Thursday, July 28, 2011

Where we are headed:

Over at Balloon Juice, DougJ writes:
I think that Washington’s embrace of Hooverism is of a piece with its embrace of global warming denialism. Once upon a time we were all Keynesians, just as once upon a time Tim Pawlenty and other Republicans supported a carbon tax. Then wealthy interests decided they didn’t want increased government spending during a recession, just as they had decided they didn’t want carbon taxes.

Pretty soon there were all kinds of pseudo-intellectual justifications: if you take a triple-backwards contrarian Amity Shlaes view of the Great Depression, Roosevelt made it worse, the economy is a Brooksian complex system that the enlightened know man can never understand, the earth could just be going through a warming cycle, a carbon tax will slow the economy and what we really need is a powerful economic juggernaut that will solve global warming through the magic of the free market, or maybe through some giant Nathan Myhrvold dome that will never be built if there is cap and trade.

Pretty soon the far-left position is that we should continue with traditional macroeconomic policy and accept the findings of climate scientists, while the far right position is that we should go on the gold standard and admit that snow in Buffalo proves the earth is not getting warmer.
Shaking that down a bit, he's saying that the current Tea Party influenced Republicans have moved away from conservative/Republican policy positions that they held as recently as 10 years ago. That includes the Heritage Foundation -style health care plan, Keynesian economics, global warming, and so on.

Republicans are in thrall to a movement, and it's still moving. If history is any guide, when a movement breaks out of the boundaries of logic, empiricism, and social convention, it doesn't stop. It builds to a frenzy.

And that's what we are witnessing with this debt ceiling debate. Do not be surprised if in the coming days you read about even more radical proposals (constitutional convention, anyone?) from House Republicans.

Unfortunately, movements like the Tea Party - substantially helped by eccentric billionaires - while they eventually implode, they cause a lot of damage before doing so.


The last few days the Tea Party has reminded me of the Frankenstein monster and the Republican Party is Dr. Frankenstein. The evil doctor created the monster but eventually the monster killed the doctor.

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