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07/30/2013

Economism’s Continued Grip on the GOP

Today’s Houston Chronicle has an op-ed by local Congressman Kevin Brady (subscription required; here’s the column on Rep. Brady’s website: http://kevinbrady.house.gov/kevin-brady-in-the-news/brady-us-economy-needs-a-new-course/). The column gives a pretty good indication of the degree to which the mind of the Republican Party is still held captive by economism, and how apparently incapable the GOP is of having any ideas that are not suggested by that ideology.

First, Rep. Brady cites the economic woes facing the U.S., and he does quite a reasonable job here:

·         The recovery to date is notably weak

·         College debt is worse than ever

·         Wall Street is booming while the middle class suffers (a rare admission from the right that there’s such a thing in America as income inequality, and that it matters)

In fact, just about all that Rep. Brady leaves out is that the recovery has sputtered even more since Congress forced the sequester on us. That little bit of news won’t fit the economism rulebook because it suggests that government spending actually helps the economy.

 So Rep. Brady concludes that something is wrong and that we need to change course. Everything in the above list is presumably to be blamed on the Obama Administration, despite the fact that the reason there is any recovery at all is due to the stimulus that George Bush started and Obama continued, and had Obama had his way, there would have been even more stimulus, only Republicans in Congress fought him at every turn.

So what is the “new course” Rep. Brady recommends? Hold onto your seats, the originality of these ideas will knock you over:

·         Get rid of government regulation;  “Get Washington out of the way so that Main Street can flourish again and jobs can grow”

·         Reform the tax code, “a Reagan-style tax reform could create 1 million new jobs…”

·         Agree with all the Republican programs in the House such as building the Keystone pipeline

In the previous post, I reviewed one of Obama’s recent speeches on the economy and tried to summarize both what he did say, and what he left unsaid. Rep. Brady’s tired recitation of the economism mantra shows the opportunities that Obama is currently leaving on the table. What do you say to someone like Rep, Brady? One thing is, “we tried that; it didn’t work.” That’s the basic answer to all the so-called “reforms” that the GOP has to offer; we’ve been pursuing those policies for the last four decades and the results are disastrous both in America and world-wide, as I tried to explain briefly in The Golden Calf. So the next thing we have to say in reply is: People like Rep. Brady have gotten away for far too long with saying things like this and everyone nodding their heads wisely as if the guy is actually making sense. When people tell us, not anything reasonable about the real world, but some fantasy stuff concocted out of a quasi-religious ideology like economism, the rest of us have to call them on that. We need to challenge them to defend this belief system they are promulgating, not just repeat it over and over as if that made it true.

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