David Brooks Has No Brain

Photoshop via Doug Ross

New York Times columnist David Brooks is a “conservative” that only a liberal could love.  First, he writes for the left’s favorite newspaper.  Second, he appears on PBS and NPR quite frequently.  And third, he bashes conservatives and Republicans every chance that he gets, often while employing logical fallacies, advancing myths as facts, and making stuff up.  I’m surprised The Huffington Post hasn’t scooped him up yet.

In his most recent column, stupidly titled “The Mother of All No-Brainers,” Brooks suggests, as Jamie Weinstein puts it, that “the Republican Party is no longer a normal party and that the Democratic Party has been more serious in the recent negotiations over raising the debt ceiling.”  David Brooks, it seems, is a no-brainer.

Any honest observer would flatly disagree with Mr. Brooks’ assertion.  Is it not the Democrat party that has fear-mongered on this issue, by suggesting that the global economy would collapse if the debt ceiling wasn’t raised months ago?  So, has that happened yet?  Have we all died because Republicans in Congress are demanding budget cuts?

Of course not, and anyone who has actually studied this issue knows that the various deadlines created by Treasury Secretary Tim “The Tax Cheat” Geithner were artificial and not based on any economic reality.  The federal government will not default on its debt because tax revenue is greater than the interest payments on the debt.  Even if the debt ceiling isn’t raised, the U.S. Government will still be able to pay its creditors.

However, this does not mean that the debt ceiling should not be raised.  I have studied this issue, and after hearing many perspectives, I have concluded that not raising the debt ceiling would be catastrophic to the nation.

But so would raising the debt ceiling without a significant plan to reduce out of control spending.  So far, Democrats have resisted substantive cuts to government spending and are instead telling seniors that Republicans want to throw them off of cliffs.  How responsible of them!

Getting back to David Brooks, his column is filled with nothing but drivel.  It’s almost like he asked his NY Times colleague Maureen Dowd to write it for him.

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.

In this paragraph, Mr. Brooks tells a half truth.  Yes, Democrats have agreed not to raise tax rates, but they have been clear in insisting on eliminating “spending in the tax code,” which is code for eliminating so-called loopholes and deductions, instituting a de facto tax increase on millions of Americans in the midst of the worst Democrat-created economic slump since FDR’s New Deal.  That’s not such a great idea.  I’m all for eliminating complications in the tax code, but only as part of a larger reform of the entire federal revenue system.

The Democrat position on “loopholes” is fueled by good politics, not good policy.  Soaking the rich riles up the great unwashed masses who rely on food stamps and welfare to survive, but it will only condemn these unfortunate souls to a lifetime of government dependence.  Have you seen the job creation figures lately?  The productive class has gone on strike.  Why work hard and create new jobs when the government wants to take an ever greater share of the fruits of your labor away?

Also, when Mr. Brooks claims that Democrats have agreed to spending cuts, know that these are miniscule at best and conditional on “revenue increases,” aka tax hikes.  If Republicans don’t stand up to the Democrat bullies now, what precedent does that set for later tax fights?  The President has made it clear that he wants to raise marginal income tax rates for millions of families and small businesses, the engines of job creation.  Republicans must stand up to the class warfare tactics of the Democrats, now and in the future.

You see, Mr. Brooks doesn’t care about that, because he isn’t a real conservative.  If you don’t believe me, check out this part of his editorial:

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. 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. 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.

Yes, that’s right, Harry Reid has “talked about” a possible budget deal.  That must mean a deal is imminent, since we can always take Senator Reid at his word.  Keep in mind, this is the guy who defended government funding for a cowboy poetry festival.  He’s also the same Democrat leader who failed to produce a budget the last time around and has called attempts to produce one this time”foolish.”

But according to Brooks, Democrats are willing to deal!  They will agree to Medicare cuts!  We can take them at their word too, don’t you think?

By the way, since when was anyone talking about “cutting” Medicare?  Republicans want to reform it and make it sustainable.  Democrats, on the other hand, support the status quo and consider Republican reforms draconian.  Democrats agreeing to Republican reform proposals?  I’ll believe it when I see it.

David Brooks, having more faith in Democrats (because he secretly, or not so secretly, is one), goes on to say the GOP “may no longer be a normal party.”  This feeds into the left wing meme that the GOP is becoming a “cult,” as has been suggested by Washington Post writer Richard Cohen.

And further into his piece (of crap), Brooks smear Republicans and the Tea Party with a series of ad hominem attacks masked as intellectual analysis:

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.

You see, Republicans aren’t logical.

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.

Republicans aren’t very smart.

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.

Republicans are immoral and unpatriotic!

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 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.

Sorry Mr. Brooks, but it is the Democrats who are unfit to govern.  They have driven America into the fiscal ditch with nearly a trillion dollars of wasteful spending on a so-called stimulus that cost nearly $278,000 per job saved or created.  These are the same Democrats who have called for a second stimulus, as if one wasn’t enough of a waste.

They have refused to issue any budget proposal or Medicare reform plan, yet had the time to crush the economy under a mountain of new regulations from Obamacare, so-called financial reform, and every other legislative monstrosity they could force down Americans’ throats.

Meanwhile, we are still far away from a real default.  Republicans are holding out for a better deal, waiting out the Democrats who will likely cave to GOP demands.  President Obama knows that he must compromise with Congressional Republicans to credibly portray himself as a moderate for this reelection campaign.  As much as Obama is committed to his left wing ideology, he is more committed to keeping his job.

Anyone reading David Brooks’ column will conclude that his anti-Republican fanaticism caused him to distort the truth to make Republicans look bad.

And they will be right.

About Josh Kaib

Josh Kaib, a junior at American University, is President of AU College Republicans.
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