« | »

Brooks Sees Cutting Spending As Abnormal

From where else but the opinion page of the New York Times:

The Mother of All No-Brainers

Published: July 4, 2011

The Republicans have changed American politics since they took control of the House of Representatives. They have put spending restraint and debt reduction at the top of the national agenda. They have sparked a discussion on entitlement reform. They have turned a bill to raise the debt limit into an opportunity to put the U.S. on a stable fiscal course.

And we have absolutely nothing to show for any of this. Even after one of the most historic election blow-outs in history.

Republican leaders have also proved to be effective negotiators. They have been tough and inflexible and forced the Democrats to come to them. The Democrats have agreed to tie budget cuts to the debt ceiling bill. They have agreed not to raise tax rates. They have agreed to a roughly 3-to-1 rate of spending cuts to revenue increases, an astonishing concession.

That Mr. Brooks would believe this promise after the Democrats’ long history of reneging on such promises (cf Ronald Reagan, Bush I, Bush II) is what is truly astonishing.

Moreover, many important Democrats are open to a truly large budget deal. President Obama has a strong incentive to reach a deal so he can campaign in 2012 as a moderate.

And any attempt to put the lie to this fantasy will be called ‘sabotage.’

The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, has talked about supporting a debt reduction measure of $3 trillion or even $4 trillion if the Republicans meet him part way.

Does anyone really believe anything coming from Mr. Reid? Is David Brooks really that naïve?

There are Democrats in the White House and elsewhere who would be willing to accept Medicare cuts if the Republicans would be willing to increase revenues.

If the Republican Party were a normal party, it would take advantage of this amazing moment. It is being offered the deal of the century: trillions of dollars in spending cuts in exchange for a few hundred million dollars of revenue increases.

What does Mr. Brooks know that the rest of us do not, including the New York Times? We have not seen any report anywhere of trillions of dollars in spending cuts from Mr. Reid or anyone else. (From our research, the most Reid has ever mentioned is $2 trillion, way back in May.)

The most we have heard about is $1 trillion, which we gather will come mostly ($800 billion) from defense.

A normal Republican Party would seize the opportunity to put a long-term limit on the growth of government. It would seize the opportunity to put the country on a sound fiscal footing. It would seize the opportunity to do these things without putting any real crimp in economic growth.

Is Mr. Brooks suggesting that the current Republican Party is not "normal"? Come to think of it, maybe he is correct. The GOP is normally the doormat for the Democrat Party. Which is how the country has gotten to where we our today.

So maybe the Republicans should try acting abnormal for a while.

The party is not being asked to raise marginal tax rates in a way that might pervert incentives. On the contrary, Republicans are merely being asked to close loopholes and eliminate tax expenditures that are themselves distortionary.

This, as I say, is the mother of all no-brainers.

Mr. Brooks would seem to be the father of all no-brainees. Any kind of increase of government revenue – no matter what it is called – will take money out of the private sector and grow government. Which will hurt the economy.

This is not rocket surgery.

But we can have no confidence that the Republicans will seize this opportunity. That’s because the Republican Party may no longer be a normal party. Over the past few years, it has been infected by a faction that is more of a psychological protest than a practical, governing alternative.

In other words, the desire to cut government spending, to reduce the size of government – is a form of mental illness. And The Times pretends that Mr. Brooks is a conservative. It really is to laugh.

The members of this movement do not accept the logic of compromise, no matter how sweet the terms. If you ask them to raise taxes by an inch in order to cut government by a foot, they will say no. If you ask them to raise taxes by an inch to cut government by a yard, they will still say no.

Can this great sage, this modern day Solon, cite even one example from American history where government spending has ever reduced due to tax increases? We’ll wait.

The members of this movement do not accept the legitimacy of scholars and intellectual authorities. A thousand impartial experts may tell them that a default on the debt would have calamitous effects, far worse than raising tax revenues a bit. But the members of this movement refuse to believe it.

The members of this movement have no sense of moral decency. A nation makes a sacred pledge to pay the money back when it borrows money. But the members of this movement talk blandly of default and are willing to stain their nation’s honor.

We don’t believe the consensus on global warming, either. By the way, Mr. Obama and the vast majority of the Democrat Party voted against raising the debt limit the last time it came up under President Bush.

Apparently they were irrational and dishonorable then, too. Funny Mr. Brooks never mentioned it, though.

The members of this movement have no economic theory worthy of the name. Economists have identified many factors that contribute to economic growth, ranging from the productivity of the work force to the share of private savings that is available for private investment. Tax levels matter, but they are far from the only or even the most important factor.

Yes, ‘economists’ like Austan Goolsbee and Nancy Pelosi have even cited unemployment benefits as the best engine for economic growth. Apparently, ‘economists’ will say anything – even that we are out of the recession.

But to members of this movement, tax levels are everything. Members of this tendency have taken a small piece of economic policy and turned it into a sacred fixation. They are willing to cut education and research to preserve tax expenditures. Manufacturing employment is cratering even as output rises, but members of this movement somehow believe such problems can be addressed so long as they continue to worship their idol.

Meanwhile, has there ever been a problem in the history of our country which the Democrats have not tried to solve through higher taxes? They have even tried to solve the (fictitious) problem of man-made global warming through higher taxes. But, you see, they are not fixated.

But let a movement come along that says that we Americans are ‘taxed enough already’ and all hell breaks loose. At least at the offices of the New York Times.

Over the past week, Democrats have stopped making concessions. They are coming to the conclusion that if the Republicans are fanatics then they better be fanatics, too.

Again, Mr. Brooks is supposed to be a conservative. In fact, it would seem that he does not even dwell in the same universe as the rest of us.

