Krugman to the Rescue!

There’s hardly anyone who can top former Enron adviser (TM James Taranto) Paul Krugman in the sweepstakes for bemoaning income inequality, and so it makes perfect sense that City University of New York would hire Krugman for $25,000 per month to be a grandee at its new center to study the problem.  The Onion and The Daily Show may as well take the rest of the day off.

The offer letter, as detailed on Gawker.com, says that Krugman needn’t be bothered “to teach or supervise students,” which is a relief, really, but still—isn’t teaching and supervising students what college faculty are chiefly hired to do?  The professors who actually do teach and supervise students at CUNY?  Well, adjuncts, who typically have little chance at permanent employment or advancement at CUNY or anywhere else, get paid $3,000 per course at CUNY (think Krugman will agree to make a guest appearance in any of their classes?), while permanent tenured faculty top out at $116,000.

The story doesn’t say whether Krugman’s CUNY gig is concurrent with his Princeton faculty position, but you can be pretty sure what the answer is.

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JOHN adds: Krugman’s “job” will be to “play a modest role in our public events” and “contribute to the build-up” of a new “inequality initiative.” Whatever that means. One can only imagine what they would have paid him to play a major role in their public events!

Meanwhile, Krugman and his fellow one per centers draw ever farther ahead of their less privileged colleagues in academia. PBS did a story on how “low-paid adjunct professors struggle to make ends meet.” One of the professors they interviewed was from CUNY:

PAUL SOLMAN: Nicole Beth Wallenbrock got a Ph.D. in French lit to become a full-time professor anywhere.

NICOLE BETH WALLENBROCK: I had this idea that I could get a job so that I could have a good income to support my son, and it didn’t work out that way.

PAUL SOLMAN: Since graduating in 2012, she’s worked part-time and is now teaching just two courses at the City University of New York, making $2,800 a class, though she’s more highly-rated than almost all of her peers.

She’s moved to the cheapest place she could find on the outskirts of the city, a three-hour-a-day commute. But she can’t make it without public assistance and help from her family.

NICOLE BETH WALLENBROCK: I’m a precarious worker. I have no job security. So I have to accept whatever I can get. It’s depressing. It makes me feel like a failure in a lot of ways.

Let’s see: Ms. Wollenbrock makes $2,800 for teaching a class, while Krugman makes $225,000 for teaching no classes. I am sure it will console Ms. Wallenbrock to learn that Paul Krugman’s staunch opposition to income inequality is about to make him even richer.

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