David Brooks Is Wrong On So Many Levels

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via The Atlantic

I have to say, David Brooks’s column today is a doozie even by Brooks’s standards. He goes after the Progressive Caucus’s budget. I guess that’s progress-there was a time when he would ignore those hippies.

His biggest beef is with taxes. He tries to claim all these big important economists are saying horrible things about taxes, usual Republican stuff. However, one part stood out to me-

Edward Prescott, a winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in economics, found that, in the 1950s when their taxes were low, Europeans worked more hours per capita than Americans. Then their taxes went up, reducing the incentives to work and increasing the incentives to relax. Over the next decades, Europe saw a nearly 30 percent decline in work hours.

Right now, Greeks work longer hours than Americans and Italians and Spaniards work a comparable time to us. A little over a year ago, David Brooks hearted Germany. Yet, by that same chart I posted, Germans are a lazy, lazy people.

The final passage is just a spiteful swipe at the Progressive Caucus-

The progressive budget in the House seems to have been written by people hermetically sealed in the house of government. They work in government. They represent public-sector workers. 

So, Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and the rest of the Republicans in Congress don’t collect a check from taxpayers? Also, Keith Ellison, the Congressman pushing this budget, represents less than 4500 federal employees. Ryan represents over 6000 federal employees. Cantor represents over 11,500.

Low taxes are the drug of choice for Republicans and Brooks is a high-functioning addict. He can act respectable and come across as reasonable. However, when this core belief is threatened, he turns into a cheap AM radio pundit…

David Brooks and Power

David Brooks has a new column out involving his “grand bargain” ideas with President Obama.  I won’t go into the details because there is only one important point-

David Brooks cannot deliver a single Republican vote in the House or the Senate.

Nothing else matters.  Even if he had the best ideas on planet Earth, Brooks can’t deliver the votes.  This is true of every other Republican “reformer.” Michael Tomasky wrote on this Saturday-

And the following people will write nothing about [Republican fanaticism]: David Brooks; Ross Douthat; the aforementioned [Peter] Wehner and [Michael] Gerson; Reihan Salam; Yuval Levin; Ramesh Ponnuru. Now I know most of these gentlemen, and I like them. But they’ve been participants to varying degrees in these recent conversations I’m talking about, and frankly, they are wasting their own and their readers’ time.

The Republican caucus cares nothing about detailed policy proposals.  Ted Cruz is a rising star in the Senate thanks to accusing a Republican Vietnam War vet of being in bed with terrorists. John Cornyn and Lindsey Graham are so worried about their employment prospects next year they’ve jumped on-board various far-right ideas. There is no way we will see a new moderate Republican party rally around an expansion of the EITC instead of raising the minimum wage or means-testing Medicare and using the savings to pay down student loans.

What we do see from the David Brooks column is he does care about what one group of people think about him-liberals. In response to Ezra Klein’s take down of him on Friday, he said “Humiliation is a good teacher.” Now you can have a low opinion of him as I do and see him as a wolf in sheep’s clothing but you have to admit he made the fatal mistake when it comes to the right-don’t care about what liberals say about you.  If you get tossed by them in a debate, you complain lefties were lying or ambushed you or didn’t play fair.  You never concede-after all, WOLVERINES!

The problem with “reasonable” Republicans is they have no cred. If they could deliver 20 GOP votes in the House and/or 10 votes in the Senate, they probably would be the most influential force in Washington. The Democratic leadership would bow to their every need. However, all they want to do is to go to the cool parties in DC or NYC or LA and sell tote-bags for NPR. In a way, they’re worse than evil-

They’re Useless…