Krugman: Big Business Sees Results of its 30 year War on Expertise

July 6, 2018

educat

40 years of stoking racism and resentment, while crushing public education, and now you’re surprised?

Paul Krugman in the NYTimes:

What do I mean by cynical politics? Partly I mean the tacit alliance between businesses and the wealthy, on one side, and racists on the other, that is the essence of the modern conservative movement.

For a long time business seemed to have this game under control: win elections with racial dog whistles, then turn to an agenda of tax cuts and deregulation. But sooner or later something like Trump was going to happen: a candidate who meant the racism seriously, with the enthusiastic support of the Republican base, and couldn’t be controlled.

Recently Tom Donohue, the chamber’s head, published an article decrying Trump’s mistreatment of children at the border, declaring “this is not who we are.” Sorry, Mr. Donohue, it is who you are: You and your allies spent decades empowering racists, and now the bill is coming due.

But racist immigration policy isn’t the only place where people like Donohue are facing a monster they helped create.

When organizations like the Chamber of Commerce or the Heritage Foundation declare that Trump’s tariffs are a bad idea, they are on solid intellectual ground: All, and I mean all, economic experts agree. But they don’t have any credibility, because these same conservative institutions have spent decades making war on expertise.

The most obvious case is climate change, where conservative organizations, very much including the chamber, have long acted as “merchants of doubt,” manufacturing skepticism and blocking action in the face of overwhelming scientific consensus. Not to put too fine a point on it, it’s hard to pivot from “pay no attention to those so-called experts who say the planet is warming” to “protectionism is bad — all the experts agree.”

Similarly, organizations like Heritage have long promoted supply-side economics, a.k.a., voodoo economics — the claim that tax cuts will produce huge growth and pay for themselves — even though no economic experts agree. So they’ve already accepted the principle that it’s O.K. to talk economic nonsense if it’s politically convenient. Now comes Trump with different nonsense, saying “trade wars are good, and easy to win.” How can they convince anyone that his nonsense is bad, while theirs was good?

But a trade war may be only the start of big business’s self-inflicted punishment. Much worse and scarier things may lie ahead, because Trump isn’t just a protectionist, he’s an authoritarian. Trade wars are nasty; unchecked power is much worse, and not just for those who are poor and powerless.

Consider the fact that Trump is already in the habit of threatening businesses that have crossed him. After Harley-Davidson announced that it was shifting some production overseas because of trade conflicts, he warned that the company would be “taxed like never before” — which certainly sounds as if he wants to politicize the I.R.S. and use it to punish individual businesses.

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5 Responses to “Krugman: Big Business Sees Results of its 30 year War on Expertise”

  1. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    Krugman:
    “When organizations like the Chamber of Commerce or the Heritage Foundation declare that Trump’s tariffs are a bad idea, they are on solid intellectual ground: All, and I mean all, economic experts agree. But they don’t have any credibility,
    because these same conservative institutions have spent decades making war on expertise.”

    Damn. This one’s a keeper.


  2. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read Donohue’s statement – what nerve, after all they have been responsible for all these years.

  3. J4Zonian Says:

    The only at all remarkable thing about IL Drumpfe Der Gropenführer is that he’s not remarkable at all. He’s only heading for iron fascism at a slightly faster pace than the the Republican party as a whole, which is only slightly faster than the Democratic party as a whole. He pushed the bounds just enough to make the general public aware of the direction; that’s the only area of contention between him and the rest of the corporate duopoly.

    Generational Degradation Syndrome–Acclimatizing to anything & everything
    And now it seems people are getting used to it and going back to sleep, and his popularity is rising! The US certainly does not deserve to exist; it’s an insidious scourge and a blight on humanity. Wether it can be turned into something that does deserve to exist or that can help rather than hinder efforts to ecologize civilization remains to be seen. At this point only a massive peaceful revolution will make it happen in time.

  4. dumboldguy Says:

    More of Jeffy admiring himself—-does he have a mirror next to his computer so that he can preen and puff up as he writes this crap?

    Trump is NOT remarkable? Really? The fact that he IS so “remarkable” (in all its negative connotations) is the major problem facing this country.

    Democrats are heading for fascism only slightly more slowly than Republicans? JFC!

    “The US certainly does not deserve to exist; it’s an insidious scourge and a blight on humanity”. Really, Jeffy? The US is not solely responsible for the present state of affairs—-Capitalism and colonialism and the destructive impacts of “civilization” began centuries before the US came into existence.

    PS I am awarding Jeffy another oak leaf cluster for his Order of the Perfumed Sleeve Hanky—-such skill at bloviation should not go unrecognized.


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