Paul Krugman visited Rachel Maddow on her MSNBC show Tuesday and discussed the relationship between financial and political power.
Maddow showed what she called her "epiphany graph of the day," which showed that the country has been more politicized when the economy dips. Maddow wondered why this might be the case.
She asked, "Do you think it is that people who have more literal capital accrue more political capital automatically - that you end up getting listened to more because you have more money to spend on politicians?"
Krugman agreed and said, "Yes, it's the power of money. It works in both crude ways and subtle ways." Krugman said that the ability to contribute hefty amounts to campaigns as well as help politicians think about what they're going to do when they leave office carry a lot of weight. He also noted the more subtle ways in which money can influence politics.
"I've been in meetings with the guys from Wall Street," Krugman said. "The guys from Wall Street are impressive. They're smart, they're funny, they're rich, they have great tailors and they tend to get treated seriously even if they've just destroyed the world. They tend to have a weight that bearded college professors don't in these discussions."
Krugman added that there's a strong influence of power and wealth, "which you need to actively lean against. And you try to convince politicans with good hearts that you know that guy may sound impressive and look impressive but fundamentally, he is not on your side."
Maddow asked if Krugman has seen conservative arguments about the economy change in character. "You're watching the hereditary principle starting to make a comeback," he said. "We see that a little bit from Mitt Romney. We used to think it's all about equal chances and starting line. Now it's...people should have the right to pass advantages onto their children."
Krugman later added, "We're really trying to get back to the old values of hereditary wealth and power. We've moved to a level of shamelessness in many of these things."
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