The New York Times' Paul Krugman called the National Rifle Association an "insane organization" on ABC's This Week Sunday. Earlier last week Krugman actually said "death panels," the critique of Obama-care popularized by Sarah Palin and universally mocked by liberals, while discussing the necessity of cutting health care costs.
Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters caught the NRA quote.
Krugman: But what really strikes me -- I don't know how this plays, you know, what will happen. What strikes me is we've actually gotten a glimpse into the mindset, though, of the pro-gun people and we've seen certainly Wayne LaPierre and some of these others. It's bizarre. They have this vision that we're living in a "Mad Max" movie and that nothing can be done about it, that America cannot manage unless everybody's prepared to shoot intruders, that -- the idea that we have a police forces that provides public safety is somehow totally impractical, despite the fact that, you know, that is, in fact, the way we live. So I think that the terms of the debate have shifted. Now the craziness of the extreme pro-gun lobby has been revealed, and that has got to move the debate and got to move the legislation at least to some degree.
Former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina pushed back, leading Krugman to clarify that while many gun owners are fine, the NRA is in fact "an insane organization."
Fiorina: Paul said something that's illustrative of what I meant when I said people overplay their hands. What Paul just did was lump everybody together as a crazy radical gun-owner.
Krugman: Not true.
Fiorina: Yes. So you're condemning people...
Krugman: No, there are plenty of gun-owners who are fine. But the lobbying groups, the NRA is now revealed as an insane organization, and that matters quite a lot.
Earlier last week, on January 30, Krugman spoke at the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue in D.C. (Krugman is out hawking the paperback edition of "End This Depression Now!," his paean to more government spending on infrastructure and other forms of stimulus.) During the Q&A, Breitbart's Joel Griffith noted, Krugman was asked about the rising national debt. A truncated version of his remarks follows:
We’re going to need more revenue, we're going to need, and probably in the end, surely in the end it will require some sort of middle class taxes as well. So again, we won’t be able to pay for the kind of government the society we want without some increase in taxes, not a huge one, but some increase on taxes on the middle class, maybe a value-added tax.... And we’re also going to do, really, we're going to have to make decisions about health care, not pay for health care that has no demonstrated medical benefits. So you know the snarky version I use, which is, I shouldn’t even say because it will get me in trouble, is death panels and sales taxes is how we do this."
This opens Krugman up to charges of hypocrisy, since he called the "death panel" accusation a "smear" in a March 22, 2010 column and an example of the "dishonesty" of Obama-care opponents in a June 29, 2012 column. Does Krugman accept Sarah Palin's argument that Obama-care's cost containment strategy will require health-care rationing after all?