Monday, February 6, 2012

"Purge-and-liquidate"? Really?

Paul Krugman--in his latest op-ed--has come up with a new term for those that would dare to disagree with him: "the purge-and-liquidate crowd." Writing about the apparent good news of the latest jobs report, Krugman wrings his hands over the backlash such positive news might bring:
Friday’s report was, in fact, much better than expected, and has made many people, myself included, more optimistic. But there’s a real danger that this optimism will be self-defeating, because it will encourage and empower the purge-and-liquidate crowd.
Much of the rest of the piece is meaningless drivel--even by Krugman standards--though he oddly points out the realities of the unemployment situation, even as he trumpets the good news of the latest report. I addressed that reality previously, noting that some serious number-juggling would be required to see a drop in the unemployment rate, and of course that's exactly what transpired, as Tyler Durden at ZeroHedge demonstrates:



But let's get back to the new phrase of the week: the purge-and-liquidate crowd. Sounds ominous, doesn't it? Saying "purge" immediately summons images of Stalin and Mao. "Liquidate" has that special duality: fascist regimes liquidate the enemies of the state and the Bain Capitals of the world liquidate nice companies for profit.

So what exactly is Krugman talking about with that phrase? What does this imaginary group want to purge? What does it want to liquidate (aside from Krugman, I guess, but that goes without saying)? I'm all for a clever turn of the phrase, but trying to link ideological foes with communists and fascists by word imagery seems a little much.

Krugman uses the phrase again, near the end of the piece:
And every time we get a bit of good news, the purge-and-liquidate types pop up, saying that it’s time to stop focusing on job creation.
Okay, that's a little more explanatory, but not much. So apparently, people who disagree with the *failing* job creation policies of the current administration want to purge and liquidate...something. What? But the funny thing is, there is no crowd even close to meeting Krugman's apparent definition. First, because there just hasn't been all that much good news (even Krugman admits the jobs report isn't that good) and second, because no one is really offering that response, "stop focusing on job creation."

The use of this phrase is ultimately baffling to me. I have to wonder where it came from, if Krugman read it somewhere, or recently watched Nazi Week on the History Channel. Because there has to be some logical explanation for Krugman's language choice. Doesn't there? Or maybe it's exactly what I said previously:
Krugman, I'm sorry to say, has lost his mind.
Yeah, let's go with that.

Cheers, all.

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