Link and Comment: Krugman on Terrorism

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman regularly criticizes President Trump and the entire Republican party for engaging in fantasy economics– the kind of economics, which actually has never worked, that says cutting taxes on the wealthy will spur business and actually increased federal tax revenue. It’s a cute theory but it never seems to work. That doesn’t stop Republicans — and the wealthiest in our country support Republicans, never mind all their other policies, precisely because of such tax cuts.

Once in a while Krugman steps back and takes a broader view, as he did in his column on Tuesday, called “Trump, Tax Cuts and Terrorism.” My Google News feed shows me a outraged reaction to this column from conservative Washington Examiner, which suggests to me that he struck a nerve.

NY Times: Trump, Tax Cuts and Terrorism: Why do Republicans enable right-wing extremism?

The central story of U.S. politics since the 1970s is the takeover of the Republican Party by economic radicals, determined to slash taxes for the wealthy while undermining the social safety net.

With the arguable exception of George H.W. Bush, every Republican president since 1980 has pushed through tax cuts that disproportionately benefited the 1 percent while trying to defund and/or privatize key social programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act.

This agenda is, however, unpopular. Most voters believe that the rich should pay more, not less, in taxes, and want spending on social programs to rise, not fall.

So how do Republicans win elections? By appealing to racial animus. This is such an obvious fact of American political life that you have to be willfully blind not to see it.

In effect, then, the Republican Party decided that a few massacres were an acceptable price to pay in return for tax cuts. I wish that were hyperbole, but the continuing refusal of G.O.P. figures to criticize Trump even after El Paso shows that it’s the literal truth.

This reflects my inclination to believe that the gun fetishists are willing to suffer the increasingly common massacres in order to preserve their rights to own weapons to kill people with. I suspect all of them, not just the ones who commit these massacres, are in some sense mentally ill — in the sense that they are unfit to live in a larger community where Peter Singer’s expanding circle applies to larger and larger groups of people, and life. But if there are so many of them, how can they be called mentally ill? Maybe the attitude they expound reflects a natural tribalistic attitude of humanity that can never be overcome. Maybe the idealistic notion of a worldwide culture that lives in peace is a fantasy. Let alone the idealistic notions of a galactic Federation, as imagined in Star Trek.

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