If there is any place where Republicans might retain a semblance of relevance, it is economics only because it is an issue they engage that isn’t outright bizarre. That’s hardly a praiseworthy endorsement, but it something.
Still, even here they are so dead wrong so much of the time. And here is why.
When it comes to economics, they are very much lowbrow thinkers, focused only on the ends, not the means, to things that they deem important. It is what is leading the world toward a new feudal order, one based on inheritance and corruption over merit and integrity. Sure, the markets are roaring and wealth is accumulating like never before…and this is happening in a systematic slump! One wonders, in fact, what Republicans are whining about. Their Utopia is unfolding rather nicely here and now. What’s the problem?
Because Republicans whine, however, perhaps there is hope. Perhaps there are enough middle class Republicans out there who do not see their lives and futures trending toward the better as they embrace the party’s failing economic policy so that someday the self-destructive cycle of cognitive dissonance will end. We can only hope.
Unfortunately at this point personal pain and loss matters not a whit. The fact that corporations and fortunate wealth accrue more wealth is proof enough that conservative economic policy works. Never mind the rest. You can be threadbare poor and be a Republican solely on the belief that if someone is making it, making it is good enough; it validates your beliefs.
But I think about my own state, home to so many peasants and poor from Scandinavia and Europe who came here, worked hard, and earned wealth and success. Their children inherited all of that and more. They benefited from strong government and the opportunities that success gave them. Now too many of these people seem set on pushing back time. They look to go back to pre-industrial Europe, the very economic culture their families left, in order to protect a decidedly anti-democratic ideology today. It is a mistake, it is a huge mistake. At best it is naive. At worse it is hypocritical and petty.
Republicans know little of how economies work. They look at numbers like GDP and tax rates and think those numbers tell the story. But the growth in GDP means little on its own. It’s how that number grows that matters. It’s how the economy and our society serve people that matters. After all, society is people. Is it not?
The problem Republicans have with understanding economics is simply inability to understand economics at the social level. They lack the ability to grasp the sophisticated connection between economics, politics, and social order. They care only about what they perceive to be a self-regulating machine that gives simple outcomes that are measured in numbers alone. In short, they don’t see the small pieces that make the larger whole possible.