Paul Krugman: Children are dying in Flint because "small-government extremists" don't want to give money to "Those People"

It's "typical of the (literally) poisonous interaction between ideology and race"

By Scott Eric Kaufman
January 25, 2016 5:43PM (UTC)
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Paul Krugman at The Commonwealth Club (Commonwealth Club/Creative Commons License)

In his column Monday, the New York Times' Paul Krugman argued that the burgeoning humanitarian crisis in Flint, Michigan isn't the result of a single failed policy in a single American city, but the toxic combination of conservative ideology and race, "in which small-government extremists are empowered by the sense of too many voters that good government is simply a giveaway to Those People."

Krugman acknowledged that what's happening in Flint probably couldn't happen in the wealthier areas of Michigan, like Grosse Pointe, but noted that that's not simply a matter of tax revenue -- it's a shift in the very notion of what constitutes the public good, and who should benefit from it.


As he argued,

a funny thing has happened as hard-line conservatives have taken over many U.S. state governments. Or actually, it’s not funny at all. Not surprisingly, they have sought to cut social insurance spending on the poor. In fact, many state governments dislike spending on the poor so much that they are rejecting a Medicaid expansion that wouldn’t cost them anything, because it’s federally financed. But what we also see is extreme penny pinching on public goods...

Read the rest at the New York Times...

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Scott Eric Kaufman

Scott Eric Kaufman is an assistant editor at Salon. He taught at a university, but then thought better of it. Follow him at @scottekaufman or email him at

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