At the height of the economic-stimulus controversy, President Obama faced fierce criticism from the left as well as the right. Leading the liberal charge was Nobel Prize winner and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, who said Obama’s economic proposals were not drastic enough. But now, with the global economy looking slightly less horrible, it seems the economist has had a change of heart, telling The Guardian: “I had my skepticism, but he is smart.” Krugman also said he hears whispers of a possible second round of economic stimuli, which raises his hopes for recovery further. But his lengthy interview with the British paper is not without gloom and doom: Krugman suggests we are “12 months into a 36-month downturn.” And if the Princeton economist had his druthers, how would American society change? “I just want a stronger welfare state and a little bit more social democracy. And some restoration of the labor movement as a counterweight,” he says.