Erick Erickson's Bad Advice

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
July 15 2011 9:24 AM

Erick Erickson's Bad Advice

The RedState editor tweets that this post of his is being passed around the House GOP's caucus meeting. Hey, lots of things are passed around at meetings. Let's just hope no one takes this seriously, because it's totally incoherent.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

Should the United States lose its bond rating, it will be called the “Obama Depression”. Congress does not get pinned with this stuff.

Who actually thinks this? The polling suggests that people will blame Republicans if we lose our bond rating, because 1) Republicans demanded that this vote be used to get leverage and 2) have insisted that nothing will happen if the limit isn't raised. To wit, here's, uh, Erick Erickson.

When Ben Bernanke brings the Grim Reaper in on August 1st to tell you we are all going to die, you must mock death and choose life.

So the Republicans won't get blamed for a downgrade even though they spent eight months politicizing it and saying it didn't matter?

By the end of July, Goldman Sachs, Ben Bernanke, and Timmy Geithner are going to tell you the world will end unless you raise the debt ceiling.
They did it with TARP too.

Indeed they did! And after House Republicans surprised themselves and beat TARP, the stock market lost 7 percent of its value. Bernanke et al weren't actually bluffing about what would happen if it failed. TARP became unpopular, and it wasn't implemented in a way that protected homeowners -- and that was a disaster. It was separate from the disaster that Republicans courted by suggesting creative destruction and some tax cuts in September 2008.

About creative destruction -- we need to be clear on this. The ideological, libertarian plan in September 2008 was short-term pain and collapse as a way of staving off an expensive lost decade, during which government would try to perserve the failing financial system. Plenty of Republicans look at what we got after TARP and think we would have been better off with a collapse followed by a rebuild. And there's definitely that strain of thought in the debt talks -- there are Republicans who say a default or downgrade would shock us into cuts and be worth the pain. But try and square that with Erickson's point that Obama would get the blame for default. Voters can be stupid, but not this stupid.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 


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