Is the Tea Party responsible for yesterday’s election results? Probably. But perhaps not in the way you were thinking.
Journalists have written thousands of pages describing the anger, fury or excitement of the Tea Party. But this isn’t how an economist would approach the question. Perhaps the single deepest idea in economics is the opportunity cost principle. And so it is worth asking: What is the opportunity cost of an active Tea Party movement? To figure this out, you need to ask, “or what?”