Sunday, March 31, 2013

Boehner (Deliberately?) Misinterprets Lincoln

Paul Krugman points out that when John Boehner uses the example of Abraham Lincoln to rail against the deficit, he (Boehner) omits a part of a quote, the part in which Lincoln called for balancing the budget by raising taxes. Right... the greatest Republican ever, the one Republican no Republican today would ever outright contradict because he is sainted much as Ronald Reagan is canonized, advocated raising taxes to fix a severe postwar budget imbalance. Here's Krugman:
Then there’s Greg [Sargent]’s catch: Boehner truncated the quote, leaving out the part where Lincoln called for balancing the budget by raising taxes. And also the point that Lincoln was actually a big government interventionist for his time, a strong advocate of what we would now call industrial policy.
It gets worse; please read Krugman's original post. The simplest version is that Lincoln remedied the post-Civil-War currency problems by debasing the dollar with respect to gold. That's right: Lincoln "let[] the dollar fall to a third of its gold parity." And what were the terrible consequences of this mortal sin of conservatism? Krugman again:
... nothing terrible happened despite 15 years off the gold standard, and despite this fact all the Very Serious People continued to believe that going off the gold standard was a terrible, terrible thing.
And Boehner simply ignored what Lincoln really said and did, and what really happened afterward, because it was at odds with current GOP economic ideology.

The short version: Abe was honest. John is not. Quelle surprise.

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