In three days, the seventh district in Virginia will elect one of the most disturbing candidates in recent history. The self-styled economist Dave Brat has an elect web site that paints a portrait of an individual only loosely linked to reality.
As most Republicans, Dave is a big supporter of the 2nd Amendment’s right to bear arms. His rationale is that this right derives from God. Really! Does Dave speak to God? A religiously connected group in the 21st century that links firearms to God is ISIS. It is unbelievable that a far-right GOP member and a terror group would find a fundamental belief in common.
Brat is a big supporter of the Keystone Pipeline to energy independence. This is a straw man. The pipeline transports oil produced by Canadian tar sands to be exported to China. This means of manufacture will make the most pollution of any known method, leading to a significant rise in pollution. I guess Dave forgot to read the chapter on negative externalities in his Economics 101 text.
Dave wants energy independence. I guess in the past few weeks he has been too busy talking to God to look at the Chicago Board of Trade market in crude oil. At a time of 3 1/2% growth in GDP, political unrest in two large oil-producing regions, Russia and the Middle East, the price of crude has dropped by nearly 20% in the past several months. America’s energy Renaissance in here. In the face of all that so-called “excessive regulation,” that Brat always screams about, the United States will be almost energy-independent in the next several years. If Brat would do a little fundamental analysis, he would support this progress by lifting the ban on energy exports, and supporting a tariff on crude imports from a nation like Saudi Arabia to make sure that American production remains competitive. The proceeds for this tariff could be used to reduce the deficit and the national debt, build infrastructure, and increase the Earned Income Tax Credit.
There are few issues that the Chamber of Commerce and Paul Krugman do agree on, but immigration reform has broad support across the political spectrum. As an economist, Dave should know that one of the reasons often given for the stagnation of the Japanese economy is an aging population and a government policy that forbids all immigration.
Like the Japanese, Dave is against immigration. His position resembles some of the lowest points in American history that brought forth the Chinese Exclusion Act in the 19th century, subjected Irish immigrants to intense discrimination, and formed the “American Firsters” movement in the 1930’s and 1940’s, who pressed the U.S. Government not to admit the Jews on the S.S. Saint Louis.