In his latest column for the New York Times, Nobel prize-winning economist and liberal champion Paul Krugman argues that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's recent claim that Republicans are to thank for the improving economy is just another example of the GOP's "epistemic closure" and belief "that facts have a liberal bias."
After first noting how McConnell is taking credit for an economic boomlet that started well before last year's midterm votes were cast, Krugman writes that while this latest example of the GOP's signature embrace of "voodoo economics" is amusing, it's also scary. "[I]t’s a symptom of his party’s epistemic closure," Krugman writes, in reference to McConnell's claim. "Republicans know many things that aren’t so, and no amount of contrary evidence will get them to change their minds."
To further his point, Krugman next looks to other major policy predictions from the GOP in the recent past that have failed to come true — as well as conservatives' refusal to acknowledge their misfires. Obamacare, inflation, climate change; no matter the issue, Krugman argues, the dynamic is the same. "[E]veryone makes predictions that turn out to have been wrong; it’s a complicated world out there, and nobody’s perfect," Krugman writes. "The point," he continues, "is that Congress is now controlled by men who never acknowledge error, let alone learn from their mistakes."
[W]e’re looking at a political subculture in which ideological tenets are simply not to be questioned, no matter what. Supply-side economics is valid no matter what actually happens to the economy, guaranteed health insurance must be a failure even if it’s working, and anyone who points out the troubling facts is ipso facto an enemy.
And we’re not talking about marginal figures. You sometimes hear claims that the old-fashioned Republican establishment is making a comeback, that Tea Party extremists are on the run and we can get back to bipartisan cooperation. But that is a fantasy. We can’t have meaningful cooperation when we can’t agree on reality, when even establishment figures in the Republican Party essentially believe that facts have a liberal bias.