In a conversation between New York Times columnist Paul Krugman and MSNBC host Chris Hayes on Tuesday at the Take Back the American Dream conference in Washington, D.C., they agreed that the right's economic policies are actually running a "natural experiment" in Ireland, and it's not working out so well.
"Running this natural experiment on austerity has given us data that allows us to make a very grounded, empirical case about the results of this," said Twilight of the Elites author Hayes. "And I also think if Europe continues to spiral downward, and you've even seen the president's re-election campaign make that argument, that we don't want that. And if we can persuasively tell Americans that what they're doing there is actually what [House Speaker] John Boehner and [House Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell are selling, then that's what we'll have as the result."
The Nobel prize-winning economist responded, "I actually have to say, as best we understand, the Romney prescription is fire lots of public employees and have low tax rates on corporations. Well, you're describing Ireland, which has 14 percent unemployment and 30 percent youth unemployment."
Reporting from the Belfast Telegraph indicated Monday that recent reports find Ireland's unemployment will "remain high" with estimates it will reach 14.9 percent this year. Despite this, the Telegraph reported, one economic estimate found that the country's gross domestic product is estimated to rise 2.2 percent by 2013.
Hayes said that conservative think tanks should point to Ireland as the "great utopian vision of a conservative future."
"Conservatives tried to declare Ireland a triumphant success story not once but twice. They did first in the spring of 2010 and then again last year and both times it turned out to be false," the Princeton University economist and author most recently of End This Depression Now! said. "I feel sorry for them. They've done everything the right wants them to do and it's not working."
[Economist Paul Krugman via 00Joshi / Flickr]