Paul Krugman writes today of “The New Liberal Consensus” which, it turns out, is not actually a consensus at all. That’s not surprising, really, since if you put five liberals in a room you will usually have about fifteen opinions on any given subject.
Krugman is writing about the difference between old fashioned taxicabs, in which drivers receive wages, health insurance, paid vacation, sick leave, retirement benefits, unemployment insurance and have half of their Social Security and Medicare paid for them, and the new Uber thing, where drivers even have to furnish the car they are driving and provide liability and hazard insurance for the damned thing.
Krugman points out that “wages are much less rigidly determined by supply and demand than previously thought,” which begs a couple of questions. First is that if economists are so good with their mathematical formulas and economic “models” why did they think that wages were “rigidly determined by supply and demand” and are only now finding out that they are not?
The second, and more important, question which it begs is that wages not being “rigidly determined by supply and demand” seems like a bad thing for workers, or at least like a major factor affecting the working class, and he tosses it off with no discussion of its cause, effect or what should be done about it. Rather than discussing the impact of economic issues on workers, which you might expect from the liberal populist which he claims to be, he’d rather be talking about what liberals should be doing for their political advantage.
And even on that he can’t adopt an actual liberal position, because he suggests that liberals should “promote the use of new technology without prejudicing the interests of workers,” which is a typical Clinton “third way,” middle-of-the-road approach to not actually taking a position on the issue at all, and that they should, “not let themselves get painted as enemies of innovation,” which is, of course, to support the Uber model and screw the workers, which is precisely what Republicans are doing.