Krugman: Why Republicans Are Ferocious Liars About What Makes the Economy Work


Paul Krugman analyzes a pair of pressing question in Monday's column: Why does the economy do better under Democrats, and why do Republicans tend to lie about that fact? Despite Carly Fiorina's fallacious claims to the contrary, Hillary Clinton was right to say that the the country has had better economic times with a Democrat in the White House. 

It's an ironic and inconvenient truth. All Republican candidates do is talk about economic growth. And then they pursue and peddle policies that have been demonstrated not to produce it, with tax cuts for the wealthy front and center. Krugman digs deep into the facts of matter:

The arithmetic on partisan differences is actually stunning. Last year the economists Alan Blinder and Mark Watson circulated a paper comparing economic performance under Democratic and Republican presidents since 1947. Under Democrats, the economy grew, on average, 4.35 percent per year; under Republicans, only 2.54 percent. Over the whole period, the economy was in recession for 49 quarters; Democrats held the White House during only eight of those quarters.

But isn’t the story different for the Obama years? Not as much as you think. Yes, the recovery from the Great Recession of 2007-2009 has been sluggish. Even so, the Obama record compares favorably on a number of indicators with that of George W. Bush. In particular, despite all the talk about job-killing policies, private-sector employment is eight million higher than it was when Barack Obama took office, twice the job gains achieved under his predecessor before the recession struck.

Krugman is humble on the question of why the economy has done better under Democratic administrations: "There’s no indication that the Democratic advantage can be explained by better monetary and fiscal policies," he writes. "Democrats seem, on average, to have had better luck than Republicans on oil prices and technological progress. Overall, however, the pattern remains mysterious. Certainly no Democratic candidate would be justified in promising dramatically higher growth if elected. And in fact, Democrats never do."

So that's a big difference, too. Republicans do little else but brag about the growth they will deliver, the services they will cut and the abortions they will deny. They put forward tax plans that don't add up or make sense, and seldom let facts, math, or common sense inject a dose of reality. When this is pointed out to them, they yell, "Media bias!"

They live in a bubble, is the only explanation Krugman can find, one which facts don't penetrate and the belief that Reagan was the patron saint of economic growth, never mind that Clinton outpaced him. Right-wing media perpetuates the myth, and, the donor class pays GOP candidates to keep up the lie that the policies they favor are good for anyone but them. 

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