Paul Krugman Fails to Make a Mistake

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Paul Krugman is a target for conservatives everywhere, and for that reason he’s careful with his facts.¹ But National Review’s Kevin Williamson thinks he’s finally caught Krugman in an error:

Professor Krugman argues, for the obvious reason that basing government decisions on falsehoods is bound to lead to bad results: “Listening to a garrulous old guy spout nonsense is annoying in the best of circumstances. But when this particular old guy controls the world’s largest military, nukes included, it’s downright scary.”

I wouldn’t call Professor Krugman a garrulous old guy who spouts nonsense — he is only 65 years old — but, for the record, with 1,347,300 active-duty troops, the United States does not have the world’s largest military. It is No. 3. I point that out only because Professor Krugman as a columnist cannot lean very hard on wit or charm and must therefore attend carefully to the details.

Conservatives really, really want to catch Krugman in an error, don’t they? I think it’s obvious that Krugman is talking here about military spending, in which the US is indeed the world leader. How else could you do it? Sure, China has more troops, but we have ten times more carrier groups. India has more troops than us too, but we have ten times more aircraft. Without bothering to check, I’m going to say that we also have more submarines, more cruise missiles, more stealth bombers, and more ICBMs than both countries put together.

I dunno. How would you define “largest” military? Troops alone seems like a bad metric, doesn’t it?

UPDATE: Williamson emails to say that his piece was meant as a joke. I didn’t pick up on that.

¹I assume he would be regardless, but this is just extra motivation.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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