Democrats Don’t Need New Ideas

After all, Republicans have had the same three bad ideas for three decades: “tax cuts for the rich, slashed benefits for the poor, and more pollution. Paul Ryan 2010 was basically Newt Gingrich 1995 with a lower BMI, yet he got praised endlessly as an innovative thinker,” writes Paul Krugman, Nobel-prize-winning economist.

“There are huge problems with U.S. policy on many fronts, but very few of these problems come from lack of good new ideas. They come, instead, from failure to act on what we already know – and, for the most part, have known for a long time.” For example, we know how to fix health care and pollution, but we lack the political will and progressive political majorities to do so.

It’s not that ” politicians shouldn’t be open to new thinking and evidence about policy. But a political party isn’t like Apple, which needs to keep coming up with glitzier products to stay ahead of Android.”

Yes, policy analysis and study by think tanks and academics are unnecessary. Details matter, and sometimes policy studies generate truly new ideas. (For example, moderate minimum wage increases don’t reduce employment.)

But politicians don’t need clever new ideas to make the case that they could vastly improve most Americans’ lives. It’s mostly pundits who need politicians to have new ideas to keep the pundits from being bored. What we need are politicians who will stand up for the good, old ideas — and fight to get elected and implement them:

  • Let’s have universal healthcare
  • Let’s stop pollution in its tracks

Get ready, team, because the “Big Sneer” is coming:

The 2020 election is still two and a half years away, but the Big Sneer is already underway. Name
a potential Democratic candidate, and you know how pundits will react: the same way they
reacted to Al Gore [John Kerry] and Hillary Clinton. He/she (especially she), they’ll say, is tired, boring,
annoying. Above all, they’ll complain, he/she doesn’t offer any new ideas.

h/t Paul Krugman, NY Times

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