Economist Paul Krugman: 'Increasingly radical' Republicans are scaring businesses in GOP-led states
For generations, the GOP has pushed itself as the "pro-business party." But when MAGA Republicans take extremist measures in states they control — voter suppression, opposing vaccine requirements and public safety measures during a pandemic — it makes a compelling argument for operating businesses in blue states. And liberal economist Paul Krugman, this week in his New York Times column, argues that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and other GOP governors are frightening businesses with their "radicalism."
Krugman explains, "Big business is overwhelmingly in favor of requiring that workers get vaccinated against COVID-19. A recent CNBC survey of chief financial officers found that 80% of them say they 'totally support' the Biden Administration's plan to impose a vaccine-or-test mandate on companies with more than 100 workers — and many companies have already announced vaccination requirements for their employees. Yet Greg Abbott, the governor of Texas, just issued an executive order banning vaccine mandates in his state. That is, he's not just refusing to use his own powers to promote vaccination; he's interfering in private decisions, trying to prevent businesses from requiring that their workers or customers be vaccinated."
The GOP and large corporations, Krugman notes, were joined at the hip for many years.
"Republicans have been closely allied with big business since the Gilded Age, when a party originally based on opposition to slavery was in effect captured by the rising power of corporations," Krugman notes. "That alliance lost some of its force in the 1950s and 1960s, an era in which the GOP largely accepted things like progressive taxation and strong labor unions, but came back in full with the rise of Ronald Reagan and his agenda of tax cuts and deregulation."
But thanks to the "rise of Trumpism," Krugman adds, "Republican politicians are at odds with Corporate America on crucial issues."
"It's not just vaccines," Krugman observes. "Corporate interests also want serious investment in infrastructure and find themselves on the outs with Republican leaders who don't want to see Democrats achieve any policy successes…. Just to be clear, corporations aren't being good guys. They support vaccine mandates and infrastructure investment because they believe that both would be good for their bottom lines."
In the past, Krugman writes, businesses "could live with a bit of craziness" from Republicans "so long as they got their tax cuts and deregulation. But "Trumpism," according to Krugman, has made the GOP's "craziness" much worse.
"The conflict between the GOP and corporations is a striking new turn in American politics," Krugman emphasizes. "And I wonder if some corporate leaders find themselves asking, in the privacy of their own minds, 'My God, what have we done?' For the truth is that the Republican Party has been growing increasingly radical — and decreasingly rational — for a long time."
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