Krugman responds to Mike Konczal:
a wide refocusing of the mechanisms of our society towards the crucial obsession of oligarchs: wealth and income defense.
That has to be right. It doesn’t necessarily take the form of pure cynicism; it’s more a matter of the wealthy gravitating toward views of economic policy that make immediate sense in terms of their own interests, and politicians believing that only these views count as Serious because they’re the views of wealthy people.
There’s a certain extent that the difference between being cynical and being obtusely self-interested is meaningless. But as Krugman points out, the relevant stance is that politicians prioritize the views of wealthy elites, regardless of their merit or sense. Again, though, that point sort of misses the fact that almost all elected officials in Washington are members of the richest 1%. They share economic interests with wealthy elites and have the power to implement policies which not only defend wealth and income, but help increase it by transferring it from working people to the rich.