Paul Krugman Op-Ed: Republican Lawmakers Are a 'Zombie Horde'

New York Times Opinion columnist Paul Krugman / Getty Images
July 31, 2017

Economist Paul Krugman referred to Senate Republicans as "zombies" and asked who had eaten the "Republicans' brains" in a New York Times op-ed Monday.

Krugman's piece questioned the Republicans' state-of-mind when it came to their most recent attempt at health care reform.

"So where did this zombie horde come from? Who ate Republicans' brains?" Krugman asked.  "As many people have pointed out, when it comes to health care Republicans were basically caught in their own web of lies."

The self-described liberal editorialist went on to discuss what he described as a plethora of Republican lies.

Krugman accused Republicans of being dishonest in their opposition to Obamacare and in their attempts to repeal and replace the health care law. The most recent attempt to repeal the law was ultimately voted against late Thursday night.

He went as far to compare the Republicans' actions to jihad, saying that the "stark dishonesty of the Republican jihad against Obamacare itself demands an explanation."

Krugman made it clear that he does not see the "dishonest" actions of Republicans as being usual politics. He commented that while the Democratic Party is not above "cutting a few intellectual corners in pursuit of electoral advantage," any shortcomings of Democrats do not compare to those of Republicans.

He argued that while the left's "intellectual and moral collapse" might waiver from true north now and again, the right's is regularly pointed far from truth. In an effort to make this point, Krugman discussed how former President Barack Obama approached health care.

"[The] Obama administration was, when all is said and done, remarkably clear headed and honest about its policies," Krugman wrote. "In particular, it was always clear what the ACA was supposed to do and how it was supposed to do it—and it has, for the most part, worked as advertised."

Many critics disagreed with this conclusion, both in regards to the level of transparency involved in the shaping of Obamacare, and in the law's results.

Obamacare has denied Americans coverage due to pre-existing conditions, despite Obama regularly promising that "all discrimination against pre-existing conditions will be prohibited," the Times reported.

Obama's claim that, "if you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan," was fact-checked by USA Today and found to be inaccurate. Many Americans did in fact lose their pre-Obamacare health care plans.

Moreover, Obama promised that the Affordable Care Act would save the average American family $2,500 per year. That did not turn out to be the case. Forbes estimated in 2013 that under Obamacare, over the course of eight years, health spending would increase by over seven thousand for a family of four.

"Between 2014 and 2022, the increase in national health spending (which the Medicare actuaries specifically attribute to the law) amounts to $7,450 per family of 4," Forbes reported.

John Gruber, one of the "architects" of Obamacare, infamously called the American people "too stupid to understand" the complexities of the economic implications of the ACA. He admitted to a lack of transparency during the process of formulating and passing Obamacare because he would "rather have the bill than not."

Krugman nevertheless claimed that the Democrats are relatively innocent compared to the "zombie" Republicans.

"The Republican health care debacle was the culmination of a process of intellectual and moral deterioration that began four decades ago, at the very dawn of modern movement conservatism," Krugman wrote.