Look: I am eager to learn stuff I don't know--which requires actively courting and posting smart disagreement.

But as you will understand, I don't like to post things that mischaracterize and are aimed to mislead.

-- Brad Delong

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Sunday, August 1, 2010

Republicans - All Wrong, all the Time, Pt 18: David Stockman Kicks Mitch McConnell's Ass

David Stockman was St. Ronnie's director of the Office of Management and Budget.  As such, he is up-to-his-eyeballs in the chicanery of supply side economics.  But his NYT op ed today, in which he undresses current Repugs and their desire to extend the idiotic and grotesquely irresponsible Bush tax cuts, is worth a read.

Still, though, he is Repug, and worse yet, an unrepentant supply-sider, who cannot speak of economics without telling huge lies.  So read his piece with your skepticism and critical thinking skills fully engaged.  I'm not going to take the time to do a full-scale DEEP STUPID on him - and since he does get some things right, it doesn't quite fit the mold - but here are a few of the low points.

That’s a Greece-scale 120 percent of gross domestic product, and fairly screams out for austerity and sacrifice.

It's impressive that anyone can fit so much wrong in so few words.   Krugman has posted extensively in recent weeks about debt, the fallacy of austerity and the importance of stimulative fiscal policy.  And the Greece comparison is utterly fatuous.  Actually, Stockman would be at least marginally better off, if he just read the rest of today's Times editorials.

The Reagan administration’s hastily prepared fiscal blueprint, however, was no match for the primordial forces  that drive the federal spending machine.

Evidently, neither Stockman nor Reagan is to blame for the irresponsible tax cuts, growth of government - which dramatiaclly accelerated under Reagan - and explosion in federal spending which directly caused the greatest deficits in history up to that point.  And this bit of bullshit the welfare state and the warfare state fairly screams for refutation.  In all of U.S. history, up until Reagan, the only causes of large deficits have been wars.  St. Ronnie gave us his infamous STRATEGIC DEFENSE INITIATIVE, aka STAR WARS.   This was the economic - if not the moral - equivalent of war, since we weren't actually killing anybody (well - except for those unfortunate 49 in Grenada.).  And the big beneficiaries were the Repug's friends in the military-industrial complex.  Spending on social programs, even during the Great Depression, has always been trivial by comparison.  Don't take my word for it.  Go find a chart of the real national dept over time and see for yourself.

Now, as Stockman correctly points out, in the new millenium there is a new policy flaw driving the debt, and that is irresponsible tax policy, courtesy of George W. Bush.  (I told you he got something right.)

But the new catechism, as practiced by Republican policymakers for decades now, has amounted to little more than money printing and deficit finance — vulgar Keynesianism robed in the ideological vestments of the prosperous classes. This approach has not simply made a mockery of traditional party ideals. It has also led to the serial financial bubbles and Wall Street depredations that have crippled our economy.

Alas, poor Stockman: even when he's right, he's wrong.  Let's focus in on the phrase "vulgar Keynesianism" which he co-opted from Krugman, with the all-too-typical conservative tone-deafness to irony.  The fact that he doesn't seem to know what it actually means, is just typical of his melange of ignorance and dishonesty.  Stockman, by the way, is not the first Reagan refugee to point out the destructive ignorance of current conservatism.   Nor is he the first lying Repug asshat to characterize the Bush II years as Keynesian.

Actually, my main point in this post is to point out again the BIG LIE that irresponsible government spending and running reckless deficits - the hallmarks of Repugnicant idiocy over the last several decades - are Kenseyian policies. (No!  No! They aren't!)  And this is important, because it's pretty hard not to trip over some version of it on a regular basis if you do much web crawling.   And if you can't see through this lie, than you need to do your homework.  Start with Krugman's archives.

Conservatism, with its track record of destructive policies has transformed the relatively egalitarian America of 50 years ago, with its robust and vibrant middle class, into an overtly divided society of rich elites, sinking and shrinking middle class, and expanding poverty.  This is not an accident or an unintended consequence.  This is specifically and exactly their goal.

We are so screwed - by regressive Repugnicant liars.

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