News & Criticism

Eat, Drink, Krugman, Woman


Paul Krugman is freaking out again today about America's food supply. This time, of course, the problem is tainted tomatoes.

Opting for a Carrie Bradshaw-style lede question, he asks:

How did America find itself back in The Jungle?

Last time around, you'll recall, Krugman blamed Milton Friedman for our spinach woes.

Fortunately, Alex Tabarrok isn't afraid of raw CDC data (or raw spinach, for that matter). He crunches some numbers and comes up with this:

foodborne disease chart

On an only slightly related topic, Krugman's headline "Bad Cow Disease" made me think, for one shining moment, that he might have written about the tempest-in-a-teapot scandal over Judge Kozinski's online pictures of "naked women on all fours painted to look like cows."

NEXT: "Purple Rain" in a Whole New Light

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  1. I can’t wait to see Tim Russert cover this issue on Meet the Press.

  2. That’s just mean.

  3. Damn what I got to do to get noticed around HnR?

  4. In other breaking news, R Kelly walks.

  5. RIP Russert. One of the few establishment media types who was actually worth a damn.

  6. What’s the R^2 on that there curve-fit?

  7. Not taking Krugman’s side in this, but this doesn’t seem to take into account the size of the outbreaks, just raw numbers. I’m willing to bet (got no evidence) that we now have fewer but larger farms compared with 10+ years ago; Jimmy’s Roadside Stand having an outbreak isn’t the same thing as Tyson Chicken having one.

  8. I can’t wait to see Tim Russert cover this issue on Meet the Press.

    I love it.

    Well, can I assume that all threads are now ruined for the day as they will end up being about Russert, arguing about Russert, making tastless jokes about Russert, or praising Russert?

  9. If you do number of cases, the slope is slightly, but not especially, downward sloping with an R^2 of 0.1171

    1998 26719
    1999 25286
    2000 26043
    2001 25035
    2002 24971
    2003 22791
    2004 28239
    2005 20179
    2006 25659

  10. I think the recent reaction to the tomato contamination is an improvement. When the news got out, resturants stopped offering raw tomatoes, and the death toll stayed in the single digits. In a few weeks, the someone will find the pathogen source and the supply chain will be back to normal. In the meantime, I’ll have homemade red sauce from discounted tomatoes. Ah, the joys of cooking.

  11. Have you ever known Krugman to NOT freak out? Or to freak out over something even remotely based in reality?

    His other choice for column topics was probably to freak out over the handful of Congressmen who didn’t vote to extend unemployment benefits. Hooray.

  12. Nothing to add except that the title “Eat, Drink, Krugman, Woman” gets extra props for referencing Ang Lee’s best movie (“Lust Caution” is still pending in my queue.)

  13. Clearly, it’s only safe to eat in odd-numbered years.

  14. If you hang out with tomatoes you’re bound to catch something, if you’re lucky.

  15. Attack of the killer tomatoes! Attack of the killer tomatoes!

    They’ll beat you, bash you, squish you, mash you

    Chew you up for brunch and finish you off for dinner or lunch!

    They’re marching down the halls – They’re crawling up the walls

    They’re gooey, gushy, squishy, mushy – Rotten to the core

    They’re standing outside your door!

    Remember Herman Farbage while taking out his garbage

    He turned around and he did see tomatoes hiding in his tree

    Now he’s just a memory!

    I know I’m going to miss her – a tomato ate my sister

    Sacramento fell today – They’re marching in San Jose

    Tomatoes are on their way!

  16. Just estimating, roughly, from news reports — about one person in 500,000 is affected by an outbreak that may be related to tomatoes. But, hey, we have to panic about something. This is better than global stupid warming.

    I was pleased to find a tomato slice on my burger at a restaurant last night. It was yummy!

  17. 1998 26719
    1999 25286
    2000 26043
    2001 25035
    2002 24971
    2003 22791
    2004 28239
    2005 20179
    2006 25659

    My bet is that its the same 20,000 assholes who are allergic to just about anything they eat yet still always go out to restaurants and never ask what is actually in the food.

  18. Krugman vs. Friedman reminds me of They Might Be Giants’ memorable song “Particle Man.”

    Paulkrug Man
    Paulkrug Man
    Doin’ the things a Paulkrug can
    What’s he like? It’s not important
    Paulkrug Man

    Is he Keynesian or progressivist?
    When the money inflates does he invest,
    Or are his dollars totally worthless?
    Nobody knows, Paulkrug Man

    Miltonfried Man,
    Miltonfried Man
    Miltonfried Man hates Paulkrug Man

    They have a fight, Miltonfried wins?..

    Who came up with Paulkrug Man?
    Degraded man, Paulkrug Man

  19. Uncle Milt was far from perfect, but in comparison, Krugman’s degrees in economics might as well be toilet paper.

  20. Someone give me 3 legitimate reasons why anyone should even listen to this politically charged hack who claims to be an “economist”.

  21. On an only slightly related topic, do you know why they call it PMS…..

    Because Mad Cow Disease was already taken!

  22. Jay,


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