Sunday, July 16, 2006

DeLong, Mankiw, Krugman and why Paul should leave the NYT

Brad DeLong, Paul Krugman and Greg Mankiw are having a 3 way debate. Paul writes in the NYT, a sad place to be now that he's behind the Paywall (more below). Brad champions Paul in DeLong's blog, Mankiw challenges Paul (and Brad) from his blog. Spectators chime in from the comments section and kibitzers add items in their own blogs. It's all very 21st century.

Mankiw represents a rare breed, the hyper-intelligent and articulate "Republican" (actually, I'm not sure he's Republican, but he did work for Bush for a while). [1] Paul and Brad are Clinton democrats. So it's a great discussion. Today Brad writes:
Brad DeLong's Semi-Daily Journal: The Pattern of Growth in Income Inequality

...The big rise in inequality in the U.S. since 1980 has been overwhelmingly concentrated among the top 1% of income earners: their share has risen from 8% in 1980 to 16% in 2004. By contrast, the share of the next 4% of income earners has only risen from 13% to 15%, and the share of the next 5% of income earners has stuck at 12%. The top 1% have gone from 8 to 16 times average income, the next 4% have gone from 3.2 to 3.7 times average income, and the next 5% have been stuck at 3 times average income...
Mankiw argues that talent and education is worth more than it was, Krugman/DeLong agree that's probably true below the 99th percentile, but the real gains are a "market failure" presumably resulting from the actions of a corrupted legislature (my summary, read the articles to draw your own conclusion).

It's great to see this debate, and it shows again that the the NYT is dying. Krugman can't respond in detail because he's constrained by his 700 word limit. We can't read him directly because the NYT is desperate and needs Krugman to pull in subscribers. One result is we've lost Paul's voice. That's not good.

I'd like to see a major paper lure Paul away, and have Krugman negotiate two things: no paywalls and a blog extension of the printed column ...

[1] Most intelligent Republicans are silent these days, shamed by the glories of Bush.

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