Nobel prize-winning economist Paul Krugman is nostalgic for those more innocent days in the political universe when Republican politicians were content with merely putting their own spin on the facts rather than the situation we find ourselves in today where the GOP simply ignores facts entirely and goes straight to spouting deliberate, outright lies instead.
Krugman lamented the plague of deception that has infected the Republican body politic in a brutally honest depiction of GOP political prevarication in an Op-Ed in today’s The New York Times. The laundry list of topics subject to Republican falsehoods range from “crowd sizes to immigrant crime, from steel plants to the Supreme Court,” according to Krugman, but he rightly points out that “right now the most intense, coordinated effort at deception involves health care — an issue where Republicans are lying nonstop about both their own position and that of Democrats.”
“The true Republican position on health care has been clear and consistent for decades: The party hates, just hates, the idea of government action to make essential health care available to all citizens, regardless of income or medical history,” the Nobel-winning economist makes clear.
He goes on to cite the long history of Republican antipathy to one of the most popular social programs ever enacted, Medicare, from Ronald Reagan claiming that the program ensuring that our senior citizens can afford medical treatment will “destroy American freedom” to House Majority Leader Paul Ryan (R-WI) proposing the replacement of the guaranteed Medicare benefits with a sketchy and inadequate system of private vouchers.
Krugman notes that the biggest problem that Republicans face with their ideological allergy to Medicare is that they are the only ones who think that it’s bad public policy. The citizens whose parents and grandparents the program protects not only are massively in favor of Medicare, they wish that they could access its benefits for themselves as well, which incidentally is a signature demand of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party’s proposal for a single-payer, Medicare-for-All revamp of the American healthcare system.
How does the GOP respond to this problem? According to Krugman:
“Now, you might imagine that Republicans would respond to the manifest unpopularity of their health care position by, you know, actually changing their position. But that would be hopelessly old-fashioned. As I said, what they’ve chosen to do instead is lie, insisting that black is white and up is down.”
Even more damaging than the Republican candidates’ lies about their own positions on healthcare are the lies they tell about the Democratic stance on the issues involved, which naturally brings Krugman to the topic of President Trump’s massively and maliciously fallacious Op-Ed in USA Today earlier this week.
Already derided by The Washington Post‘s fact checkers for containing a lie in almost every sentence, Krugman explores the boldest lies and why Trump and his cronies believe they’ll get away with such blatant distortions of the truth.
“And what did “Trump” say Democrats would do? Why, that they would “eviscerate” the current Medicare program. Oh, and that they would turn America into Venezuela. Because that’s what has happened to countries that really do have single-payer, like Canada and Denmark,” Krugman writes.
“Why do Republicans think they can get away with such blatant lies? Partly it’s because they expect their Fox-watching followers to believe anything they’re told,” he sadly explains.
Krugman concludes his Op-Ed with an indictment of the American media for allowing Trump and other Republicans to spread their lies without loudly pointing out their falsity or at the very least challenging their veracity. By providing a friendly platform for the spread of deliberate lies, the media, particularly Fox News, is complicit in Republican moral corruption and the destruction of a fair and Democratic electoral process.
We can only hope that enough of the people headed to the polls in the upcoming midterm elections see through the lies and eject their perpetrators from office as soon as possible.
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