Should the New York Stock Exchange put Paul Krugman on retainer? That’s the conclusion of Paul Greenberg writing in today’s Washington Times.
Surely another dip in the market is bound to come -- so long as there's a business cycle -- but Paul Krugman's magic touch keeps delaying it, turning every down into still another unstoppable up. It's positively unnatural. The man is a kind of walking, talking, and, best of all, writing version of Al Capp's poor little jinx of a character, Joe Btfsplk -- only in reverse, leaving not disaster but good fortune wherever he goes. The New York Stock Exchange ought to put him on retainer. If only Paul Krugman would just keep writing about the coming End of It All, prosperity might be assured.
But it isn’t just Krugman as a contrary indicator of the direction of the financial markets that has caught Greenberg’s attention.
Then there's the language in which Mr. Krugman sends out his jeremiads. It is, in a word, hilarious -- if unintentionally so. He has to be the country's leading practitioner of purple-as-a-bad-bruise prose. Mrs. Malaprop might have spoken like that if only she'd had a Ph.D. in the dismal science.
I've saved my favorite Krugmanism of all time for those occasions when I may need a bit of cheering up: "And when the chickens that didn't hatch come home to roost, we will rue the days when, misled by sloppy accounting and rosy scenarios, we gave away the national nest egg."
As prose, that's a lot of poultry. Try to visualize those chickens that didn't hatch coming home to roost, if you can stop laughing. Why, that's almost Zen, like the sound of one hand clapping. His reference to the national nest egg is just lagniappe.
One note to Greenberg: if you are going to criticize the writings of others, avoid the word “lagniappe.” We have no idea what that word means and no intention of looking it up. In fact, we couldn’t read any further after we saw that word because it made us feel nauseated. It sounds like something we drank at Mardi Gras once and we’re afraid to find out what they put in it.
Sound of one man weeping [Washington Times]