Many of the geniuses behind the rational market dogmatism that led to the financial crash of 2008 have Nobel prizes. Neconservatism is steeped the in the intellectual rigor of Leo Strauss and other University of Chicago leading lights. Just because ostensibly intellectual people have given their stamp of approval to some crackpot scheme doesn’t mean that it’s not really a crackpot scheme. Paul Krugman on the Heritage Foundation:
When the (Ryan) proposal was released, it was praised as a “wonk-approved” plan that had been run by the experts. But the “experts” in question, it turned out, were at the Heritage Foundation, and few people outside the hard right found their conclusions credible. In the words of the consulting firm Macroeconomic Advisers — which makes its living telling businesses what they need to know, not telling politicians what they want to hear — the Heritage analysis was “both flawed and contrived.” Basically, Heritage went all in on the much-refuted claim that cutting taxes on the wealthy produces miraculous economic results, including a surge in revenue that actually reduces the deficit.
By the way, Heritage is always like this. Whenever there’s something the G.O.P. doesn’t like — say, environmental protection — Heritage can be counted on to produce a report, based on no economic model anyone else recognizes, claiming that this policy would cause huge job losses. Correspondingly, whenever there’s something Republicans want, like tax cuts for the wealthy or for corporations, Heritage can be counted on to claim that this policy would yield immense economic benefits.
A lot of academics like to bemoan the “fact” that no one cares what high-brow types like themselves think about anything. They’re wrong: an intellectual imprimatur is valuable in public debate, it’s just that some right-wing professor or think tank is always willing to give one out when needed.