Conservative economic principles?

excerpt from Drew Westen, “The 3 Wings of the Republican Party: The Crazies, the Corporatists … and Democrats,” AlterNet, 6/20/11:

…Consider the following five-point statement of conservative economic principles from ABC’s This Week a couple of Sundays ago, which concisely describes what conservatives believe the Obama administration should do to solve our nation’s economic ills, and how the Democrats responded to it:

* Our effort now … should be to get the private sector, to help them stand up and lead the recovery. [T]he government is not the central driver of recovery.
* Now, we must live within our means.
* We’ve got to rely on government policies that are trying to leverage the private sector and give incentives to the private sector to be doing the growth. And … so … these tax cuts … will continue over the rest of this year.
* Put in place this regulatory review in which all of the major agencies are going to go through, find any outmoded regulations, ones that are excessively costly for their benefits, find ways to streamline.
* The free-trade agreements, trying to increase exports, which are rising at 15 percent annual rates.

So there you have all the elements of the ineffectual conservative Republican response to a severe recession bordering on a Depression: let the private sector lead and the government step out of the way; cut the budget, exercise austerity, and “live within our means;” use tax cuts as the primary stimulus to get the economy moving again (because they worked so well under the Bush administration); eliminate excessive regulations on businesses, because we all know that excessive regulations are what threw us into the Great Recession and are what are hindering the business community’s ability to create economic growth; and implement free-trade agreements so the sticky fingers of the invisible hand of capitalism can work its wonders across international borders, just as it has done for the millions of Americans who once had manufacturing jobs, but just don’t understand the fine points of the theory of comparative advantage in economics (by which countries with the “comparative advantage” of having the 2/3 of the world’s workers who are willing to work for less than $2/day get jobs as factories in the U.S. shut their doors).

Surely this was an easy target for a Democratic counter-attack. After all, this is Hoover economics, all of which has been thoroughly discredited, if not by the Great Depression, more recently by the Bush administration and the Great Recession that capped off that glorious eight-year period of economic growth during which we managed to double the national debt and crash the economy at the same time.

So what was the Democrats’ response?

Actually, that was the Democrats’ response. This statement of conservative economic principles was actually from the Chairman of the president’s Council of Economic Advisors, Austan Goolsby….

read the full article at AlterNet


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Filed under Economy, Labor, Tax

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