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Monday, November 02, 2015

Paul Krugman: Partisan Growth Gaps

The economy does better when the president is a Democrat:

Partisan Growth Gaps, by Paul Krugman, Commentary, NY Times: Last week The Wall Street Journal published an op-ed article by Carly Fiorina titled “Hillary Clinton Flunks Economics,” ridiculing Mrs. Clinton’s assertions that the U.S. economy does better under Democrats. ...
Mrs. Clinton is completely right... Last year the economists Alan Blinder and Mark Watson circulated a paper comparing economic performance under Democratic and Republican presidents since 1947. Under Democrats, the economy grew, on average, 4.35 percent per year; under Republicans, only 2.54 percent. ...
Why is the Democratic record so much better? The short answer is that we don’t know. ... Certainly no Democratic candidate would be justified in promising dramatically higher growth if elected. And in fact, Democrats never do.
Republicans, however, always make such claims: Every candidate with a real chance of getting the G.O.P. nomination is claiming that his tax plan would produce a huge growth surge — a claim that has no basis in historical experience. Why?
Part of the answer is epistemic closure: modern conservatives generally live in a bubble into which inconvenient facts can’t penetrate. ... Beyond that..., Republicans need to promise economic miracles as a way to sell policies that overwhelmingly favor the donor class.
It would be nice, for variety’s sake, if even one major G.O.P. candidate would come out against big tax cuts for the 1 percent. But none have..., all of the major players have called for cuts that would subtract trillions from revenue. To make up for this lost revenue, it would be necessary to make sharp cuts in big programs — that is, in Social Security and/or Medicare.
But Americans overwhelmingly believe that the wealthy pay less than their fair share of taxes, and even Republicans are closely divided on the issue. And the public wants to see Social Security expanded, not cut. So how can a politician sell the tax-cut agenda? The answer is, by promising those miracles, by insisting that tax cuts on high incomes would both pay for themselves and produce wonderful economic gains.
Hence the asymmetry between the parties. Democrats can afford to be cautious in their economic promises precisely because their policies can be sold on their merits. Republicans must sell an essentially unpopular agenda by confidently declaring that they have the ultimate recipe for prosperity — and hope that nobody points out their historically poor track record.
And if someone does point to that record, you know what they’ll do: Start yelling about media bias.

    Posted by on Monday, November 2, 2015 at 12:51 AM in Economics, Politics | Permalink  Comments (37)


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