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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

WATCH: Paul Krugman And Joe Scarborough Face Off On Charlie Rose

Charlie Rose featured a deficit debate on his PBS show Monday night between MSNBC’s Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman. The debate got testy at times, as the two traded accusations of ad hominem attacks.

Neither could be said to have decisively “won” the debate—Scarborough came out looking like a politician while Krugman struggled to keep up with the bombardment.  When Scarborough charged Krugman with making incorrect predictions in the past about the future of the economy, the noted economist was unable to defend himself, instead voicing his disappointment that the attacks were taking away from the discussion at hand.

While they disagreed over who has the best approach to fixing the economy, they managed to find some common ground. Both agreed that we should not be overly concerned with short-term spending and wanted to spend billions of dollars on infrastructure projects—two major points of contention for Republicans.

However, there was no consensus on how to go about fixing the economy. Scarborough, in line with Republican leaders, insisted that we should focus on bringing down national debt through spending cuts, while Krugman maintained that this approach would only further harm the economy. What we need instead, he advised, is increased government investment to keep the economy growing and to disregard national debt as a serious issue.

  • charleo1

    It seemed to me, each was having their own conversation. Scarborough was reflectively arguing
    the Right Wing solution. Cut discretionary spending, and of course what Republicans call
    entitlements. Using the ugliest word possible for Senior’s healthcare, and the publicly financed,
    retirement program, Social Security. Something all Seniors love to collect. But the Conservative
    Seniors seem to believe it’s going broke. And since they want to make sure there’s enough money
    left to pay their benefits until they die. They don’t mind when Republicans call it a scam, or ponzi
    scheme. So long as they don’t talk about cutting their benefits. Really! Krugman was making the
    case, that deficits are a long term problem. But if you treat deficits like a short term problem, you
    wind up hurting the economy. And by not making the necessary investments now, to have a growing, job producing economy in future years. You get the worst of both worlds. First you don’t retire the debt to sustainable levels, by trying to cut to balance. And tomorrow’s economy will not be
    able to compete in an ever more global economy. Krugman is right. But balancing the books is not
    what Republicans are all about. It’s starving the beast, reducing the size of government. And if that
    means no retirement with Social Security, or Medicare, they believe that’s a good thing.
    I think they’re full of it.

  • Jim Lou

    This debate illustrates the great divide. There is no attempt to work together as a team.

    • awakenaustin

      Some questions have a correct answer. When one answer is correct and the other answer is incorrect, then a compromise is an incorrect answer. Do you really believe that this nation does not have the economic capacity to sustain an effective, efficient, and competent Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid system? The problem in the health “industry” is the cost of treatment. That problem is not, cannot, and never will be resolved satisfactorily by cutting payments or privatizing the system. Creating a large number of inadequately cared for seniors and poor people is not a solution either long term or short term re: the deficit. The existence of poverty itself is a drain on societal resources. There are real economic costs to poverty, poor health and crappy education.
      We can sustain a military presence virtually world wide, but we cannot afford a school breakfast program for poor and hungry children? Come on? Really?

  • sigrid28

    Listening to this debate, I can only assume that discourse is a lost art, even to these icons of our political conversation. Joe Scarborough wants to have it all his way, so he tries to humiliate Paul Krug by citing former opinions that differ from what he writes now. Character attacks are a proven Republican election tactic Scarborough employs here, but not useful in a fruitful discussion. I don’t blame Krug for being impatient with this personal attack that ignores his approach to our current economic situation, which Krug views as a crisis. I blame Joe Scarborough for refusing to understand Krug’s ideas, or at least pretending not to understand them. Why do this? Because Scarborough would offend his Republican fan base by agreeing with Krug’s ideas, even on Charlie Rose’s program. Our divided media makes useful discourse an impossibility. Let’s just stop listening to these pointless exercises and read everything we can get our hands on, until the 2014 election. Then we will all talk with our votes.