Soon after the awful new job numbers were released, Dave Weigel had a good line, at least in a sardonic sort of way:
“Me? I’m just glad we kept the Bush tax rates so the economy could start surging.”
I had the same thought. Indeed, when thinking about who has credibility on economic projections and governmental policy, the right’s uninterrupted track record of failure remains fascinating. In 1982, conservative Republicans said Reagan’s tax increases would cause a disaster (they didn’t). In 1993, conservative Republicans said Clinton’s tax increases would invariably fail (they didn’t). In 2009, conservative Republicans said Obama’s stimulus would make the economy worse (it didn’t).
And in 2001, conservative Republicans said Bush’s tax cuts would cause a remarkable economic boom (they didn’t). In 2003, these same conservative Republicans said more Bush tax cuts would do the trick (they didn’t). In 2010, these same conservative Republicans said if we could just keep those Bush tax cuts around a little more, we’d be amazed at the economic turnaround in 2011.
Here we are. I don’t think anyone’s amazed.
The response from the right is that we should just stick with the tax cuts indefinitely, because they’re bound to work eventually. Indeed, to hear some conservatives tell is, it’s other factors that deserve the blame — Democrats have let spending get out of control (they haven’t) and allowed the debt to become a drag on the economy (it isn’t).
Ezra Klein noted the other day that the Republican approach to tax policy “is no longer based on any recognizable economic theory.” Of course not. Who needs economic models, egghead academics, and evidence when the GOP has a religious-like certainty in a policy based solely on ideology?
One wonders, though, when the political world might pause to question whether these folks have any left credibility at all.