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Thursday, December 10, 2015

Zombie ideas that won't die

At least when you shoot a zombie in the brain it finally stops coming at you. Not so with RW economics.

Alternet has a fun little article on Krugman's Friday Column: I'd cite the column directly but I used up my freebie quota at the NY Times and am too broke to pay them.

And besides Janet Allon does a better job of contextualizing his comments anyway. Krugman is too polite to take the argument where it needs to go. These are Zombie ideas that never die. The notion of Zombie came from lurid stories of Voodoo and New Orleans Witch Doctors, so calling these ideas Zombie economics follows from years of economists (even sometimes former hucksters) calling them "Voodoo Economics." They were voodoo when they were new ideas. But they won't die!

Why won't they die?

Janet writes:

"why is it that Republicans and the right refuse to recognize the reality, evidence and facts that discredit their ideas? Must be something supernatural. Or more likely Koch and Adelson money. But more on that in a sec."

Short of literally shooting them in the head, these Zombies keep coming. The Krugman column starts with a homily:

"Last week, a zombie went to New Hampshire and staked its claim to the Republican presidential nomination," Krugman begins. "Well, O.K., it was actually Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey. But it’s pretty much the same thing."

"Christie gave a speech in New Hampshire once again positioning himself as a roll-up-your-shirtsleeves, tough fiscal conservative. But his ideas are largley, well, zombies. Things that are dead, but somehow refuse to acknowledge they are dead. Christie thought he was being so smart when he proposed that the minimum age for Social Secutiry and Medicare be raised to 69. Here is Krugman's explanation of the problem with that oh-so-brave idea."

Actually those ideas are still alive thanks to Pete Peterson and his crew (not just the Koch's or Adelson). Peterson has an entire organization paid well to keep the war going against those specific two programs. [See my review of the Salon Article]

Allon notes that Christie Kreme's idea would impose massive harm on millions of retirees, at little or no savings:

"This whole line of argument should have died in 2007, when the Social Security Administration issued a report showing that almost all the rise in life expectancy has taken place among the affluent. The bottom half of workers, who are precisely the Americans who rely on Social Security most, have seen their life expectancy at age 65 rise only a bit more than a year since the 1970s. Furthermore, while lawyers and politicians may consider working into their late 60s no hardship, things look somewhat different to ordinary workers, many of whom still have to perform manual labor."

These ideas are the typical neo-liberal agenda -- pursued around the world -- to destroy any hope of a decent existence for the majority of people so a few millionaires can become billionaires. Or to simply, "Zombie ideas."

"And while raising the retirement age would impose a great deal of hardship, it would save remarkably little money. In fact, a 2013 report from the Congressional Budget Office found that raising the Medicare age would save almost no money at all."

Allon's article goes on to show how virtually every one of these economic ideas either doesn't work, imposes more harm than good or is downright nasty. And yet for each of the insane ideas:

"But did this evidence of it being a bad idea prevent other zombies, like Jeb Bush, from offering up the same thing? No it did not. "The zombie ideas have eaten his brain," Krugman explains."

Follow the Money

No, because these are brain-dead ideas proposed by angry and brain-dead people and kept alive with spare change money from Billionaires with more greed and ambition than wisdom. The real cause is that:

"Koch money," Pete Peterson money and "Sheldon Adelson money only go to those who perpetuate outright untruths about taxes, Obamacare, the environment, and on and on."

We have a cabal of greedy (and brain dead) billionaires) buying our elections. And we are too brain dead to stop them.

Zombie economics is the right metaphor.

Alternet Article:
Salon Article Review
Article that Krugman was referencing:
Five Zombie Economic Ideas That Refuse to Die by John Quiggin

1 comment:

  1. All the money and healthcare in the world couldn't save Steve Jobs from pancreatic cancer. On the other hand, Cheney got a new heart and believe it or not, I have a medicaid patient who received a new liver. Karma is the great equalizer.