The Humbug Express

The Humbug Express by Paul Krugman (The NY Times)

Hey, has anyone noticed that “A Christmas Carol” is a dangerous leftist tract?

I mean, consider the scene, early in the book, where Ebenezer Scrooge rightly refuses to contribute to a poverty relief fund. “I’m opposed to giving people money for doing nothing,” he declares. Oh, wait. That wasn’t Scrooge. That was Newt Gingrich — last week. What Scrooge actually says is, “Are there no prisons?” But it’s pretty much the same thing.

Anyway, instead of praising Scrooge for his principled stand against the welfare state, Charles Dickens makes him out to be some kind of bad guy. How leftist is that?

As you can see, the fundamental issues of public policy haven’t changed since Victorian times. Still, some things are different. In particular, the production of humbug — which was still a somewhat amateurish craft when Dickens wrote — has now become a systematic, even industrial, process.

Let me walk you through a case in point, one that I’ve been following lately… [Continue to read here.]

(If you can’t get to the article at The New York Times, read it here.)

Mr. Krugman ends with this thought:

So in this holiday season, let’s remember the wisdom of Ebenezer Scrooge. Not the bit about denying food and medical care to those who need them: America’s failure to take care of its own less-fortunate citizens is a national disgrace. But Scrooge was right about the prevalence of humbug. And we’d be much better off as a nation if more people had the courage to say “Bah!”

It is amazing to me just how many “Scrooges” we have in office, making decisions that will affect every single person in this country, and how many of those “Scrooges” all seem to congregate in pretty much one party.. You know, the ‘party of values’… Though, those ‘values’ seem to center entirely around greed, promoting war, and pleasing their corporate sponsors. (How ‘Leftist’ of me to say.. Leftist? Or just observant..)

This week Newt Gingrich said one of the dumbest, the most insensitive and hypocritical things I’ve heard yet..

“I’m opposed to giving people money for doing nothing,” he told the crowd of 250 cheering GOP activists in a state with a 10.6 percent unemployment rate.

This said from a man who makes his money “as a direct-mail scam artist”..

This from Rachel Maddow (via Crooks & Liars):

“Let is review for just a second how Newt Gingrich makes his money,” Maddow began. “For starters, he hands out fake awards in exchange for cash.”

“Newt Gingrich makes money right now running a fake awards for small businesses scam,” she continued. “Last year he tried to give one of his fake awards to a small business called The Lodge in Dallas, Texas.”

In exchange for a $5,000 donation, Gingrich offered The Lodge, a strip club, a certificate, a novelty gavel and a dinner with him.

“When Mr. Gingrich realized he was giving one of his fake awards — for a $5,000 donation — to a strip club he decided to rescind the award and the dinner invitation,” Maddow noted.

In mid-December, Gingrich sent another letter to The Lodge and asked them for a $2,000 donation to his American Solutions organization.

“This is how Newt Gingrich makes his money but he doesn’t think that you earned yours,” Maddow observed.

“Newt Gingrich is a direct mail scam artist. He hires the analog equivalent of spammers to troll the Yellow Pages, looking for businesses he can fool into thinking they are winning a ‘Newt award,’ and then he cons money out of them for accepting it,” she said.

Don’t miss this video of  Rachel Maddow discussing Newt Gingrich, December 22, 2010:

2 thoughts on “The Humbug Express

  1. Thanks for providing the alternate link to read Krugman’s column, ‘Muse. I have resisted creating an account with the NYT, because they seem to be moving toward becoming a pay-to-read source, and I don’t want them soliciting me to buy their service.

    Is it really possible that the authors of those articles and speeches about soaring public employment didn’t know what was going on? Well, I guess we should never assume malice when ignorance remains a possibility.

    Krugman is far too kind to the Reich. We should always assume malice, just to be prepared for the worst, when dealing with Republicans. Their messaging is nearly always disingenuous, even when it contains a grain of truth.

    Instead of trying to tear down the public employees, because they are better paid than the private sector, they should be trying to increase the wages and salaries of the private sector, and the fact that they are not doing so, should be the wake-up-call to the voters that the motives of the Republican Party are not in their best interests.

  2. I posted this comment on the Open Thread at 4 this morning…seems more appropriate here:

    Ebenezer, pre-visit by the three ghosts, would have been considered a successful business man, and quite moral in his approach to the poor, by today’s conservative standards. His approach to the poor and unemployed are identical to those espoused by the Right today.

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