Paul Krugman is always a pleasure to read, in that he is so often right, and so often cuts to the heart of the matter. This morning’s column is particularly insightful: Trump and His Infallible Advisers
Trump and company didn’t make a one-time mistake. They grossly minimized the pandemic and its dangers every step of the way, week after week over a period of months. And they’re still doing it.
And this is because . . .
At a time of crisis, America is led by a whiny, childlike man whose ego is too fragile to let him concede ever having made any kind of error. And he has surrounded himself with people who share his lack of character.
Now here is where it gets interesting:
What has struck me, as details of Trump’s coronavirus debacle continue to emerge, is that he wasn’t getting bad advice from obscure, fringe figures whose only claim to fame was their successful sycophancy. On the contrary, the people telling him what he wanted to hear were, by and large, pillars of the conservative establishment with long pre-Trump careers.
What these “pillars” share with Trump, Krugman writes, is an inability to admit mistakes. He singles out Kevin Hassett, an economist (I hesitate to say “fellow economist” because I like Krugman and don’t want to insult him). Hassett is, among other things, the author of Dow 36,000, a seriously flawed prediction of the stock market with, as Krugman says, major conceptual errors — but Hassett never acknowledged that, just as he never acknowledged his misreading of the housing bubble or other serious blunders. And Hassett — who has no experience in epidemiology — is the person Trump picked to lead a team to come up with a “better” model for predicting Covid-19 deaths because Trump didn’t like the answer the real experts were giving him.