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The Difference Between Reality Based Economists and Conservative Economists

April 27, 2011

You have to read this pointless drivel by David Von Drehle in order to really understand conservative “thought” on economics. It’s typical that conservatives refuse to address actual economic issues, but instead attempt to besmirch the character of their opponents. This is due to the logical fallacy common to most conservatives – the argument from authority. You see, Krugman can’t be right about the economy (despite that whole Nobel proze thing and the fact that he’s been consistantly right when others have wrong). He can’t be right because he’s smug. You see, he makes the conservatives feel inferior (of course it is his fault that they’re always wrong) so they recast his intelligence and clarity as smugness. He hurts their widdle feelings. He’s mean, and probably a poopie head as well.

Meanwhile, proponents of smaller government and sharing the pain are gleefully anticipating closing down schools in poor neighborhoods, letting unemployed people starve and turning old people out into the streets. It’s necessary, afterall, if we’re going to give tax cuts to millionaires. It wouldn’t be fair to collect taxes on the surplus income* of the rich unless we’re also taking the money that poor people need to buy food. It just wouldn’t be fair – at least it wouldn’t be fair in the mind of a first grader.

Austerity measures haven’t worked in previous recessions. They aren’t working in Britain right now. And they will not work here in the USA. Since austerity measures will do nothing to solve the economic crisis, we’re left to wonder just what the agenda of the conservatives really is. I may be cynical, but I believe that they’re using the recession as an excuse so they can dismantle the already feeble American social safety net. They’re using it to push a radical conservative retrenchment in American society amd culture by pretending that it is necessary in order to save the country, but if the country needs saving, it’s from conservatives who’re trying to turn back the clock to 1860.

The best response to conservative economic theory I’ve seen comes from DougJ over at Ballooon Juice.

I’m in the mood for a Malkin Award today, so I’ll say this: in another time and place, Von Drehle and his ilk might not have been shoving people into ovens, but there’s sure as shit be writing paeans to the virtue of marching native Americans to Oklahoma.

*To all the greedy SOBs out there. There is such a thing as surplus income. Once you’ve paid for your food, housing and clothing, what’s left is surplus. Millionaires have more of it than working people. That’s why the progressive tax system is more fair than a flat tax system. It’s also why civilized people try to help the most vulnerable and powerless among us.


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