Monday, March 7, 2011

Political Truth

Here is bit from an excellent post by Paul Krugman on his NY Times blog:
Brad DeLong is mad at Tyler Cowen, with reason — for Cowen writes about US fiscal irresponsibility, fairly sensibly, without mentioning the elephant, and I do mean elephant, in the room: the role of the post-Reagan GOP.

Look: until 1980 or so the United States generally paid its way; the ratio of debt to GDP generally fell over time. Then starve-the-beast came to power, and fiscal realism went away. That’s the story; anyone who glosses over that, who makes it a plague-on-both-houses issue or, worse, makes it seem as if Obama is the villain, is in an essential way misleading his readers.

Bear in mind, too, that the signature initiatives of Republican presidents — the Reagan tax cut, the Bush tax cut, the Medicare drug benefit — have all been unfunded deficit-raisers; the signature initiatives of Democratic presidents — the Clinton tax hike, Obamacare — have all been deficit-reducing. (Yes, the stimulus — but that was intended to be temporary, and has in fact proved too temporary; and Bush I’s tax increase was an exception, but the GOP has made it clear that nothing like that will ever happen again.)
The media has given the Republicans a pass. They refuse to investigate the root cause of the fiscal problems. They want to pretend that it comes from both parties. It doesn't. Clinton proved that the Democrats could be fiscally conservative while being socially progressive. The Republicans are socially atavistic while politically deceptive.


thomas said...

Here is proof that Democrats are better for the economy and if you follow that link there are further links to even more analysis over the years.

I read this morning that Americans need to quit voting for republicans if we want the economy to get better.. I know that won't happen but I still like the idea. At least we need journalism that points out the causes of our current situation and doesn't go for the republican's lies or propaganda.

RYviewpoint said...


I really enjoyed the paper by "Professor Mineshaftgap". The one thing I notice is that the administrations at the bottom are the ones that bought into and pushed "trickle down" economics, the voodoo economics of the modern Republican party. The other administrations did better, even the Nixon/Ford which, despite a right wing orientation had a regard for the working class and middle class and helped improve their standard of living.

In short, the problem is the "modern" Republican party with its extremist, and misguided, views of economics.

The point made by Brad DeLong needs repeating: even "sensible" Republicans are unable to honestly identify the real problem: the voodoo economics. Tyler Cowen makes a mountain out of a molehill about Treasury bills creating an illusion because they are both a current asset and a future liability. Yeah, so what?

If there is a real problem with funding entitlements, it can be fixed. It was done for Social Security in 1983 with the Greenspan Commission. That created a surplus which was supposed to be kept in a "locked box" to fund the shortfall when the baby boomers retired. But all the administrations put that money into "general revenue" so they could pretend that they had balanced the budget. Big news: politicians lie! But the fact is that people will accept political fixes if they are done seriously and fairly. This is something Tyler Cowen ignores. If there is a real budget problem, then a commission can fix it. But these guys want to disassemble all social programs! That isn't a fix. That's destroying what you have because you perceive a "problem". That isn't what rational people do. But this is the "program" of the Republican party.