Tyler Cowen (via):

Another possibility is that Republicans don’t get much electoral credit for pro-poor initiatives (just as many voters simply won’t believe that “Democrats can be tough”).  The more competitive political messaging becomes, the more this constraint binds and so the policies of upward redistribution are more likely to be enacted by Republicans in the resulting political equilibrium.

For gosh sakes, Tyler, the stuff they teach you in Econ 101 is a series of useful simplifications, not absolute truth.

First off, perceptions about parties and candidates are not a perfectly competitive market— note that John McCain is billing himself as having stood up to the president in defense of the environment.

Plus, people and parties do not have perfect information, much less rational preferences.  Witness Mitt Romney’s insistence that preventing nuclear proliferation is a “liberal” concern.

The GOP, forever pandering to its jingoistic, enemy-craving base, is a deeply irrational party.  “Political equilibria” have nothing to do with it.


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