Mon Apr 6th, 2009 at 03:45:09 AM EST
... they they fight you, and then you win, according to Gandhi. He missed a step: going batshit insane. Perhaps that's part of the "fighting you" bit.
Brad de Long describes a conference where some of the leading lights of the economic right wander even further out of our universe into a more comforting fantasy world. (Which is an ability to be envied right now).
The point of the conference was to attack the historical effectiveness of the New Deal in order to defend the ideology of the low-tax, no-government right from the current unpleasant attack of reality - by claiming that the post-1929 recovery didn't happen until 1939 (a mere drop in unemployment from 23% to 11% isn't a recovery, for instance). The coverage of the conference was, of course, in classic, unbiased "he said, she said" style.
I tend to believe that these people are driven to this sort of crazy talk both by true belief and the defence of their social standing and financial well-being. The current circumstances makes rational defence of their position so difficult that they need to start discounting huge swathes of evidence in order to repel the barbarians.
None of this would matter, of course, if this sort of "thinking" was accorded the respect it deserves. Unfortunately, those in power - politicians, businessmen, the media and voters - have been used to listening to this ideology and continue to do so.
Just this weekend the leader of the main opposition party in Ireland promised to " Return the public finances to stability by 2012 – without increasing the standard and current top rates of income tax;" which, while leaving himself wiggle room on various other parameters that would result in people paying more tax, plays straight into the narrative that higher taxes would be a bad thing. The Sunday Independent calls for slashing public spending, selling off more of the family silver, privatisation "in order to drive down prices", and no rises in taxes.
Apparently the way out of disaster is to keep doing what we've been doing. What was it Einstein said about that?