The Economy, The Recovery and The Day After Tomorrow

New York Times columnist, David Brooks, Wrote brilliant piece on Tuesday. He writes:

…the story Republicans are telling each other, … is an oversimplified version of American history, with dangerous implications.

The piece goes on to point out,

Throughout American history, there have been leaders who regarded government like fire — a useful tool when used judiciously and a dangerous menace when it gets out of control. They didn’t build their political philosophy on whether government was big or not. Government is a means, not an end. They built their philosophy on making America virtuous, dynamic and great. They supported government action when it furthered those ends and opposed it when it didn’t.

If the current Republican Party regards every new bit of government action as a step on the road to serfdom, then the party will be taking this long, mainstream American tradition and exiling it from the G.O.P.

That will be a political tragedy. There are millions of voters who, while alarmed by the Democrats’ lavish spending, still look to government to play some positive role. They fled the G.O.P. after the government shutdown of 1995, and they would do so again.

It would be a fiscal tragedy. Over the next decade there will have to be spending cuts and tax increases. If Republicans decide that even the smallest tax increases put us on the road to serfdom, then there will never be a deal, and the country will careen toward bankruptcy.

It would also be a policy tragedy. Republicans are right to oppose the current concentration of power in Washington. But once that is halted, America faces a series of problems that can’t be addressed simply by getting government out of the way.

The social fabric is fraying. Human capital is being squandered. Society is segmenting. The labor markets are ill. Wages are lagging. Inequality is increasing. The nation is overconsuming and underinnovating. China and India are surging. Not all of these challenges can be addressed by the spontaneous healing powers of the market.

Most important, it would be an intellectual tragedy. Conservatism is supposed to be nonideological and context-driven. If all government action is automatically dismissed as quasi socialist, then there is no need to think. A pall of dogmatism will settle over the right.

Republicans are riding a wave of revulsion about what is happening in Washington. But it is also time to start talking about the day after tomorrow, after the centralizing forces are thwarted. I hope that as Arthur Brooks and Paul Ryan lead a resurgent conservatism, they’ll think about the limited-but-energetic government tradition, which stands between Barry Goldwater and François Mitterrand, but at the heart of the American experience.

Read the whole thing here.

Advertisements
    • Kevin
    • September 16th, 2010

    Unfortunately, the NY Times is not a trusted source for reliable information anymore. They have become an extremely liberal left wing propaganda tool, inflating poll numbers and skewing stories for the benefit of the left.

    Yes, some of their content can be correct at times, but it should be taken with a grain of salt. Just as CNN’s slogan “the most trusted name in news” is incorrect, (a Pew Research Study actually showed that they are not) the NY Times is similarly losing trust of the common citizen due to it’s inflated stories.

  1. What you said above can be said of and is said of every news organization out there and I agree with you that the times is left leaning. They also do some fine reporting. I would encourage you not to write off anyone simply because of where they are publishing. Brooks is a very conservative guy. He happens to write for the NY times.

    Additionally, I would encourage to read you new broadly. every day i click over to realclearpolitics.com and read a variety of columns for a number of places. I often read a piece on the same issue in a number of papers. I work my way right to left starting with the national review and depending who the author is ending up at slate or the nation. My point is to be best informed you need to read both sides of an issue. I am very afraid of the sound of one hand clapping. God has given us brains to think with and we must look at all sides to come to truth. in the case of the truth it is usual some where between the views of the national review and slate.

    In regard to this particular piece by Brooks, I think he nailed it on the head. the tea part movement is not a long term solution to the complex problems facing the nation. also I find there ambivalence of social issues such as abortion troubling.
    T
    he best encapsulation of my view on the November election is seen below in an interview with conservative columnist David frum:

    SIEGEL: The phrase, which is now attached to your analysis, is this wasn’t the Democrats’ Waterloo. This, as you would see it, this disaster that befell the Republicans in Congress, this was the Republicans’ Waterloo.

