How Paul Krugman Became a Liberal
New York Times economist wasn't always political
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 22, 2010 2:20 PM CST
Paul Krugman is seen at a press event with other Nobel laureates at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm, Sweden, Sunday, Dec. 7, 2008.   (AP Photo / Fredrik Persson / SCANPIX)

(Newser) – Believe it or not, Paul Krugman once worked for Ronald Reagan. It’s not that Krugman was conservative; it’s that he just wasn’t political. He was an academic, and only vaguely aware of the growing right-left divide. “I feel now like I was sleepwalking through the twenty years before 2000,” says the subject of a lengthy profile in this week's New Yorker. But then came George W. Bush, who changed everything.

Krugman, who’d just gotten his New York Times gig, couldn’t help but pay attention to the outright lies Bush told during the campaign. He spoke out against a right he saw as increasingly based in fantasy and was soon intoxicated by politics. Now Krugman is more influential in Washington than ever, with Democrats feverishly reading his columns and calling him for advice. But it’s been sobering. With liberals in power, “I’ve seen what it actually takes to make policy change happen,” he says. “It’s pretty revelatory.”