Paul Krugman: House Republicans’ 'commitment to America' is 'zombie Reaganomics'

Paul Krugman: House Republicans’ 'commitment to America' is 'zombie Reaganomics'
Paul Krugman at the 2010 Brooklyn Book Festival, David Shankbone
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Economist Paul Krugman is explaining why House Republican lawmakers' latest initiative titled the "Committee to America" is another example of "zombie Reaganomics."

In a new piece published by The New York Times, Krugman delivered a summary of Republicans' Commitment to America plan as he noted the actual intent of the proposal.

"This 'plan,'" Krugman explains, "was obviously meant to evoke Newt Gingrich’s 1994 Contract With America, which was followed by a Republican takeover of Congress."

READ MORE: Economist Paul Krugman explains why the US is a long way from the painful 'stagflation' of 1979

He later added, "What Republicans have just released, by contrast, is mainly a list of good things they claim will happen, with barely a hint of how they propose to make them happen."

According to Krugman, the economics section is also problematic. He explained how it mimics the ideology of zombie Reaganomics.

"If you squint hard at the economics section of the Commitment to America, however, you can see the faint outlines of a familiar set of ideas — zombie Reaganomics," he wrote. "Which raises a question: Why are deregulation, benefit cuts and tax breaks for the rich still the ruling ideology of a party that now claims to stand for the working class?"

He went on to break down the economic drawbacks. "First, it’s striking how many of the economic complaints are about things that are barely, if at all, affected by government policy, like the price of gas (which has come down a lot since its peak) and supply-chain disruptions (which have been diminishing)," he explained.

READ MORE: Paul Krugman and Nate Silver butt heads over the US economy

Krugman added, "Second, immediately after declaring that 'we have a plan to fix the economy,' House Republicans say that they will 'curb wasteful government spending.'”

The longtime economist also argued why Republicans' economic approach is more of a non-starter. "Why “zombie”? Because we now have four decades’ worth of experience showing that deregulation and tax cuts for the rich do not, in fact, produce higher wages and faster economic growth," he wrote. "So the idea that tax cuts are the secret of prosperity should be dead, yet somehow it’s still shambling along, eating Republican brains."

Krugman also explained how the party's shift toward far-right mechanisms has created more obstacles for the political party.

"With the rise of MAGA, however, catering to bigotry is no longer a marketing device; it’s the party’s main agenda," he explained. "In that case, however, why continue plutocrat-friendly policies? Why not add some actual populism to the mix? Why did Representative Kevin McCarthy, who will likely become speaker if Republicans take the House, declare that his first bill would be one to repeal additional funding for the Internal Revenue Service, allowing wealthy tax cheats to breathe easy?"

Offering an answer to his own questions, he wrote, "Part of the answer may be that anti-abortion, anti-L.G.B.T.Q., anti-immigrant warriors don’t know or care much about economic policy, so they’ve left it in the hands of the usual suspects — congressional staff members, conservative think tankers and other apparatchiks who’ve spent their whole careers promoting the tax-cut mystique."

He concluded, "This strategy depends, however, on working-class voters not realizing what Republicans are up to. Hence the vacuous nature of the Commitment to America; any acknowledgment of what the G.O.P. might actually do could be a big political problem."

READ MORE: Paul Krugman explains how life is getting 'rapidly worse' for millions of Americans as the GOP cheers the stock market

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