree more with Obama than than voted for Obama but I suspect that was a smaller factor. Blacks known to be republicans like Colin Powell and Charles Barkley came out for Obama. I was tempted to vote for Obama despite his outrageous rhetoric because he was the first black president and the black homicide rate plummeted under his presidency. In the end I went with Gary Johnson.

obama won single white women. it was about race and sex. both racial and social demographics are converging on Total Marginalization of the GOP in the decades, perhaps generations, to come. nice job, rove!

Wishful thinking

Republicans will recover just fine. David Frum has it all correct when he says the conservative media and top level donors corned the candidates into bad positions. They'll sound dumb for a few months while still in shock but they'll change. Just need new candidates with the onions to blow off Limbaugh. Once a few of them do it the radio guys and Fox News will fall into line.

3. I found the two op eds pretty empty (even for the format)...just a translation of the campaign to intellect-speak. I give Krugman that the economic shocks to household have been bigger and likely more unpredictable recently. And Douthat is right that changes in family and community life have weakened private safety nets and elevated the importance of government support for many. And this leads us to Sweden, really? If we can't be a little more creative this early in the next election cycle,we never will be. Why not help household build a better 21st century private safety net themselves and not just beef up the social one? Social Security is basically forced savings for old age. What about forced (or encouraged) saving for these greater life shocks? Sadly neither side seems interested in involving the individual who is having trouble in the solution. Then again maybe I missed it in the glow of civility.

And how would you create the system where the household can build the private safety net themselves?

Argue that employers should be free to lower wages and eliminate all benefits?
Argue that health providers charge really high rates to those who need care, or deny them care entirely if their employer pays them low wages?

Who is promoting family values? The protesters against requiring work on Thanksgiving day or be fired by the likes of Wal-Mart, or the protesters picketing Wal-Mart for its labor practices requiring families disrupt their family to promote debt funded consumerism?

And by the way, one third of Social Security beneficiaries have nothing to do with old age, but the loss of income from death and disability. Paul Ryan was a SS beneficiary in his teens, but he was not old.

5. Take that, Baumol!

What about English indepedence? If they had a referendum the Celtic parasites would soon be left to themselves.

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