Once again Ross Douthat proves to be one of the few conservative pundits who gets it re the economy. Granted, he writes for The New York Times which gives those living in the Fox News/Rush Limbaugh alternate universe an excuse to dismiss him as a RINO.
In the course of the 2000s, under a tax-cutting, business-friendly Republican administration, middle class paychecks grew much more slowly than the economy as a whole, upward mobility for the poor continued to lag behind parts of Western Europe, and the combination of unfunded tax cuts and deficit spending worsened the country’s fiscal picture just as the Baby Boomers were poised to retire. Then came the financial crisis, touched off in part by gross recklessness on Wall Street. Then came the Great Recession, which threw millions of Americans out of work, hit downscale workers much harder than it did the college-educated, and sent the deficit spiraling upward to unprecedented heights.
It was a sequence of events that seemed to call into question certain commonplace Republican assumptions — that what’s good for Wall Street is good for America, that marginal tax cuts are a sufficient method of generating broadly shared prosperity, and that supply-side economics usually pays for itself. And many of the candidates for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination have made halting, tentative attempts to respond to these developments. . .
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