Must-Read: Paul Krugman: Fraternity of Failure

Must-Read: I understand that voters have short memories, And thus the politicians who predict that, say, the 1993 Clinton tax increase would crater the economy may evade the consequences of having recommended bad policies and remain in office. But they do want to enact policies that will work. So you would think that a Paul Ryan would be thinking twice right now about palling around with a John Cochrane, a Stephen Moore, a Cliff Asness, or an Arthur Laffer. Yet somehow…

I do not understand it:

Paul Krugman: Fraternity of Failure: “Jeb Bush wants to stop talking about past controversies….

…And you can see why…. Bush’s response… [was] ‘going back in time’ is a ‘disservice’ to those who served in the war…. Take a moment to savor the cowardice and vileness of that last remark. And, no, that’s not hyperbole. Mr. Bush is trying to hide behind the troops…. Wait, there’s more… Bush resorted to the old passive-voice dodge… ‘mistakes were made.’ Indeed. By whom?…. Bush released[‘s]… chief advisers on foreign policy… [is] a who’s-who of mistake-makers…. In Bushworld… a record of being disastrously wrong on national security issues seems to be a required credential….

[And] in economic policy… economists who appear to have significant influence on Republican leaders… nearly all… agreed… there was no housing bubble… the American economic future was bright… the Federal Reserve’s efforts to fight the economic crisis… would lead to severe inflation… Obamacare… would be a huge job-killer…. You might think that there would be some room in the G.O.P. for economists who didn’t get everything wrong. But there isn’t. Having been completely wrong… seems… a required credential….

Extreme tribalism… [means] anyone who questioned whether the Federal Reserve was really debasing the currency was surely an enemy of capitalism and freedom…. Simply raising questions about the orthodoxies of the moment leads to excommunication…. So the only ‘experts’ left standing are those who made all the approved mistakes… a fraternity of failure… united by a shared history of getting everything wrong, and refusing to admit it…

Duncan Black: And Their Enablers): “Krgthulu:

So the only ‘experts’ left standing are those who made all the approved mistakes. It’s kind of a fraternity of failure: men and women united by a shared history of getting everything wrong, and refusing to admit it. Will they get the chance to add more chapters to their reign of error?

But the ‘approved mistakes’ aren’t simply approved by Fox News and The Right, they’re also generally approved by the Washington Elite Consensus. Maybe we’re at the point where the Iraq war was a wee mistake, bygones, but all the people who supported it supported it for the right reasons and the hippies were still wrong. Inflation didn’t happen, but it’s still around the corner, etc. The Right still rules our discourse.

May 15, 2015

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