Imagine, if you will, someone who read only the Wall Street Journal editorial page between 2000 and 2011, and someone in the same period who read only the collected columns of Paul Krugman. Which reader would have been better informed about the realities of the current economic crisis? The answer, I think, should give us pause. Can it be that our enemies were right?
There’s a strong case for condemning Barack Obama for the things he might have done, but did not do. He might have cut payroll taxes more and faster. He might have pushed for more expansionary Federal Reserve governors. He might have designed a better stimulus. All true. But the things he did do? Texas Gov. Rick Perry today urges us to believe that the economy is gripped by the worst slump since the Great Depression because Obama spoke disrespectfully of the owners of private jets. To which I can only say: Really? That’s the indictment? Really?
The thing to remember is this outpouring of insanity is not the result of a conservative movement that is losing. It is the case that the long run demographic trend is against the GOP and in favor of the welfare state. However, these disagreements are over macro-economic policy not the size and scope of Social Security.
Instead, what we are witnessing is the sad, yet inevitable spectacle of a movement that cannot – as no movement can – survive victory.
Where in the White House are the promulgaters of socialism and class warfare? Where are those suggesting that we even return to the commad and control policies of McCarthy era America? Nowhere that I know of. If I understand correctly Obama is about to push for a decrease in taxes payroll taxes levied on businesses.
We are all neoliberals now and that means that there is nothing to fight over. Yet, a movement survives only to the extent it has something to move against. So we see are left with much of the right tilting at windmills and digging up long discarded economic theory to continue the battle.