SUPPLY SIDE GURU HAS REBUBLICAN FIELD’S EAR
THE CONSERVATIVE VERSION OF REALITY
I’m not sure how much time has to pass before a theory is disproven. It took over twelve centuries until Copernicus came up with the idea that the Earth wasn’t the center of the known universe, that, indeed, the sun was. Of course, Galileo was severely chastised a century later by the Roman Catholic Church for this same heresy, but one would think that today it wouldn’t take quite so long for reality to catch up to observable data. Today the Catholic Church is more or less done with its role of deciding whether scientific observations are right or wrong and that’s a good thing. So one would think that after more than thirty years of contrary evidence that belies the premises of an economic theory, it would have been tossed into the dustbin of history labeled “Nice try, but wrong!” Yes, one would think that thirty years might be sufficient.
But if you think so, you are obviously not a Republican.
The title of this post is taken directly from the headline of a front page article in this morning’s Washington Post. Arthur Laffer, famous/infamous author of the theory that cutting taxes creates jobs that he sketched out on a paper napkin, was an economic advisor to Ron Reagan and is credited with guiding Reagan’s conservative economic policies. Yes, these very same policies that have hammered America’s working and middle classes since 1980, so much so, that over that same period incomes for ordinary Americans has remained flat. So to my mind I would posit that thirty-five years is a reasonable length of time to either prove or disprove a theory relative to the non-science we call economics.
But not if you’re Governor Sam Brownback, for example, who consulted Laffer as he instituted his triple down conservative economic program in Kansas. And, a short few years later, Brownback is proposing to float state bonds, that is to incur state debt, in order to pay off accumulating annual debt after cutting and eliminating taxes, cutting education and pension funding, which has resulted from his triple play game of instituting the very same policies that Laffer champions and that Reagan instituted for America. His policies have simply failed. In Kansas, there has been no explosion of jobs and business activity as the theory predicts. Arthur is quoted as observing that “Kansas is fine.” But the basic economic result has been plummeting tax revenues to the state coffers. And, as the article points out, nearly all of the Republican Presidential hopefuls have consulted Arthur Laffer and are using his economic theories in crafting their economic agendas.
The article does reference several economic studies and economists who do not believe that Laffer’s theories hold water but those studies and economists don’t seem to have influenced the Republican Presidential hopefuls. And, you might ask, why not? Well the answer to that question is tough, but let me try. You could cite, for example, Republican bull-headedness – or perhaps, dumbness – for continuing to believe, contrary to the facts, that women cannot take care of themselves when it comes to their own health decisions or that the Ten Commandments are not included in the Constitution or that gay men and women do not decide at the age of twelve or sixteen or thirty that being gay is just a cool lifestyle option or that unions are simply evil organizations that exist only to provide votes from dead people for Democratic candidates.
In a way, perhaps perversely so, I’m hoping that all these Republican candidates will continue to champion Arthur Laffer and his economic theories from now until election day next year. Such continued intransigence in the face of factual data (reality, you might term it) will only help the Democrats since I have a feeling that many more Americans today are very much disenchanted with the tired “cutting taxes creates jobs” meme that continues to inform Republican economic policy. One only had to look at Kansas to see exactly where such junk economics leads.
The full article is here:
Have a good day!