Brain Dead and Proud of It

Paul Krugman this morning was describing the fact that there are no real conservative intellectual economists in any positions of influence with Republicans. He points out that to curry favor with the conservatives, they have to take positions that are not supportable by data and research. As he likes to call the search for intellectual conservative economists, “Unicorns of the intellectual right.” Then he shows that the ones that Republicans pull into the fold to support their failed economic ideas are charlatans, and cranks, Kudlow being the latest.

I will leave it to you to follow the rest of his argument about the intellectual decadence in the economic world in order to serve conservative ideas and be part of the in crowd. As an example in another related piece in the WaPo, the author points out that the conservative Hoover Group at Stanford University put out a study showing we are going to have a deficit problem:

None of that is in dispute. But the Hoover economists then go wrong by arguing that entitlements are the sole cause of the problem, while the budget-busting tax bill that was passed last year is described as a “good first step.”

Entitlements are growing, but that is primarily a result of an aging population. So we throw old people out on the street. Yet our growing deficit is based upon tax cuts and unfounded wars. The author then runs through the actual facts including that the reforms in the tax code were further budget busting moves. It is again the conservative sycophantic response to the power structure and what they want to hear, instead of a true conservative intellectual approach to tax cuts that bust the budget.

But it isn’t just conservative economic dogma that has driven us off the rails.  Consider the re-institution of the War on Drugs, a failed policy, and Attorney General Jeff’s Session’s push to incarcerate more people, not less.  He even commented that our prison population has gone down so we have room to put more in prison.  Forward looking countries like Denmark and Sweden that have decreased their prison population, shortened incarceration times, and focused on rehabilitation, and guess what?  They have reduce crime.  But we are back to stupid failed ideas from conservatives.

Trade, immigration, global warming, pollution?  It is all the same backwards looking failed policies.  I am amazed at farmers who voted for President DFF and then are unhappy with him doing what he said he was going to do on trade.  Sure it is stupid, but so was almost everything he promised to do, and a reality check on all of it told us it would be a disaster and they voted for him.  Now they are shocked, shocked, shocked, I tell you.

So here we are in a world where those who pretend to be experts and intellectuals push failed conservative ideas because they are toadying to power.  They want to be in the in crowd so they justify intellectual dishonesty.  Our news organizations, as Paul pointed out, have not figured this out yet as they want to present both sides of an issue, and there really isn’t both sides and they legitimize nonsense.  At this point most of what we have been doing is failing, whether it is their misbegotten economic ideas, to their getting tough on crime and drugs.  The question I keep asking myself is why can’t most people see this?  Why are we backpedaling into disaster?

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