Krugman: Why Bush's Attack on Trump is Exactly Wrong

It was not easy, but Jeb Bush managed to find the two issues that Donald Trump is not utterly wrong and dangerous about, and attack him on those. Rather than go after Trump on his "viciously absurd" idea to depport 11 million undocumented immigrants and his persistent underlying racism and misogyny, Paul Krugman points out in Monday's column, that Bush is attacking the front runner on his stated willingness to raise taxes on the rich, and positive words about universal health care. That's sacrilege! 

"That tells you a lot about the dire state of the G.O.P.," Krugman writes. "For the issues the Bush campaign is using to attack its unexpected nemesis are precisely the issues on which Mr. Trump happens to be right, and the Republican establishment has been proved utterly wrong."

During the campaign, Mr. Romney accused President Obama of favoring redistribution of income from the rich to the poor, and the truth is that Mr. Obama’s re-election did mean a significant move in that direction. Taxes on the top 1 percent went up substantially in 2013, both because some of the Bush tax cuts were allowed to expire and because new taxes associated with Obamacare kicked in. And Obamacare itself, which provides a lot of aid to lower-income families, went into full effect at the beginning of 2014.

Conservatives were very clear about what would happen as a result. Raising taxes on “job creators,” they insisted, would destroy incentives. And they were absolutely certain that the Affordable Care Act would be a “job killer.”

So what actually happened? As of last month, the U.S. unemployment rate, which was 7.8 percent when Mr. Obama took office, had fallen to 5.1 percent. For the record, Mr. Romney promised during the campaign that he would get unemployment down to 6 percent by the end of 2016. Also for the record, the current unemployment rate is lower than it ever got under Ronald Reagan. And the main reason unemployment has fallen so much is job growth in the private sector, which has added more than seven million workers since the end of 2012.

Krugman hastens to add that, of course, all is not fantastic with the U.S. economy, what with wage stagnation and all.

Even more importantly, the columnist in no way endorses Trump. "He is exactly the ignorant blowhard he seems to be," he writes. It's just that when it comes to Trump's rivals, appearances are extremely deceiving. "Some of them may come across as reasonable and thoughtful, but in reality they are anything but."

Soft-spoken, bespectacled, bilingual Bush is a case in point. How anyone can believe he is a reasonable, responsible policy wonk is beyond comprehension. "His actual economic platform, which relies on the magic of tax cuts to deliver a doubling of America’s growth rate, is pure supply-side voodoo," Krugman writes.

Self-financing Trump has done the country a weird favor by further laying bare the influence of big-money donors, and proven that the base may not be buying the supply-side creed.

Ummmm, thank you?

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