One of the best thing’s about Paul Krugman is how he regularly skewers Republican talking points. For instance, Republicans have been running around with their hair on fire for years now, insisting that Obamacare would destroy jobs and that raising taxes on the rich would finish the job. But, as Krugman points out:
Well, in the first year of the Affordable Care Act’s full implementation, the U.S. economy as a whole added 3.3 million jobs — the biggest gain since the 1990s. Second, half a million of those jobs were added in California, which has taken the lead in job creation away from Texas.
You’d think that after years of being wrong, and one full year of being breathtakingly wrong, that Republicans would at least begrudgingly admit that maybe Democrats have a point. After all, California’s Governor Jerry Brown raised taxes on the rich. The result? After year’s of massive budget deficits, California has a massive surplus and the world’s eighth largest economy has exploded. Meanwhile, the dreaded Obamacare has dramatically slowed the growth of healthcare premiums, insured millions of people that lacked even basic coverage and even come in under budget. All of which is indisputably good for the economy.
But, you’ll be shocked to learn, Republicans don’t care about these facts. Partly, I’m sure you’ve guessed, in the GOP’s unprecedented hatred of Obama and the fact that he even exists. But most of it is the mile high pile of bullshit that Republicans must sell the country in order to justify their very existence:
At a deeper level, modern conservative ideology utterly depends on the proposition that conservatives, and only they, possess the secret key to prosperity. As a result, you often have politicians on the right making claims like this one, from Senator Rand Paul: “When is the last time in our country we created millions of jobs? It was under Ronald Reagan.”
Actually, if creating “millions of jobs” means adding two million or more jobs in a given year, we’ve done that 13 times since Reagan left office: eight times under Bill Clinton, twice under George W. Bush, and three times, so far, under Barack Obama. But who’s counting?
That’s why, no matter what is happening in the real world, Republicans will never EVER deviate from their talking point that Democrats are “job killers.” Here we are, 5 years into a record breaking job growth streak and they’re STILL saying that Obama is destroying the economy. They can read a chart just as well as you or I so unless they’ve all sustained severe brain damage (a possibility from spending all that time on Fox News), Republicans are clearly lying through their teeth.
But the last part of the con game is the most obnoxious because it leads directly to the most suffering:
As a number of observers have pointed out, however, for big businesses to admit that government policies can create jobs would be to devalue one of their favorite political arguments — the claim that to achieve prosperity politicians must preserve business confidence, among other things, by refraining from any criticism of what businesspeople do.
In other words, we must never ever say anything mean about the greed, corruption and sociopathic behavior of the rich or they’ll take their toys and go home. Under no circumstances must the government regulate the big corporations! Sure, they poison our food, our water and our air. Yes, they deliberately sell cars and toys that they know for a fact are lethal. OK, so they’ve rigged the markets to steal billions from ordinary Americans. But if we uphold the law and start throwing people in jail for criminal behavior that destroys lives, they’ll stop creating jobs and America will be doomed!
Oh, and if we don’t give them billions in tax cuts, let them pay their workers less and stroke their massive egos, the economy will immediately collapse and we’ll all die starving in the street.
Or so Republicans would have us believe. The rich know better than us peasants so we should just bend over and take it with a smile or things will somehow get worse.
Of course, reality has a liberal bias and the economy is growing despite every obstacle Republicans have thrown in its path. Red states that pursued austerity for the peasants while cutting taxes for the rich are collapsing and blue states that did the opposite are booming. There MUST be a tipping point where even the most hardcore right winger will notice that California isn’t falling into the ocean from all those high taxes on the rich while conservative tax cutting utopias like Kansas, Texas and Louisiana are seeing their economies meltdown.
Until then, Republicans will keep running their con on Americans and hope no one notices that they keep being wrong on everything.