In a delightful Christmas Eve Op-Ed, Nobel Prize winning economist delivers a big fat lump of coal to Republicans and their propaganda machine: You were wrong about everything in 2014:
All year Americans have been bombarded with dire news reports portraying a world out of control and a clueless government with no idea what to do.
Yet if you look back at what actually happened over the past year, you see something completely different. Amid all the derision, a number of major government policies worked just fine — and the biggest successes involved the most derided policies. You’ll never hear this on Fox News, but 2014 was a year in which the federal government, in particular, showed that it can do some important things very well if it wants to.
That last part is key: “If it wants to.” Republicans, of course, do not want to do important things and certainly not do them well. They know they can but why would they? Their entire ideology is based of handing everything over to the rich, so instead of doing the people’s work, they sabotage the government.
In other words: Break the government, complain the government is broken and then push to privatize all the stuff you broke in the first place so the rich can get even richer while delivering worse service.
Nice work if you can get it.
But Krugman uses three obvious examples of how Republicans were comically wrong and the evil tyrannical but somehow weak and useless government did exactly what it was supposed to.
First, Ebola: The “outbreak” of Ebola in the United States was limited to less than half a dozen people, only one of whom died, and only two or three people actually contracted the disease on American soil. The CDC handled it like professionals but through all the hysteria, you’d think a major city had been wiped out.
100 years from now, the shameless lengths the “liberal” media went to bolster the GOP’s pre-election talking points about how Obama was going to kill us all will be a case study of how NOT to cover the news.
Second, the Economy: Obama, the Socialist Commie Nazi that hates business and Jesus has presided over the longest period of job growth in American history:
What’s more, recent data suggest that the economy is gathering strength — 5 percent growth in the last quarter! Oh, and not that it matters very much, but there are some people who like to claim that economic success should be judged by the performance of the stock market. And stock prices, which hit a low point in March 2009, accompanied by declarations from prominent Republican economists that Mr. Obama was killing the market economy, have tripled since then. Maybe economic management hasn’t been that bad, after all.
There’s nothing funnier than conservatives insisting that the record breaking stock market doesn’t mean the economy is getting better because only the rich benefit from it. These are the same people who also insist that when the rich get richer, it “trickles down” to the rest of us. Ask them to reconcile these two diametrically opposed “beliefs” and the mental gymnastics are truly a wonder to behold.
The third and last point is that doomed-to-fail-at-any-second-just-you-wait-and-see Obamacare:
In fact, Year 1 surpassed expectations on every front. Remember claims that more people would lose insurance than gained it? Well, the number of Americans without insurance fell by around 10 million; members of the elite who have never been uninsured have no idea just how much positive difference that makes to people’s lives. Remember claims that reform would break the budget? In reality, premiums were far less than predicted, overall health spending is moderating, and specific cost-control measures are doing very well. And all indications suggest that year two will be marked by further success.
Again, the “liberal” media has neglected to make much noise about this astonishing fact. Ten million more people with insurance, many for the first time, equals tens of thousands of lives saved in a single year. But who cares, right? I mean, the website ran poorly for a month and THAT was covered 24/7 for weeks on end but now that it’s working smoothly and lives are being saved? So yesterday’s news.
And this curious media apathy also extends to the tens of thousands of bankruptcies and ruined lives that will be avoided. Because a lack of suffering just isn’t all that interesting.
But the saddest part about the right’s scorched earth opposition is that it doesn’t actually benefit anyone, not even the rich. The health insurance industry is quite enthusiastic about all the new money it will be “forced” to make and businesses more than recoup any “losses” through increased productivity from healthier workers. No, the real problem for Republicans is that Obamacare is an example of how government can direct the private sector to a better outcome for the public and still be profitable.
So, in order to “win” an ideological debate they’ve already lost, conservatives would happily deny healthcare to millions of people, including millions of children. Also, they love Jesus. Or something.
Other things that Republicans were wrong about that Krugman didn’t really get to:
- Marriage equality has swept most of the country and the sky has not fallen.
- Marijuana has been fully legalized in two states (and decriminalized in several others) and none of them have been overrun by drug cartels. In fact, the cartels are losing billions in profits and losing power because of it.
- Thanks to a combination of falling oil prices and crippling sanctions, Russia is about to crumble under the weight of a massive recession and will either start to play nice and accede to the West’s demands or face the grim reality of a depression.
- Etc. Etc. Etc.
Krugman is spot on in his judgement that America has benefited significantly from the policies we elected President Obama to implement. Despite all of the bluster and rage of the right wing noise machine that is Fox News and AM Hate Radio, it’s just a matter of time until even conservatives stop pretending Obama has ruined their lives by increasing their paychecks and ensuring they can get, and keep, their health insurance.
Unless Republicans can figure out how to crash the economy in the next two years and pin it on the Democrats, 2014’s midterm victory will be considered one of the quickest turnarounds in history. A booming economy will be the easiest sell of all and the Democrats should utterly crush the GOP in 2016. IF they can manage to stop running away from their accomplishments in shame, that is.
I know, it’s asking a lot but I was a very good boy this year and Santa owes me one!