Paul Krugman at The Commonwealth Club (Commonwealth Club/Creative Commons License)

Paul Krugman: "Talking nonsense" is job requirement for GOP presidential nomination

When it comes to money, Republicans would rather "embrace fantasy" than deal with hard truths


Scott Eric Kaufman
August 28, 2015 4:14PM (UTC)

Paul Krugman unloaded on the Republican Party's "deep bench" in his New York Times column Friday, excoriating the presidential hopefuls for their nonsensical views on all matters economic.

"How would the men and women who would be president respond if crisis struck on their watch?" he asked, answering that on the GOP side, the answer is all "bluster and China-bashing." He singles out Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who said that he if he were president, he'd "solve" the China-problem by telling its leader, Xi Jinping, to cancel his planned visit to the United States. "That would fix things!" he added.

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Donald Trump's non-solution is no better, Krugman argued. He constantly says that he wouldn't let China "dictate the agenda," but no one -- not even Trump -- knows precisely what that means. It is, however, an almost perfect talking point, playing as it does both to the GOP delusion that Obama's a weak president and the party's rampant xenophobia. "Not only can Obama not stop the Chinese, but they're Chinese!" is the general impression they're attempting to create.

“Obama is endangering America by borrowing from China” is a perfect political line, playing into deficit fetishism, xenophobia and the perennial claim that Democrats don’t stand up for America! America! America! It’s also complete nonsense, but that doesn’t seem to matter.

In fact, talking nonsense about economic crises is essentially a job requirement for anyone hoping to get the Republican presidential nomination.

To understand why, you need to go back to the politics of 2009, when the new Obama administration was trying to cope with the most terrifying crisis since the 1930s. The outgoing Bush administration had already engineered a bank bailout, but the Obama team reinforced this effort with a temporary program of deficit spending, while the Federal Reserve sought to bolster the economy by buying lots of assets.

And Republicans, across the board, predicted disaster. Deficit spending, they insisted, would cause soaring interest rates and bankruptcy; the Fed’s efforts would “debase the dollar” and produce runaway inflation.

None of it happened. Interest rates stayed very low, as did inflation. But the G.O.P. never acknowledged, after six full years of being wrong about everything, that the bad things it predicted failed to take place, or showed any willingness to rethink the doctrines that led to those bad predictions. Instead, the party’s leading figures kept talking, year after year, as if the disasters they had predicted were actually happening...

Read the rest at the New York Times...


Scott Eric Kaufman

Scott Eric Kaufman is an assistant editor at Salon. He taught at a university, but then thought better of it. Follow him at @scottekaufman or email him at skaufman@salon.com.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

China Chris Christie Donald Trump Economics Elections 2016 Paul Krugman Scott Walker

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