Well, probably for a lot of reasons. But one of the more obvious -- and the most important -- is that they continue to act on bad advice. Paul Krugman calls them "The Always-Wrong Club."
Floyd Norris reminds us of the 23-economist letter from 2010, warning of dire consequences — “currency debasement and inflation” — from quantitative easing. The signatories are kind of a who’s who of wrongness, ranging from Niall Ferguson to Amity Shlaes to John Taylor. And they were wrong again.
But that won’t diminish their reputations on the right, even a bit. How do I know that? Well, also on the list — presumably because they asked him to be there — is Kevin Hassett, co-author of Dow 36,000 and also a prominent denier of the existence of a housing bubble. Fool me once, fool me twice, fool me yet again — hey, never mind. ...Paul Krugman
Why do they -- why do we! -- act on bad advice? Because it confirms what we're already thinking and doing. For Republicans (well, not all of them, but the most desperate) Keynes has to be wrong. Democrats have to be wrong. The existence of Republican gods depend on it.
What's interesting to speculate about is not what idiot Republican politicans are clinging to, but what Republican farmers, small business people, the people who invested heavily in gold, surgeons, tycoons, dads and college juniors are thinking. Are they falling back on things like "oh well, Republicans are right about icky homosexuals and greedy maids pouring in over our southern border, so I'll still vote Republican"?
Jonathan Bernstein points to another obvious problem: no matter how important the issue is or how urgent, there are Republicans now whose top priority isn't the economy or the well-being of the American people or a secure future. Their top priority is "no compromise," no matter the issue.
Look, says Bernstein, at the fate of the farm bill. Or look at tax reform.
... There’s[sic] only two major obstacles to getting a deal done during the current Congress. One is that Democrats have been insisting on more revenues; the other is that Democrats fear that any reform is going to be regressive, since many current tax exemptions disproportionately benefit the wealthy.
The thing is that this leads to an perfectly available compromise: Tax reform should be revenue-neutral but should be at least as progressive as the current code. That gives both sides a win. And there’s even a logic to it: Tax reform is hard enough, and so the less that needs to be done, the better. So don’t use tax reform to get the revenues that Democrats want, but also avoid the flattening that many Republicans want.
The problem? I strongly suspect that Republicans won’t go for it. For many of them, the whole point of tax reform is to lower the top rates; a commitment to a progressive code would make that hard, and maybe impossible. And, bottom line, compromise itself is problematic for all too many Republicans.
What it all comes down to is that a party which can’t even manage to get a farm bill passed — a historic flub — isn’t likely to get anything done unless there’s a deadline or unless party interests give Members of the House a strong incentive to get it done. ...Bernstein, WaPo