Paul Krugman Op-Ed: Why Do Republicans Live In A Fantasy Land?

Paul Krugman often throws sharp barbs at conservative economists and politicians who ignore the reality in front of their noses in favor of their disproven ideology, and Sunday’s Op-Ed in the New York Times was no different:

“On issues that range from monetary policy to the control of infectious disease, a big chunk of America’s body politic holds views that are completely at odds with, and completely unmovable by, actual experience. And no matter the issue, it’s the same chunk. If you’ve gotten involved in any of these debates, you know that these people aren’t happy warriors; they’re red-faced angry, with special rage directed at know-it-alls who snootily point out that the facts don’t support their position.”

What the heck is wrong with Republicans? While some of them, like Louie Gohmert (R-Aspargus), are actual idiots, most of them are at least of average intelligence, and many are clearly smarter than their public stances would suggest.

Yet, if you ask a Republican if climate change is real, they’ll announce, “I’m not a scientist,” and proceed to ignore 99 percent of actual climate scientists. Krugman points out that 2014 is the warmest year ever recorded and how that kills one of the right’s last talking points about how the Earth is actually cooling:

“This claim involves a complete misunderstanding of how one goes about identifying underlying trends. (Hint: Don’t cherry-pick your observations.) But now even that bogus argument has collapsed. So will the deniers now concede that climate change is real?

“Of course not.”

The same goes for the numerous oracles of Obamacare DOOM that are now hoping and praying that the Supreme Court will gut the wildly popular (if you don’t use the name “Obamacare”), far more successful than predicted, law. Afterwards, these same people, with no shame whatsoever, will gleefully declare they knew Obamacare would fail the whole time.

Krugman reserves extra scorn for “The Kansas Experiment” in which Republican governor Sam Brownback slashed taxes to the rich and corporations and SWORE that it would turn Kansas into a tax free Utopia!

“Unfortunately for his constituents, his experiment has been a resounding failure. The economy of Kansas, far from booming, has lagged the economies of neighboring states, and Kansas is now in fiscal crisis.

“So will we see conservatives scaling back their claims about the magical efficacy of tax cuts as a form of economic stimulus? Of course not. If evidence mattered, supply-side economics would have faded into obscurity decades ago. Instead, it has only strengthened its grip on the Republican Party.”

Brownback’s latest scheme involves increasing taxes on the middle class and working poor so he can, I kid you not, continue cutting taxes on the rich and corporations. Because in Republicanland, if you just want something to be true, it will be. Even if it’s not and never will.

Stephen Colbert put it best when he annihilated President Bush at the 2006 White House Correspondents’ Dinner:

“He believes the same thing Wednesday that he believed on Monday, no matter what happened Tuesday.”

Yup. And the same apparently goes for the entire Republican Party.

But what is this rabid denial of reality all about? Krugman shares a theory and it’s a pretty good one:

“Well, it strikes me that the immovable position in each of these cases is bound up with rejecting any role for government that serves the public interest. . . . [T]hey’re defenders of traditional hierarchy — the kind of hierarchy that is threatened by any expansion of government, even (or perhaps especially) when that expansion makes the lives of ordinary citizens better and more secure. I’m partial to that story, partly because it helps explain why climate science and health economics inspire so much rage.”

In other words, they view any social or economic progress as a zero sum game. If the poor and middle class gain, the rich must “lose” (even if what they lose is less than .000001 percent of their wealth or power) and that simply cannot be allowed! They got theirs so screw everyone else. The greed and unrelenting narcissism of today’s 1 percent will be written about for centuries.

One can only hope that, someday, the “liberal” media will join Krugman and stop pretending that Republicans are really presenting the “other side” of the debate and call them on their bullsh*t. I wouldn’t hold my breath, though.