Isn't eviscerates a great word?
Paul Krugman today literally disembowels Paul Ryan's economic philosophy, demonstrating how it derives from absolutely nutty ideas contained in the novels of Ayn Rand that are either a) exceptionally radical, b) completely disproved by real economic events or c) both.
First, Krugman explains that Ryan's desire to shift wealth from the poor to the richest, by shredding the safety net and using the money to lower the taxes paid by the 1%, is due to his "contempt for moochers," and his adoration of those who earn great wealth. Of course he disguises his contempt by saying that these measures will help poor people, and that's what he wants. See, he's concerned that they don't get too lazy or anything like that while they live on the high life of food stamps. Ryan's ideas on this come straight from Rand.
Many of you all have heard that before, so let me move on to the next section, where Krugman brings up something a bit less well known, but far more bizarre in Ryan/Rand's economic fictional world. Apparently, Ryan's "thinking" on monetary policy derives not from any study of economic history and data, but from the novel he read as a teenager (insert the quote about orcs here), "Atlas Shrugged." I'll let Dr. Krugman speak for himself:
Well, it’s right there in [the aforementioned] 2005 speech to the Atlas Society, in which he declared that he always goes back to “Francisco d’Anconia’s speech on money” when thinking about monetary policy. Who? Never mind. That speech (which clocks in at a mere 23 paragraphs) is a case of hard-money obsession gone ballistic. Not only does the character in question, a Galt sidekick, call for a return to the gold standard, he denounces the notion of paper money and demands a return to gold coins.Krugman then reminds us that we've been using paper money in the United States as our primary form of currency for a very, very long time. Two hundred years in fact. He makes the point that Ryan seems to want to bring us back to the good old days, in terms of economic thinking, of the eighteenth century.
Then Krugman delivers the coup de grâce:
Does any of this matter? Well, if the Republican ticket wins, Mr. Ryan will surely be an influential force in the next administration — and bear in mind, too, that he would, as the cliché goes, be a heartbeat away from the presidency. So it should worry us that Mr. Ryan holds monetary views that would, if put into practice, go a long way toward recreating the Great Depression.These are really good questions, no?
And, beyond that, consider the fact that Mr. Ryan is considered the modern G.O.P.’s big thinker. What does it say about the party when its intellectual leader evidently gets his ideas largely from deeply unrealistic fantasy novels?