Paul Krugman, an opinion columnist for the New York Times, was once responsible for calling Bernie Sanders’ economic policies “destructive self-indulgence, but now his tune has changed. Instead of bashing the presidential candidate from Vermont, Krugman is now praising Sanders for his “civic virtue” because he’s pushing for his policies, even though Sanders himself is wealthy.
On Thursday, Krugman, who is a Nobel Prize-winning economist, came to Sanders’ defense. His defense comes shortly after the realization that Sanders is indeed a part of the one percent in the United States, thanks to being propelled into stardom during his 2016 presidential campaign.
Krugman wrote: “A peculiar chapter in the 2020 presidential race ended Monday, when Bernie Sanders, after months of foot-dragging, finally released his tax returns.” He continued by calling the filings “perfectly innocuous.”
Krugman continued by saying that even though it seems that “Sanders got a lot of book royalties after the 2016 campaign, and was afraid that revealing this fact would produce headlines mocking him for now being part of the 1 Percent,” he shouldn’t actually hide how much money he has. It would seem, though, that many people don’t share Krugman’s views about the matter.
“Politicians who support policies that would raise their own taxes and strengthen a social safety net they’re unlikely to need aren’t being hypocrites; if anything, they’re demonstrating their civic virtue,” wrote Krugman wrote. He continued by describing the attacks on Sanders as “stupid.”
According to Bernie Sanders’ 2018 tax return, Sanders and his wife earned over $550,000, which included $133,000 in income from Sanders’ salary from the Senate. Sanders also claimed $391,000 in sales from his book titled, “Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In.”
Sanders’ tax returns also showed that he has been in the top one percent of earners in the United States. According to the Economic Policy Institute, any family that earns $421,926 or more a year is considered to be a part of the one percent.
The fact that Krugman came to Sanders’ defense is pretty surprising, especially since he relentlessly attacked Sanders during the election in 2016. In a column written by Krugman in January of 2016, he criticized Sanders’ principles and said “it’s not a virtue unless it goes along with hardheaded realism,” which, according to some, Sanders doesn’t have.
Krugman continued by saying: “Sorry, but there’s nothing noble about seeing your values defeated because you preferred happy dreams to hard thinking about means and ends. Don’t let idealism veer into destructive self-indulgence.”
During that same month, Krugman released a blog post in which he described Sander’s position on healthcare and financial reform as “disturbing.” Krugman wrote: “And in both cases his positioning is disturbing — not just because it’s politically unrealistic to imagine that we can get the kind of radical overhaul he’s proposing, but also because he takes his own version of cheap shots. Not at people — he really is a fundamentally decent guy — but by going for easy slogans and punting when the going gets tough.”