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« Please don't fib to Newt | Main | There must be blood »

January 30, 2012


Susan Zoon

"politically sociopathic"

Great book called: "The Sociopath Next Door", posits that you can find a lot of sociopaths drawn to politics and acting- both areas where they can "Blend in".

Scary but true. They will tear it all down in order to control it. They have only self regard and NO CONSCIENCE.

Robert Llipscomb

It is self-interest, come greed.

It is not important how much the economy grows and how much everyone benefits. It is important how much "I" benefit.

If you genuinely believe that social safety nets and most other forms of government come as a net cost to you, then all taxes are a net loss to you.

Anything that reduces taxes - even if it just increases debt - is a net revenue to you. If the economy as a whole recedes, it does not matter - if you propser. So, who cares if the housing market goes to hell if it creates an investment opportunity for "Me"?

and if a down economy greates investment opportunities for "Me" and if I can use it to gain political power to reduce taxes - well that is a two-fer.

More to the point, much of the incongruity comes from (incorrectly) believing you are one of "Them" - those who experience a net-loss from the safety nets. Somewhere these people and the sociopaths are the people who need to rationalize their greed.

Finally, economists are people too and are subject to all of the above.

Peter G

I see no contradiction. The Prophets of Austerity were right and so were the Keynesian pro-stimulus crowd. The unsustainable fiscal policies of countries like Greece and Spain and Italy speak to the former. Their inability to fund a stimulus in the form of spending is a direct result of their lack of foresight in reigning in spending in the past. An American might well honestly hold the belief that the long term deficit is the bigger problem when compared to a demand driven recession or a stagnant economy. I think such people are wrong but my beliefs are based on the idea that economic policy should be that which benefits the most people and minimizes economic pain. If one does not use that metric then austerity is as good an ideology as any.


My first graduate level economics textbook was one written by Paul Samuelson that I later used as a supplementary text to teach high school economics. I think that in the case of Boehner, Romney, Paul Ryan, Cantor, Gingrich and the others, their positions on economic issues are not based as much on ideology as they are on personal and political gain. Boehner is bound and determined to push the Keystone XL project through Congress not because it will create "x" number of jobs, but because he owns stock in TransCanada and will profit personally if the pipeline is built. He couldn't care less about the negative impact on the environment or lives of those who live in areas where the pipeline will be located.

Peter G

Actually majii, Keystone has the support of organized labor while it is anathema to the progressive wing of the Democratic party. It is therefore a perfect wedge issue. Furthermore one can debate ad nauseum how many jobs not building it will cost but you cannot argue that will be none. You've got to expect these things in politics.

priscianus jr

"... in the case of Boehner, Romney, Paul Ryan, Cantor, Gingrich and the others, their positions on economic issues are not based as much on ideology as they are on personal and political gain."
Exactly. Call them political sociopaths, if you will, they are certainly that, but another way to put it is that they are unprincipled opportunists. Such a type is now and then seen in politics.

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