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Economy

Krugman: Not Failure, Not Even Reality Will Stop the Republicans From Dropping Their Canned Talking Points

Republicans show no sign of learning from experience.

In his latest column, Paul Krugman delves into the eerie reality that all elements of the GOP, from Congress to the crew running for the White House, just can't let go, and keep saying the same thing over and over. It's Marco Rubio's scratched-record moment in the New Hampshire debate writ large: "Last week — on Groundhog Day, to be precise — Republicans in the House of Representatives cast what everyone knew was a purely symbolic, substance-free vote to repeal Obamacare," Krugman writes. "It was the 63rd time they’ve done so."

Krugman continues:

Think about the doctrines every Republican politician now needs to endorse, on pain of excommunication. First, there’s the ritual denunciation of Obamacare as a terrible, very bad, no good, job-killing law. Did I mention that it kills jobs? Strange to say, this line hasn’t changed at all despite the fact that we’ve gained 5.7 million private-sector jobs since January 2014, which is when the Affordable Care Act went into full effect.

Then there’s the assertion that taxing the rich has terrible effects on economic growth, and conversely that tax cuts at the top can be counted on to produce an economic miracle. This doctrine was tested more than two decades ago, when Bill Clinton raised tax rates on high incomes; Republicans predicted disaster, but what we got was the economy’s best run since the 1960s. It was tested again when George W. Bush cut taxes on the wealthy; Republicans predicted a “Bush boom,” but actually got a lackluster expansion followed by the worst slump since the Great Depression. And it got tested a third time after President Obama won re-election, and tax rates at the top went up substantially; since then we’ve gained eight million private-sector jobs.

Oh, and there’s also the spectacular failure of the Kansas experiment, where huge tax cuts have created a budget crisis without delivering any hint of the promised economic miracle. But Republican faith in tax cuts as a universal economic elixir has, if anything, grown stronger, with Mr. Rubio, in particular, going even further than the other candidates by promising to eliminate all taxes on capital gains.

Read the rest of Krugman's column.

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