controversy over whom to attribute the definition, "Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Regardless, it certainly applies to Republican economic "solutions." Tax cuts for "job creators" clearly haven't resulted in a flood of jobs. Deregulation crashed the economy. The focus on the deficit instead of stimulus and employment hinders an economic revival. Yet the Republican presidential candidates propose the same policies that got us into this mess. Insane, isn't it? A recent New York Times editorial surveyed the delusions the Republicans peddled during the New Hampshire primaries. From "The Republican Contest":
The candidates’ economic arguments were disturbingly disconnected from economic reality. They spoke of government spending as if it were the sole cause of the federal budget deficit and cutting it the sole solution. In reality, it was tax cuts for the wealthy, an assault on social programs and a deregulatory zeal that allowed a recklessness that led to near economic collapse.
...Economic growth and rising productivity are needed for broadly shared prosperity, but rising living standards require policies that ensure regular increases in the minimum wage, which peaked in 1968; greater investment in the social safety net; full employment as a government priority; progressive taxation; and effective financial regulation to avoid overgrowth followed by collapse.
These kinds of policies dominated from the late-1940s to the 1970s, a time of broadly shared prosperity and a strong middle class. Those policies were then systematically reversed, income inequality began to explode and productivity growth slowed. Tax cuts for the rich and assaults on programs for the poor and middle class worsened inequality during the years of George W. Bush.
The answer is not more of the same failed policies. The solution is to revive the successful ones, along with policies to stimulate the economy and stop foreclosures. Mr. Obama understands this. The Republican hopefuls are deluding themselves and trying to delude the voters.
Image: Tony Auth, Philadelphia Inquirer