Pay all due attention to the little man behind the curtain. An argument worth forwarding, from Jon Chait at NYMag:
Changes in the way we think about the world are not “news” in the classic sense — they occur gradually, without discrete events to signal them. But they matter. Two such developments have come together recently, both reported in the New York Times. The first is the collapse of intellectual support for the notion that immediate austerity can boost economic growth. The second is a growing consensus that health-care-cost inflation is slowing for deep structural reasons, rather than having undergone a mere temporary dip from the recession. These trends have something in common: They blow to smithereens the intellectual foundations of the Obama-era Republican policy agenda.
During the last four years, the hoary Republican nostrums of lower taxes, spending, and regulation have cohered into a specific view of the world. Paul Ryan has been the leading figure in defining this view and persuading the entire party, almost without exception, to fall in line behind it. The Ryan worldview is that the United States is heading toward a massive debt crisis, that the crisis is driven primarily by rising health-care costs, and only his plan stands any chance of alleviating it. Ryan has expounded this view over and over…
It is of course unfair to judge the merits of an analysis solely by the rhetoric of its politicians; politicians have to sand off the rough and complicated edges of their ideas to appeal to a majority. The deeper expression of the Ryan worldview comes from Yuval Levin, a close adviser to Ryan, probably the most influential conservative intellectual of the Obama era (and who was recently recognized as such and granted a $250,000 Bradley Prize)….
Levin’s arguments were hyperbolic versions of the critique of Obama that resonated among respectable centrists. The trillion-dollar deficits were shocking, dangerous; Obamacare didn’t do anything to limit the continuous rise of health-care costs. These propositions maintained enough political respectability that Republicans could turn (hyperbolized) versions of them into the premise for their domestic policy and be treated as sagacious guardians of fiscal responsibility.
The doctrine of expansionary austerity — the premise that we must cut deficits not just eventually but immediately — has suffered a series of disastrous reversals. It has failed repeatedly in Europe, and its most prestigious academic basis, a paper by Harvard’s Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff, was exposed for a series of fundamental errors. A New York Times article this week represented a watershed, baldly stating in its headline, as the entire macroeconomic forecasting field has understood all along, that the short-term deficit was too low, no longer a counterintuitive dissent but a clear and barely contested reality.
Less visible, and possibly more interesting, is the growing mass of evidence that the health-care-cost inflation problem is indeed solvable….
Much more at the link.