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Krugman’s “Zombie Ideas” is itself a zombie idea

February 15, 2013

NY Times columnist Paul Krugman has written again about “zombie ideas”, see “Rubio and the Zombies“:

Mr. Rubio is a rising star, to such an extent that Time magazine put him on its cover, calling him “The Republican Savior.” What we learned Tuesday, however, was that zombie economic ideas have eaten his brain. In case you’re wondering, a zombie idea is a proposition that has been thoroughly refuted by analysis and evidence, and should be dead — but won’t stay dead because it serves a political purpose, appeals to prejudices, or both. The classic zombie idea in U.S. political discourse is the notion that tax cuts for the wealthy pay for themselves, but there are many more. And, as I said, when it comes to economics it appears that Mr. Rubio’s mind is zombie-infested.

Krugman goes on to refer to “revisionist history” and specifically call out Republican philosophy of small government:

Mr. Rubio Tuesday night: “This idea — that our problems were caused by a government that was too small — it’s just not true. In fact, a major cause of our recent downturn was a housing crisis created by reckless government policies.” Yep, it’s the full zombie.


In fairness to Mr. Rubio, what he’s saying isn’t any different from what everyone else in his party is saying. But that, of course, is what’s so scary.


repeating the old slogans, but louder.

But, isn’t that the same thing Krugman is doing? The “disturbing picture, and one that bodes ill for our nation’s future” is not one-sided.

Allow me to redefine Kruman’s “zombie ideas”. They are the propositions of your opponents. They are not definitively wrong, they are wrong from your perspective. They won’t go away because you can’t definitively prove them wrong and lots of people on the other side are convinced. They are zombies because you can’t beat them and they just keep coming. But if they were definitively wrong then you could beat them, it’s because they are not so definitive, they are part of complicated controversies and the name-calling doesn’t solve anything.

Still, I have to give credit to Krugman for ignoring Rubio’s water bottle — that said, the plastic may be the biggest zombie in the room.

zombie paul krugman

And see also ZombieLaw’s other “Zombies of the 2013 State of the Union”


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