Questions for Paul Krugman

27 Sep

Paul Krugman, Nobel Laureate in Economics, Princeton University professor and New York Times columnist, will speak at Ramapo College on September 29th.   Krugman is the president of the Eastern Economic Association, which is housed in the Anisfield School of Business at Ramapo.  Before Krugman makes his presentation, he will dedicate the Global Financial Markets Trading Lab in the business school. There will be a Q&A session after Krugman’s talk and students and faculty should ask him the following questions:

  • Do you agree with Thomas Sowell’s observation?  “The first lesson of economics is scarcity: There is never enough of anything to satisfy all those who want it.  The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics.”
  • Why is Bernie Madoff in jail for operating a Ponzi scheme while the federal government runs the two biggest Ponzi schemes in history—Social Security and Medicare?
  • Should interest rates be determined by savings and the demand for funds or manipulated by the Federal Reserve?
  • Why is creating money out-of-thin air good for the economy?
  • Are you concerned that the Federal Reserve’s purchase of more than one trillion of debt will wreck cause the value of the dollar to plummet against major currencies?   If not, why not?
  • What causes financial bubbles?
  • Should the federal government or any level of government redistribute income?  In other words, do you believe in the statement:  “From each according to his ability to each according to his needs”?
  • What is the optimal federal income tax rate structure?  What income tax rates will maximize prosperity and high employment?  Why is a progressive income tax system moral?
  • You support a single payer health care system.  Do you also support a single federal government provider for food, energy, automobiles, housing, higher education, etc.?
  • What programs and departments of the federal government should be phased out because they are ineffective, inefficient or unauthorized by the U.S. Constitution?
  • Do you agree or disagree with Frederic Bastiat’s observation:  ‘Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all.”
  • Why should banks be able to borrow short and lend long?
  • Should fractional reserve banking be prohibited?
  • Do you agree with this statement from Thomas Jefferson’s first inaugural address: “… a wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government….
  • Do you agree with H.L. Mencken’s statement about government:  The state — or, to make matters more concrete, the government — consists of a gang of men exactly like you and me. They have, taking one with another, no special talent for the business of government; they have only a talent for getting and holding office. Their principal device to that end is to search out groups who pant and pine for something they can’t get, and to promise to give it to them. Nine times out of ten that promise is worth nothing. The tenth time it is made good by looting ‘A’ to satisfy ‘B’. In other words, government is a broker in pillage, and every election is a sort of advanced auction on stolen goods.
  • Do you agree with Warren Buffet’s observation?  “When the financial history of this decade is written, it will surely speak of the Internet bubble of the late 1990s and the housing bubble of the early 2000s.” But the U.S. Treasury bond bubble of late 2008 may be regarded as almost equally extraordinary.”
  • Is the national debt a blessing as Alexander Hamilton asserted or a curse as others have argued?
  • Do you support the War on Drugs?  If not, will you lead an effort to repeal one of the federal government’s worst policies.
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