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Letter from alums about Paul Krugman, economist, pundit, and professor

May 8, 2003

I call upon anyone reading Krugman's N.Y. Times columns to fairly analyze how he takes half truths or facts and proceeds to weave his regular diatribe against the Republican administration.

It is illogical to insist everything President Bush or Donald Rumsfed and the administration does or says is so evil as interpreted by Krugman's. According to him there is no such thing as any one having a honest opinion which is different than his. For those reasons the man is intellectually dishonest.

To have him teaching  Economics 101 at Princeton is a travesty.  If you read his columns you would also find he has stated definitely he is for redistribution of wealth. One cannot believe his politically philosophy and propaganda infect his teaching and syllabus. Based upon his columns terming him an "Economics" professor is ludicrous!

Ron Wittreich '50
Englewood, N.J.

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May 4, 2003

The April 23rd letters regarding the article on Professor Krugman were disappointing — one hopes for better from the supposedly alert group Princeton alums are supposed to form. Mr. Kinnebrew accuses him of a lack of patriotism. First, those of us who share his views would say he is one of the only patriots — those who wish the good of the country — left standing. That if there are traitors in our midst, they are those who (for example) risk the lives of our soldiers (and countless innocent civilians) in unjust causes, based on fabricated "evidence."

Second, and beyond the core of that debate, Mr. Kinnebrew seems to imply that there is no place for freedom of expression at an institution such as Princeton. He remembers a time when "Princeton... did not allow a headline-seeking professor to defame..."). Disturbing! Even assuming that Professor Krugman is in error, he represents an important intellectual current. How does Mr. Kinnebrew think his intellectual decendants will learn how wrong mine are if they are never exposed to my point of view, so ably exposed by Professor Krugman?

Mr. Waesche appears a bit self-absorbed. I have also written Professor Krugman on occasion, as I am sure have many thousands of his readers. I received the same form response. In it, he promises to faithfully read comments sent to him.

I trust that he does so, and am honored to be a part of the dialogue. I am sure that he would respond personally if my comments / criticism required it — in general the point I am making is for his consideration. I do not expect him to join a debate with me, personally, any more than his other readers should expect him to do so.

And we are no longer paying tuition to the school, the other thing that might "entitle" us to a more personal response. He is a public figure, by virtue of his column, and we are many individuals. If Mr. Waesche's points are valid, they will sooner or later influence Professor Krugman's column, and that is what Mr. Waesche presumably seeks to do. He should be satisfied with that, and allow Professor Krugman to get on with his writing.

Nicolas Clifford ’82
Philadelphia, Pa.

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April 23, 2003

Regarding J. Edward Waesche's March 2 letter to PAW, it seems regrettable that he did not himself furnish to PAW readership the information that he claims Professor Krugman's form letter "brusquely dismissed."

Without such specifics, it is difficult for me as a PAW reader to attempt to surmise what Krugman's reasons may have been for not replying further. Were Krugman's arguments really "insupportable?" Are words like "manipulations" and "misuse of facts" (fairly serious charges) justified or not?

The only reasonable conclusion I can in fact make is that Alum Waesche has trivialized the issue by referring ad hominem to a columnist's lack of manners rather than focusing on the substance of whatever specific, factual objections he may have.

Idris Magette ’96
New York, N.Y.

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March 5, 2003

First a back page puff piece on the pompous Cornel West, and now, a puff piece on Paul ($50 G's please) Krugman.

Krugman regularly writes a spiteful, partisan hack job in the New York Times, and sheds all pretense of being an "economist," with his endless attacks on President Bush.

Doesn't Princeton have any economists worthy of the name, like Milton Friedman or Gary Becker? Do you have to be a divisive left-wing partisan to get the royal treatment on PAW's back page?

Is it P.U. or is it Pee Cee U?

Stephen Molasky '63
Chicago, Ill.

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March 2, 2003

Did you ask Senator Frist to comment? As a friend told me yesterday Krugman has run off more money from Princeton than any single person.

Please tell Ms. Waldron that she allowed him to wow her with his phony words and embarrassed your magazine and all those alumni who spent time serving our government and remember when Princeton stood for patrtiotism and didn't allow a headline seeking Professor to defame the institution and our President several times a week! I also suggest she check lyinginponds.com to get the true facts on the damage he does under the guise of being an economics professor plus the money he got from Enron.

I hope the Frists don't ask for their building back!!

E. R. "Butch" Kinnebrew lll ’59
Memphis, Tenn.

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March 2, 2003

Your interview with Professor Paul Krugman (February 26) was interesting, especially the answer to your question about the responses to his twice weekly column for the NY Times' Op-Ed page.

On two occasions last fall, I wrote to Professor Krugman to point out that his conclusions were not supported by the facts, which I gladly supplied. He responded with a brusque form letter, the tone of which was dismissive at best. Instead of receiving an acknowledgment of my research, I received a statement to the effect that if he had to answer every letter, he'd never get any work done. When interviewed on the subject, he suggested that the Times was responsible for the snippy form letter. However, that doesn't excuse Prof. Krugman from the responsibility of ensuring that even a form letter can show good breeding.

While I still read his column, I no longer take the time to point out the manipulation or misuse of facts that still, on occasion, become the foundation of some of his insupportable arguments.

J. Edward Waesche '53
Melville, N.Y.

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February 27, 2003

Paul Krugman's readers are passionate about his columns for a very simple reason: They lie. He tells the truth.

Charles L. Ihlenfeld '59
Shelter Is Hts., N.Y.

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