Paul Krugman: Occupy Wall Street Protest 'a Wonderful Thing'
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman appeared on Charlie Rose's talk show on PBS Wednesday night to discuss the leftist-anarchist Occupy Wall Street movement against inequality. Krugman's encomium to the movement (he recently turned down urgings by his lefty fans to speak at Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan) begins around the 6 minute 45 second mark of the segment:
Paul Krugman: 'What the protests are doing is they've changed the conversation already, and they've changed it onto, we're actually talking about the right things. I mean, the story of where we are now as a nation is we had a monstrous failure of the existing system, followed by an monstrous injustice, we had an enormous, you know, a financial industry that ran wild, crippled the economy, which remains rippled to this day, was bailed out, and the players who bear some responsibility faced virtually no consequences, and more important, there's been very little real reform, some from the Obama administration side, but not as much as we'd like, and the other party's busy trying to tear it down. And somehow the conversation that we've been having about all these issues, is basically not about these issues. We've spent almost two years now with the parties arguing who's got the more convincing fiscal austerity and who can do the most to remove restrictions on business. And now, again, big difference between the parties, don't ever claim there is an equivalence. But the Democrats have to a large extent followed the Republicans off into this blind alley.'
Charlie Rose: 'From the White House, across the spectrum of Pennsylvania Avenue.'
Krugman: 'That's right. And so, all of a sudden, we're now talking about, hey, what about Wall Street, what about these people who made such a mess? How are we going to make sure that the general public shares in whatever economic gains we have, that we have rules in effect that prevent the kind of catastrophe that overtook our economy in 2008. That in itself, even if it ends right there, that's a huge success. But I think the explosion of this movement really suggests that there were an awful lot of people who were just waiting for somebody to say it, and here we are, and it's a wonderful thing.'