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Being Spectacularly Wrong About the Election Won't Be Enough to Pop the Republican Bubble

For each Republican who seems to have realized that there was an election last month, there are dozens who cling to their economic fantasies.

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And let's not forget the  Think Tank Bubble. This bubble functions as a manufacturing center of terrible ideas that serve corporate power and the 1 percent. It too overlaps with the other bubbles but specializes in providing pseudo-intellectual heft to all manner of rotten public policy choices. The American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the CATO Institute, the Hudson Institute, and the dozens of other corporate funded right-wing think tanks construct their own universe that doesn't bother with peer reviews from academia or anyone else associated with those dreaded outposts of liberal indoctrination: Universities. Some of these think tanks consciously cultivate a "bipartisan" veneer and even have "liberal" sounding prescriptions. The Think Tank Bubble gave us the idea that  a rise in the retirement age is a good way to deal with the manufactured "crisis" in "entitlements." Previously, this bubble has extolled the wisdom of deregulating the financial services sector and invading Iraq. Now these bubble boys have all manner of serious sounding "policy papers" and "studies" identifying the benefits to American society of shredding the safety net and imposing austerity. And why have they reached these conclusions? Because their corporate and billionaire sponsors want those conclusions.

So let's not become too smug as we watch night after night Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert deconstruct the Fox News/Drudge/Talk Radio bubble when there are other bubbles that must be dealt with before the debate on our national priorities has a chance of becoming less polluted.

Joseph A. Palermo is Associate Professor of American History at California State University, Sacramento.
 
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