David Brooks tries putting lipstick on a pig

In his latest column, David Brooks comes off (to me, anyway) as trying to buff up the previous piece he wrote. In that one, he argued that yeah, the economy is a terrible mess, but so what? There’s no point in our government trying to help people, so it should focus on cutting the deficit, cutting taxes on the rich, cutting Social Security.
The new piece argues that this is not simply heartless or in line with Brooks own Deep Thoughts on how we should manage the economy, it’s——moral. Because Americans don’t want government to do anything, polls have proven it! No, they want to restore the traditional “economic values” like hard work bringing rewards, people not getting rewards they haven’t earned and working loyally for one company long-term rather than changing jobs on a regular basis.
As to the polls, they may be accurate, but I don’t recall Brooks ever advocating government-by-poll when public opinion ran against him. And as The Daily Howler notes, polls don’t mean the public is accurately informed; as the site notes (at the link), when Anderson Cooper can refer to “the 47 percent of Americans who pay no taxes” in a Republican debate question, what else can you expect (because that statement is total bull).
As Echidne points out, it wasn’t America’s workers who decided loyalty was for suckers. Companies have been telling us since the 1980s that nobody should expect a job for life, corporations will not value loyalty over the bottom line, and then proving it with outsourcing and downsizing. Under the circumstances, why would employees stay loyal? Yet Brooks writes as if this decision were entirely of the workers’ doing, and as if it represented some hideous moral failing——tell me, why exactly would it be wrong to leave one job for a better offer?
Echidne also notes that while Brooks advocates re-establishing the link between productive work and gain, he doesn’t suggest how this is going to happen in a world where execs and stock brokers pocket millions regardless of performance and where demands that change are to be frowned upon. How exactly are workers going to re-establish that link if bosses don’t play along? The answer: Well, Brooks doesn’t have one, but that link thing clearly tells us government shouldn’t do anything about the current economy, so that settles it (of course, cutting taxes on the rich and raising them on the poor is fine with Brooks, so I guess he doesn’t see that as contrary to the work-reward relationship).
National Review’s Jonah Goldberg, however, is even more amusing than Brooks, recycling the hoariest of right-wing cliches——they’re all Communists! And this proves that while some foolish people pretend the Communist Conspiracy is gone, they’re lurking among us, plotting, and Democrats don’t object (it’s straight out of Screen Enemies of the American Way!).
Actual quotes of Communist intentions, beliefs, acts cited? None.
Like some of the commenters at the link, I can’t help thinking that this is a tactic that’s outlived it’s sell date. People who become legal to drink this year weren’t even two years old when the USSR collapsed; I’m not sure there are even that many people in the Republican base who react to cries of Communism.
But it’s not like the right-wing has anything new to replace it, so why not?

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14 Comments

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14 responses to “David Brooks tries putting lipstick on a pig

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