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GOP’s ignorance of economics: Even more dangerous than realized

Imagine a world where Republican politicians understood economics. In 2008, Obama is elected to the Presidency and proposes a $2 trillion dollar stimulus program. This creates a deficit, but it’s not a problem because Bush hadn’t cut taxes, so the government has been running surpluses for 8 years. States happily take the money to invest in education, infrastructure and services. Hundreds of billions of dollars fund green jobs and worker-retraining programs keep down the numbers of long-term unemployed. The minimum wage is $10 and pegged to inflation, the EITC is expanded. The economy turns around slowly, but an active Fed keeps interest rates low, focusing with laser precision on unemployment.

None of this happened. Instead, the U.S., after a short bout of stimulus turned to a sequestration, one that has certainly hobbled the economy, and may actually increase deficits by slowing economic growth (this happened in Britain). The Fed has been barraged by inflation hawks, but has managed to keep strong in the wake of foolish economic advice. Republicans have fought the stimulus and Governors like Chris Christie nixed crucial infrastructure projects. The minimum wage is stuck at $7.25 an hour and fast food workers languish in poverty.

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