Paul Krugman, in his most recent column, asks why failed conservative economic theories, which should now be thoroughly discredited, continue to dominate politics.
And why does Obama open the door to these zombie ideas?
“When you do that,” Krugman says, “the zombies end up eating your brain — and quite possibly your economy too.”
Krugman calls these failed ideas “zombie economics” (John Quiggin, author of a new book on the same subject, may have borrowed Krugman’s term for his title).
“When historians look back at 2008-10, what will puzzle them most, I believe, is the strange triumph of failed ideas. Free-market fundamentalists have been wrong about everything — yet they now dominate the political scene more thoroughly than ever.
“How did that happen? How, after runaway banks brought the economy to its knees, did we end up with Ron Paul, who says “I don’t think we need regulators,” about to take over a key House panel overseeing the Fed? How, after the experiences of the Clinton and Bush administrations — the first raised taxes and presided over spectacular job growth; the second cut taxes and presided over anemic growth even before the crisis — did we end up with bipartisan agreement on even more tax cuts?
“The answer from the right is that the economic failures of the Obama administration show that big-government policies don’t work. But the response should be, what big-government policies?
“For the fact is that the Obama stimulus — which itself was almost 40 percent tax cuts — was far too cautious to turn the economy around. And that’s not 20-20 hindsight: many economists, myself included, warned from the beginning that the plan was grossly inadequate. Put it this way: A policy under which government employment actually fell, under which government spending on goods and services grew more slowly than during the Bush years, hardly constitutes a test of Keynesian economics.
“Now, maybe it wasn’t possible for President Obama to get more in the face of Congressional skepticism about government. But even if that’s true, it only demonstrates the continuing hold of a failed doctrine over our politics.”
Krugman raises the question, “Why do these failed ideas continue to dominate?” But he doesn’t answer it.
Here’s my answer: concentrated corporate media are very effective manufacturers of opinion.
Despite the fact that sane and sensible people mock Fox News, for instance, the truth is that Fox News is very successful, not in making money, which is not their prime goal, but in promoting radical conservative (GOP) propaganda, which includes all of zombie economics.