I tend to take anything out of the mouth or pen of Paul Krugman with a grain of salt and then some. In an opinion piece written in the New York Times last night after it became apparent that Donald Trump was going to win the presidency, he made an observation with which I have to agree wholeheartedly .
We still don’t know who will win the electoral college, although as I write this it looks — incredibly, horribly — as if the odds now favor Donald J. Trump. What we do know is that people like me, and probably like most readers of The New York Times, truly didn’t understand the country we live in.
The rest of the piece was how we uneducated boobs didn’t value democratic values or the rule of law and that we voted to make America a failed state. Blah, blah, blah, yada, yada, yada.
Krugman is absolutely correct in that he doesn’t understand America. Living in the rarefied air of Princeton and New York City means that you live in a bubble. The best analogy I can give is that it is a real life Truman Show where the biggest worry of parents is not how they are going to make the mortgage or put food on the table but whether their 2.2 (or less) kids get into an Ivy League college. When you don’t produce a tangible product or when you aren’t compensated by your output, then the lingering downturn in the economy really doesn’t impact you. Those people can then go along in their merry delusions about those of us in the South or in flyover country.
My suggestion to Professor Krugman is to do a Steinbeck-esque road trip across America. Get off the main roads. Stay in small motels. Eat at the diner and the mom & pop restaurants. Visit small businesses. Indeed, go to a gun store and take a shooting class. Go to coal country or places in eastern Kentucky where the best job available is in the local nursing home. If Professor Krugman were to do such a trip and honestly report what he saw and felt, then I would have more respect for him.