Krugman takes jab at NYT colleague without dropping names

Will Rahn Senior Editor
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Liberal economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman attacked unnamed pundits in an article published Thursday, and was almost certainly referencing his Times editorial page colleague Thomas Friedman, Slate’s Dave Weigel notes.

“Here we are in America again on the eve of a major budgetary decision by yet another bipartisan ‘supercommittee,’ and does anyone know what President Obama’s preferred outcome is?” Friedman, an avowed centrist, wrote in a column published by the paper on Wednesday.

The next day, Krugman struck back against centrist pundits he says are too willing to blame both sides for Washington gridlock. While he did not mention his colleague by name, in keeping with a long standing Times’ policy, Krugman’s language leaves little doubt that Friedman was the target.

“Oh, and let me give a special shout-out to ‘centrist’ pundits who won’t admit that President Obama has already given them what they want,” Krugman wrote. “The dialogue seems to go like this. Pundit: ‘Why won’t the president come out for a mix of spending cuts and tax hikes?’ Mr. Obama: ‘I support a mix of spending cuts and tax hikes.’ Pundit: ‘Why won’t the president come out for a mix of spending cuts and tax hikes?’”

This would not be the first time the Nobel laureate has taken a shot at his globe-trotting colleague. Friedman, a big fan of reporters quoting cab drivers while abroad, was the recipient of another not-so-subtle dig from Krugman just a few weeks ago.

“What I’ve learned so far: daybreak is really late here this time of year!” Krugman wrote on his blog while attending a conference in Iceland. “But the sun is finally out, so soon I’ll get out and about, and find a wise cab driver to explain everything walk around and probably learn nothing, because I’m mainly a numbers guy.”

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