Paul Krugman argues the GOP is 'pro-COVID' and is trying to 'keep the pandemic going'

Paul Krugman argues the GOP is 'pro-COVID' and is trying to 'keep the pandemic going'

During Barack Obama’s two terms as president of the United States, he encountered more than his share of obstruction from Republicans in Congress. But liberal economist and New York Times opinion writer Paul Krugman, in a recent column, argues that President Joe Biden is facing obstruction from Republicans that is “both more naked and less rational” than what Obama faced as president.

“Under Obama, leading Republicans claimed that their fiscal brinkmanship was motivated by concerns about budget deficits,” Krugman recalls. “Some of us argued, even at the time, that self-proclaimed deficit hawks were phonies, that they didn’t actually care about government debt — a view validated by their silence when the Trump administration blew up the deficit — and that they actually wanted to see the economy suffer on Obama’s watch. But they maintained enough of a veneer of responsibility to fool many commentators.”

Krugman adds, “This time, Republican obstructionists aren’t even pretending to care about red ink. Instead, they’re threatening to shut everything down unless the Biden administration abandons its efforts to fight the coronavirus with vaccine mandates.”

Biden, according to Krugman, is dealing with “Republican obstruction” on the economy as well as the COVID-19 pandemic.

READ: The nasty legacy of Bob Dole

“As many observers have pointed out, claims that opposition to vaccine mandates — and similar opposition to mask mandates — is about maintaining personal freedom don’t stand up to any kind of scrutiny,” Krugman stresses. “No reasonable definition of freedom includes the right to endanger other people’s health and lives because you don’t feel like taking basic precautions. Furthermore, actions by Republican-controlled state governments — for example, in Florida and Texas — show a party that isn’t so much pro-freedom as it is pro-COVID.”

Krugman continues, “How else can you explain attempts to prevent private businesses — whose freedom to choose was supposed to be sacrosanct — from requiring that their workers be vaccinated, or offers of special unemployment benefits for the unvaccinated?

The economist/Times columnist notes that although Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell isn’t part of the “anti-vaccine caucus,” many other Republicans are.

“Catering to anti-vaccine hysteria, doing all they can to keep the pandemic going, has become something Republicans do to remain in good standing within the party,” Krugman laments. “The result is that one of America’s two major political parties isn’t just refusing to help the nation deal with its problems; it’s actively working to make the country ungovernable. And I hope the rest of us haven’t lost the ability to be properly horrified at this spectacle.”

READ: A writer who predicted Trump's first coup attempt warns of an obscure legal doctrine he may exploit next time

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