Friday, July 15, 2011

Smelling The Crazy

For Conservatives, Paul Krugman is more than an apostate; he is the Anti-Christ. But his column in today's New York Times is required reading. He writes that it's strange how many people, who have been in denial, are now "waking up and smelling the crazy."

The Republican Party dove off the deep end long ago. They were driven mad when Bill Clinton assumed the presidency:

First of all, the modern G.O.P. fundamentally does not accept the legitimacy of a Democratic presidency — any Democratic presidency. We saw that under Bill Clinton, and we saw it again as soon as Mr. Obama took office.

As a result, Republicans are automatically against anything the president wants, even if they have supported similar proposals in the past. Mitt Romney’s health care plan became a tyrannical assault on American freedom when put in place by that man in the White House. And the same logic applies to the proposed debt deals. 

But Arthur Laffer -- the Pied Piper of Supply Side Economics -- also led them over the edge. Ronald Reagan quickly realized that the Laffer Curve was a fiction. But, having mythologized the Gipper, modern Republicans refuse to see the fallacy:

Supply-side voodoo — which claims that tax cuts pay for themselves and/or that any rise in taxes would lead to economic collapse — has been a powerful force within the G.O.P. ever since Ronald Reagan embraced the concept of the Laffer curve. But the voodoo used to be contained. Reagan himself enacted significant tax increases, offsetting to a considerable extent his initial cuts

Recently, however, all restraint has vanished — indeed, it has been driven out of the party. Last year Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, asserted that the Bush tax cuts actually increased revenue — a claim completely at odds with the evidence — and also declared that this was “the view of virtually every Republican on that subject.” And it’s true: even Mr. Romney, widely regarded as the most sensible of the contenders for the 2012 presidential nomination, has endorsed the view that tax cuts can actually reduce the deficit. 

So the United States finds itself in the embarrassing position of being held hostage by a group of politicians who will not be swayed by facts or logic. They are addicted to a world view that is as wrong headed as the one which motivates the members of The Flat Earth Society.


The Mound of Sound said...

It's fascinating to watch McConnell and Boehner squirm. They're torn between two intensely opposite factions within their caucuses - the sane people and the Tea Party lunatics that they truly fear. The TP Repugs are true Khmer Rougers. They're nuts but crazy talk has a voice that's heard today in the US Congress.

Owen Gray said...

When you think of the devolution of the Republican Party, the party of Lincoln -- anti slavery, for land grant colleges and homesteaders -- you see a tragedy of Greek proportions.

Today's Republicans are as blind as Oedipus.

ChrisJ said...

"any democratic presidency," especially if an African-American is involved!

I find American politics entertaining, but especially since the November elections, it is simply too painful.

Owen Gray said...

Some Americans will never accept the idea that a black man could ever be legitimately elected president, Chris.

No, they'll say, it must be the result of "voter fraud."