I've got a piece coming up in the next issue of the magazine about five economic memes that deserve to die. By the time it was done, it had actually turned into six memes, but apostate Republican David Frum goes me seven better today by listing 13 — yes, 13! — ways in which the Republican consensus on the economy is wrong, wrong, wrong:
- It is wrong in its call for monetary tightening.
- It is wrong to demand immediate debt reduction rather than wait until after the economy recovers.
- It is wrong to deny that “we have a revenue problem.”
- It is wrong in worrying too much about (non-existent) inflation and disregarding the (very real) threat of a second slump into recession and deflation.
- It is wrong to blame government regulation and (as yet unimposed) tax increases for the severity of the recession.
- It is wrong to oppose job-creating infrastructure programs.
- It is wrong to hesitate to provide unemployment insurance, food stamps, and other forms of income maintenance to the unemployed.
- It is wrong to fetishize the exchange value of the dollar against other currencies.
- It is wrong to believe that cuts in marginal tax rates will suffice to generate job growth in today’s circumstance.
- It is wrong to blame minor and marginal government policies like the Community Reinvestment Act for the financial crisis while ignoring the much more important role of government inaction to police overall levels of leverage within the financial system.
- It is wrong to dismiss the Euro crisis as something remote from American concerns.
- It is wrong to resist US cooperation with European authorities in organizing a work-out of the debt problems of the Eurozone countries.
- It is wrong above all in its dangerous combination of apocalyptic pessimism about the long-term future of the country with aloof indifference to unemployment.
I have to say, once people break with the Republican Party these days, they really break. They don't become Democrats or anything, but if anything, they actually savage their former comrades more than Democrats do. I'd love to see something this pithy from, say, Barack Obama. It's inspiring.