On Monday, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman exploded the myth that the economy hums when Republicans are in the White House and stumbles when Democrats are.
Krugman calls attention to the work of Alan Blinder and Mark Watson, who demonstrated that since the parties flipped ideologies in 1947, the economy grew 4.35 percent annually under Democrats but only 2.54 percent under Republicans -- but they couldn't identify a particular set of economic policies that would be responsible for this trend.
That would be a problem for Democrats if they promised dramatically higher growth if elected -- but they don't. The Republican candidates, however, bicker over which of them will produce the most economic growth. As Krugman notes,
[e]very candidate with a real chance of getting the G.O.P. nomination is claiming that his tax plan would produce a huge growth surge — a claim that has no basis in historical experience. Why?
Part of the answer is epistemic closure: modern conservatives generally live in a bubble into which inconvenient facts can’t penetrate. One constantly hears assertions that Ronald Reagan achieved economic and job growth never matched before or since, when the reality is that Bill Clinton surpassed him on both measures. Right-wing news media trumpet the economic disappointments of the Obama years, while hardly ever mentioning the good news. So the myth of conservative economic superiority goes unchallenged...