The struggles of the next few weeks are about what sort of party the G.O.P. is — a normal conservative party or an odd protest movement that has separated itself from normal governance, the normal rules of evidence and the ancient habits of our nation.

If Mr. Brook is normal, we would prefer to be abnormal, thank you.

If the debt ceiling talks fail, independents voters will see that Democrats were willing to compromise but Republicans were not. If responsible Republicans don’t take control, independents will conclude that Republican fanaticism caused this default. They will conclude that Republicans are not fit to govern.

And they will be right.

Honest question: was there ever a time when Mr. Brooks at least pretended to be a Republican, let alone a conservative? He’s never made enough of an impression upon us for us to be able to recall.

And to think there are people who claim that the New York Times doesn’t have a ‘comics’ section.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, July 5th, 2011. Comments are currently closed.

10 Responses to “Brooks Sees Cutting Spending As Abnormal”

  1. untrainable says:

    If the debt ceiling talks fail, independents voters will see that Democrats were willing to compromise but Republicans were not.
    And there can be no greater sign of competence in today’s political arena than being unwilling to compromise with democrats. Those independents should be running for the NON-democrat just to get away from the uninformed and race baited vote thay made in the last presidential election.

    The debt “ceiling” is a joke. When in the history of the debt ceiling has there ever been a vote to raise it that didn’t eventually raise it? Unless Repubs remain steadfast in their convictions and force MAJOR spending cuts (not this 1 trillion over 15 years crap) without “revenue increases” (dem code for “tax the shite out of ’em”) this is just another political show. Who gets the benefit of favorable “optics” in this debate? We’ll see.

  2. Georgfelis says:

    Talk about projection. The Democrats have invested themselves heart and soul into the concept that it will take tax increases to get us out of this problem. They have dug in their heels and say every day on every news channel they can, that they want to raise taxes on “Those Other Guys”

    Their problem is the vast majority of taxpayers know that TOG is US.

    Liberals are darned determined to drive their own party to extinction. Our job is to get out of the way, and wave.

  3. Papa Louie says:

    “A nation makes a sacred pledge to pay the money back when it borrows money.”

    Where was Mr. Brooks when the Obama administration voided the debts of Government Motors to its bond holders and transferred much of the company’s assets from those holding legal claim to a union with no claim at all? Why was there no concern about a “sacred pledge” to pay back debt when the government took over GM? And what about the sacred pledge our country’s leaders have made to defend and uphold the constitution? Why does that sacred pledge not concern Mr. Brooks?

    “Democrats were willing to compromise but Republicans were not”

    Would you compromise between food and poison? Would you compromise with leaches sucking blood from your body? Then why would you compromise between actions that would heal this country and those that would destroy it? What compromise between liberty and slavery would satisfy Mr. Brooks and his fellow progressives?

  4. Rusty Shackleford says:

    “This is not rocket surgery.”

    Nor is it brain science. Spend money, money supply diminishes. Save money, money supply increases. Providingt that flow rate remains constant. But to a democrat, when the well runs dry, their answer has always been to open the spigot more and when that doesn’t work, steal your neighbors’ water.

  5. canary says:

    David Brooks is a dummy.

    Americans are spending less because they are spending more to survive.
    Anyone notice “Waste Water”
    charge on their utility bills? According to the EPA this is a charge to find volunteers to look for water.
    This is not required, but cities are doing it to get more money when the the majority in this country do not have watering holes, ponds, puddles, or pools.
    Just google EPA and water and you will be amazed and new plans are ready to come out. They want to cap people’s ponds. They want to take your puddle and make it bigger.

    I said I said this land grabbing through ICLEI Agenda 21 Romeny supports as counting pools, and small watering holes on acreages must be preserved as “wet lands”, I meant it. They take the puddle on your property and make it bigger.

    Also google EPA watersheds and find the closest one to you.

    Waste water, water sheds, such deceptive terms. Read even the most liberal Mayor Bloomberg and other mayors are angry at water costing billions now thanks to the EPA. That is why some states didn’t want federal stimulus money for water or irrigation. The strings attached end up costing a fortune.

  6. David says:

    Again this stooge is using Obama’s “tax expenditures” phrase. Mark Levin did a great job of dismantling this double speak. The only people who make “tax expenditures” are the people and companies that fork over millions for tax compliance to a ridiculously complicated tax code. The government COLLECTS money from taxes. The only way that a tax expenditure makes sense is if you start with the view that the government owns all of your income and ‘graciously’ allows you to have a part. Then they would have the right to determine how much you get of it.

  7. P. Aaron says:

    R=abnormal. Whereas the D=klansmen, communists, socialists, pro-Arab terrorists, anti-Israel, abortion on demand, same sex marriage, trans-gender logic, and flag burning. And that’s normal?

    • Right of the People says:

      It’s the Slimes version of “normal”.

      As far as compromise, I’ve said it before the Dimocraps idea of compromise is; You give me what I want.

  8. proreason says:

    Brooks has a good gig, doesn’t he? What’s his salary? certainly his total comp is $500K+

    Is there another job in the universe he could do? Could he take orders at McDonalds?

  9. The New American Revolution says:

    Disband the Federal Government. (One way or the other) Use the constitution to start over. Our founders would be ashamed to see what they fought and died for being run into the ground by ALL parties. If they saw what we would become would they even have fought for us? The Founders revolted because of a 2% tax increase read that again a 2% tax increase, yet we consistently get molested at airports (soon all transportation types, yay) and have our rights violated by the government that is supposed to be protecting them. Revolt soon or we will lose this great country all together. I love this country and would rather fight and die than let it pillage my children. A new American Revolution is coming the question is will it be our children fighting it or will we finally put down the Xbox controller and take control of our government one way or the other.

    That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government – Excerpt from the preamble from The Declaration of Independence

« Front Page | To Top
« | »