In the decades that I have been listening to politicians clumsily trying to explain the economy there has never been a period, with the possible exception of the early Reagan years, in which major party leaders were able to present a solid grasp of economic principles. But I have never seen a time in which the levels of ignorance coming from those in leadership positions is so extreme.
The state of affairs can be illustrated by two interviews last week by Donald Trump and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for the Democrats, the two undisputed leaders of our major political parties. Both put forth visions this week that are illogical, incoherent, and that completely ignore both data and experience. But these leaders are putting out beacons under which the vast majority of Americans are congregating. It's worse than the blind leading the blind, and it bodes very poorly for our ability to deal with the next economic crisis, which I believe is certainly slouching towards Washington, waiting to be born.
Before I get into particulars, let's dispense with the notion that AOC does not speak for the Democrats. She is the leader of the progressives, and the progressives are in control. The recent dust up between Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders shows how far the moderate wing of the Party has fallen.
While it may be true that Warren is just as far left as Sanders, the Democrat establishment is more comfortable with her, as they know she would be willing to fake moderation and to "tack" toward the center if she wins the nomination. On the other hand, Sanders has been an unrepentant communist his entire life and is unlikely to alter that message one iota if he faces Trump in the Fall. (In a 1981 Today Show interview, Sanders stated clearly that he does not support the "capitalist idea of competition" and that people work better under a cooperative system. In other words, he believes in the absurd Marxist proposition that people are just as likely to work for the benefit of strangers than they would for themselves.) Establishment Democrats fear that Trump will win that contest going away, so they are in full panic. Last week they took the gloves off.
It began with Warren's calculated allegations that Sanders, in a private conversation between the two, had claimed that a woman could not be elected president. The allegation was pressed by establishment allies at CNN through supportive commentaries and stilted questioning at the CNN-sponsored debate. Leading pundits fell in line behind Warren with an awkward twist on the "believe all women" mantra of the me-too movement. They painted Sanders as out of touch at best, and sexist at worst.