Friday, August 6, 2010

Required Reading

The most important point Krugman makes in his demolishing of Congressman Ryan's fiscal plan is that Americans can't do math, so they accept anything that sounds good.
One depressing aspect of American politics is the susceptibility of the political and media establishment to charlatans. You might have thought, given past experience, that D.C. insiders would be on their guard against conservatives with grandiose plans. But no: as long as someone on the right claims to have bold new proposals, he’s hailed as an innovative thinker. And nobody checks his arithmetic.


Anonymous said...

I don't think it's the lack of math skills, although that's certainly there. It's the utter lack of critical thinking, combined with the knee-jerk willingness -- after decades of right-wing linguistic drum-beating -- to automatically think anything with certain buzzwords (e.g., cut taxes) is a good idea. You'd have to travel a long way to find someone who would even care to consider the numbers, much less get them correct.

Anonymous said...

Further thoughts on that, from Frank Rich: "Betting on amnesia is almost always a winning, not a losing, wager in America. Angry demonstrators at health care town-hall meetings didn’t remember that Medicare is a government program, and fewer and fewer voters of both parties recall that the widely loathed TARP was a Bush administration creation supported by the G.O.P. Congressional leadership. So many Republicans don’t know Obama is a natural citizen — 41 percent in a poll last week — that we must (charitably) assume some of them have forgotten that Hawaii was granted statehood. The G.O.P. chairman is sufficiently afflicted with amnesia that he matter-of-factly regaled an audience with the counterfactual observation that the war in Afghanistan, Bush’s immediate response to 9/11, began under Obama."