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The Economic Incompetence of Republican Presidents

In a United States rife with disinformation, one of the most persistent myths is that Republicans are better than Democrats for business and economic growth. In fact, Republicans have consistently under-performed on the economy for almost a century.

BERKELEY – One hears many strange things nowadays, not least because “they” (a complicated term) are flooding the zone with misinformation. Without a shared set of facts upon which to base ethical and policy debates, democracy inevitably breaks down. The system’s virtue lies in its unique ability to elevate and consider a broad range of ideas emanating from society. Ideally, through a good-faith exchange of arguments and a weighing of the alternatives, a majority of voters converges on the best course of action.

But we have lost one of the most basic conditions for this process to work properly: a reality-based public sphere. While there were always deep, even intractable, disagreements in the past, people at least were talking about the same thing. One could watch the Abraham Lincoln-Stephen Douglas debates and decide which figure was more trustworthy and convincing without being buffeted by a wave of informational manipulation and distortion.

One increasingly prevalent piece of misinformation holds that the United States will face a monumental trade-off on Election Day. On one hand, electing a Democrat as president will mean that America no longer has a government that abducts children and permanently breaks up families just because it can. On the other hand, putting Democrats in power is supposedly risky for the economy, because the GOP is the party of business.