Saturday, May 5, 2012

Paul Krugman: Billionaires Own The GOP, Push It To Extremism

We recently read Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein's commentary explaining that the Republican extremism is responsible for the dysfunction in Congress. Paul Krugman (left) takes it one step further, arguing that such extremism serves the interests of the billionaires who own the party. Instead of more stimulus, which was successful yet too limited, the Republicans cling to more futile tax cuts for the wealthy, among other failed economic theories. Excerpts from "Plutocracy, Paralysis, Perplexity":

...N. Gregory Mankiw of Harvard University, a Romney economic adviser, once dismissed those claiming that tax cuts pay for themselves as “charlatans and cranks”; today, that notion is very close to being official Republican doctrine.

As it happens, these doctrines have overwhelmingly failed in practice. For example, conservative goldbugs have been predicting vast inflation and soaring interest rates for three years, and have been wrong every step of the way. But this failure has done nothing to dent their influence on a party that, as Mr. Mann and Mr. Ornstein note, is “unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence, and science.”

And why is the G.O.P. so devoted to these doctrines regardless of facts and evidence? It surely has a lot to do with the fact that billionaires have always loved the doctrines in question, which offer a rationale for policies that serve their interests. Indeed, support from billionaires has always been the main thing keeping those charlatans and cranks in business. And now the same people effectively own a whole political party.

...Many pundits assert that the U.S. economy has big structural problems that will prevent any quick recovery. All the evidence, however, points to a simple lack of demand, which could and should be cured very quickly through a combination of fiscal and monetary stimulus.

No, the real structural problem is in our political system, which has been warped and paralyzed by the power of a small, wealthy minority. And the key to economic recovery lies in finding a way to get past that minority’s malign influence.

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