    Mr. FRUM: This was the Republicans because the Republicans decided that this would be the all-or-nothing place to fight to break the Obama presidency. Instead, it made the Obama presidency.

    We, as conservative intellectuals, should not be in the business of making excuses for bad parliamentary decisions by Republican leaders in Congress.

    SIEGEL: What do you say to the conservative political observer, who says, look, the polls show this bill is unpopular. They have polls, which show that, and therefore, this is what is going to deliver the House of Representatives to the Republican Party. Blue Dog Democrats in heavily Republican districts will be defeated because they voted for this health care bill.

    Mr. FRUM: I would say: You are wrong, and so what? Let’s say the Republicans do take back the House of Representatives. Let’s say they take back the whole Congress. They’re not going to be able to repeal this bill. This bill is a permanent change in American life, and it is a bill of enormous magnitude.

    I forget how often the House of Representatives has changed hands since 1965, but Medicare is still there. This bill is forever, and that is I think what is wrong with a lot of the way people talk about this. They would say this is Hitler, this is murdering grandmother, this is the end of constitutional republic in the United States, but we will accept it in exchange for picking up a few seats in November. That strikes me as a very wrong way to think.

    Also, I think what Republicans are going to discover is the economy is recovering. They’re going to discover that the bill is front-loaded with goodies that people are going to like. It is not going to be as unpopular in October and November as it was before it was enacted.

    Simply put health care is not getting repealed even if the GOP wins in November. A policy of saying No is really no policy at all. anyone can get made at the expansion of government and obama’s inability to change the economy, what I want to know is what is the G.O.P. going to do about it.

    And as Brooks points out the policy of no more spending. period is wrongheaded and to support such a reactionary policy may bring short term gains it will lose the long game. I want to win the long game. were I have smaller government and recovered economy and I do not think either party offers a way to win the long game this fall. the dems have shown me in their record of governance in the last two years. The GOP has shown me in their tea party rhetoric. In regard to the GOP, Again I quote brooks:

    Throughout American history, there have been leaders who regarded government like fire — a useful tool when used judiciously and a dangerous menace when it gets out of control. They didn’t build their political philosophy on whether government was big or not. Government is a means, not an end. They built their philosophy on making America virtuous, dynamic and great. They supported government action when it furthered those ends and opposed it when it didn’t.

    If the current Republican Party regards every new bit of government action as a step on the road to serfdom, then the party will be taking this long, mainstream American tradition and exiling it from the G.O.P.

    There are millions of voters who, while alarmed by the Democrats’ lavish spending, still look to government to play some positive role. They fled the G.O.P. after the government shutdown of 1995, and they would do so again.

    It would be a fiscal tragedy. Over the next decade there will have to be spending cuts and tax increases. If Republicans decide that even the smallest tax increases put us on the road to serfdom, then there will never be a deal, and the country will careen toward bankruptcy.

    It would also be a policy tragedy. Republicans are right to oppose the current concentration of power in Washington. But once that is halted, America faces a series of problems that can’t be addressed simply by getting government out of the way.

    The social fabric is fraying. Human capital is being squandered. Society is segmenting. The labor markets are ill. Wages are lagging. Inequality is increasing. The nation is overconsuming and underinnovating. China and India are surging. Not all of these challenges can be addressed by the spontaneous healing powers of the market.

    Most important, it would be an intellectual tragedy. Conservatism is supposed to be nonideological and context-driven. If all government action is automatically dismissed as quasi socialist, then there is no need to think. A pall of dogmatism will settle over the right.

    Republicans are riding a wave of revulsion about what is happening in Washington. But it is also time to start talking about the day after tomorrow, after the centralizing forces are thwarted. I hope that as Arthur Brooks and Paul Ryan lead a resurgent conservatism, they’ll think about the limited-but-energetic government tradition, which stands between Barry Goldwater and François Mitterrand, but at the heart of the American experience.

    If you want to see where I land on most issues I would send you over david frum’s blog, http://www.frumforum.com/ really good stuff.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: