On the eve of the Great Recession, many conservative pundits and commentators had a world view that combined faith in free markets with disdain for government. Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Conservative delusions about inflation hint at a much larger rejection of fact-based thinking

Ronald Reagan was told by a group of economic advisers that a cut in income tax rates would raise tax revenue

The experience of Kansas is just the latest evidence that Reagan’s trickle-down economics is a fantasy

Former US treasury secretary Henry Paulson called for a national tax on carbon emissions to encourage conservation. Photograph: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP Photo

In policy terms, climate action would probably look like health reform

US president Barack Obama. “In terms of policy substance Obama is having a seriously good year. In fact, there’s a very good chance that 2014 will go down in the record books as one of those years when America took a major turn in the right direction.” Photograph: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

Opinion: the US president should be judged by his achievements, not his press

The real war on coal, or at least on coal workers, took place a generation ago, waged not by liberal environmentalists but by the coal industry itself. And coal workers lost. Photograph: Michaela Rehle/Reuters

Toxic mix of ideology and anti-intellectualism makes rational action on climate so hard

French economist and academic Thomas Piketty’s best-selling Capital in the Twenty-First Century has attracted praise and invective alike. Photograph: Reuters

Critics of consensus need to ask whether they’re seeking intellectual honesty, or are acting as concern trolls

Paul Ryan likes to warn that Europe’s social safety net became  a “hammock” that undermined initiative and encouraged dependency. Photograph: Rick Wilking/Reuters

US conservatives don’t like to admit that European-style welfare states have proven more successful at job creation

US President Barack Obama with then treasury secretary Tim Geithner in the East Room of the White House in January 2013 . Photograph: AFP

How can people feel good about track records that are objectively so bad?

Karl Marx: Obamacare and climate change policy are among the initiatives branded ‘Marxist’ by US conservatives. Photograph: Henry Guttmann/Getty Images

Justice Scalia’s criticism of an attempt to curb pollution gives a taste of what’s to come

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