But do I agree with Barro’s gloomy, fatalistic assessment? Or to frame it another way: Will the 2016 Republican presidential nominee — or even any top candidates — offer anything different than the 2012ers — other than more middle-class friendly messaging? I focus on the presidential candidate because it’s going to take a presidential candidate to really change the conversation among Washington Republicans. (And, of course, Democrats are also encouraged to adopt my ideas on tax, education, finance, and entitlement reform!)

When I consider the possible pool of GOP candidates — including Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal, Rand Paul, Paul Ryan, and Marco Rubio — I see some politicians who might understand the economic challenges of today are not the same as those of the 1980s and require timeless principles applied in a timely and relevant way. And I see some who might not.