On the Opinion Page: March 21, 2008

21Mar08

In which The Gay Recluse scores selected opinion pieces in The Times.

Paul Krugman/Partying Like It’s 1929

The Short Version: We’re fucked, the only question is exactly how much.

In his words: “The financial crisis currently under way is basically an updated version of the wave of bank runs that swept the nation three generations ago.”

Score: B- (Boring)
Krugman’s made this point continually over the past few years months, so we’re not sure why he writes as if we’re all just meeting him for the first time. A little less dumbing down — e.g., “To grasp the problem, you need to understand what banks do” — would also be nice.

David Brooks/Thoroughly Modern Do-Gooders

The Short Version: Who needs government when you have social entrepreneurs!

In his words: “Earlier generations of benefactors thought that social service should be like sainthood or socialism. But this one thinks it should be like venture capital.”

The Score: D (Disingenuous)
Although we almost never disagree with anything these so-called social entrepreneurs are doing — helping single moms, increasing literacy, etc. — we still get the sense that they are flourishing as a consequence of bad government, not all government, as Brooks implies. The other annoying thing about this column is that it’s a total repeat of what Kristof wrote on social entrepreneurs two months ago; basically, Brooks could have written his in one sentence: “What Kristof said in January — gotta run, see you next time!”

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