Paul Krugman: The GOP Is Never Returning to Reality

Two years ago, New York Times Magazine asked whether the GOP could be a "party of ideas." The answer, then and now, is a resounding no.

In his newest column, the New York Times' Paul Krugman wonders what has become of the so-called "reformicons"—Republicans like Florida Senator Marco Rubio who were supposed to shed their party's "mindless agenda of tax cuts for the rich and pain for the poor." Just four years after Time Magazine anointed him the "Republican Savior," Donald Trump is president, and the GOP is attempting to kick tens of millions of Americans off their health insurance while effectively gutting Medicaid.

"The rise of the reformicons never happened," writes Krugman. "What we got instead was the (further) rise of the decepticons, not the evil robots from the movies, but conservatives who keep scaling new heights of dishonesty in their attempt to sell their reverse-Robin Hood agenda."

Krugman believes Republicans will stop at nothing to exercise their political will, even if it means forging an alternate reality in which "up is down and black is white." For evidence one need look no further than Secretary of Health and Human Service Tom Price, whose Twitter feed is almost as mendacious as the president's.

Price insists, repeatedly, that fewer people have signed up for Obamacare than expected, and that this is somehow proof that Obamacare is an unmitigated disaster. But he elides the fact that the Affordable Care Act has provided health care to millions of Americans who otherwise wouldn't have it. Similarly, the Trump appointee argues that the ACA has left 28 million Americans without insurance, while neglecting to mention that his party plans to radically increase that number.

"On one side, they claim that a cut is not a cut, because dollar spending on Medicaid would still rise over time," Krugman continues. "On the other side—even I was shocked by this one—senior Republicans like Paul Ryan dismiss declines in the number of people with coverage as no big deal, because they would represent voluntary choices not to buy insurance."

Ultimately, it's not just Trump but the entire Republican Party that has embraced post-truth politics. And as Krugman ominously warns, he sees "no sign that it will ever improve."

Read Paul Krugman's column at the New York Times.


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