In a column for the New York Times — as well as in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour which can be seen below — Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman unloaded on members of the Republican Party as “zombies” and “soulless opportunists” working in tandem with Donald Trump to ruin the U.S. economy.
Riffing off his new book, “Arguing with Zombies: Economics, Politics, and the Fight for a Better Future,” he writes, “Is this the week American democracy dies? Quite possibly.”
Posing the separate question of how the U.S. reached such a crucial point, he put forward his “zombie” theory.
“A zombie idea is a belief or doctrine that has repeatedly been proved false, but refuses to die; instead, it just keeps shambling along, eating people’s brains. The ultimate zombie in American politics is the assertion that tax cuts pay for themselves — a claim that has been proved wrong again and again over the past 40 years. But there are other zombies, like climate change denial, that play an almost equally large role in our political discourse,” he wrote before adding, “And all of the really important zombies these days are on the right. Indeed, they have taken over the Republican Party.”
According to the economist, it all began with what has become known as “voodoo economics.”
“Back in 1980 George H.W. Bush called Ronald Reagan’s extravagant claims about the effectiveness of tax cuts “voodoo economic policy.” Everything that has happened since has vindicated his original assessment. Deficits ballooned after Reagan cut taxes; they shrank and eventually turned into surpluses after Bill Clinton raised taxes, then ballooned again after George W. Bush’s tax cuts,” he wrote adding that despite its failures it has become the guiding principle under Republican administrations and has only worsened under the leadership of Donald Trump.
“Voodoo economics has become unchallengeable doctrine within the Republican Party. Even fake moderates like Susan Collins justified their support for the 2017 Trump tax cut by claiming that it would reduce the budget deficit. Predictably, the deficit actually exploded, and now exceeds $1 trillion a year,” he explained. “It’s important to realize that the zombification of the G.O.P. isn’t a recent phenomenon, something that happened only with Trump’s election. On the contrary, zombies have been eating Republican brains for decades … What recent events make clear, however, is that zombie ideas haven’t eaten just Republicans’ brains. They have also eaten the party’s soul.”
“It takes a certain kind of person to play that kind of game — namely, a cynical careerist. There used to be Republican politicians who were more than that, but they were mainly holdovers from an earlier era, and at this point have all left the scene, one way or another. John McCain may well have been the last of his kind,” he elaborated. “A result of decades of zombification is a Republican caucus that consists entirely of soulless opportunists (and no, the fact that some of them like to quote Scripture doesn’t change that fact).”
The columnist goes onto note that one might expect some Republicans to admit that they can’t continue down this road — but that it will never happen while Trump is president.
“What we’ve learned, however — and perhaps more important, what Trump has learned — is that there is no line. If Trump wants to dismantle democracy and rule of law (which he does), his party will stand with him all the way,” he concluded.
You can see video of Kugman on CNN below:
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