07.06.2011 2

The Mother of all No-Brainers: David Brooks Is Nuts

David Brooks, the faux conservative at the New York Times, penned a rather disturbing column on July 5th about the stance Republicans are taking on the debt ceiling debate that should be raising eyebrows everywhere for many reasons.

Here are a couple of items that Brooks got wrong.

First, Mr. Brooks believes that the nation made the decision to bankrupt the federal treasury. He is confused, as it was Congress and the President that can make those decisions. Brooks stated:

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.

The tea party and those that oppose higher levels of government spending have no sense of moral decency? Absurd. I don’t remember making any sort of ‘sacred pledge’ to pay back money that I did not spend. Congress made this mess, and now they must get their habit under control.

Would Mr. Brooks voluntarily give his paycheck back to his employer, the New York Times, if the paper dealt with financial mismanagement thus causing cash flow problems?

Second, Mr. Brooks believes that anyone who does not share his oppinion on economics, must follow some misinformed school of 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.

Clearly Mr. Brooks is unaware of the Austrian School of Economics. He can read all about it here. It is truly troubling that someone can have but one point of view and relegate all other points of view to second tier status.

Third, and probably the worst mistake that Mr. Brooks made, he made the same error that Obama made when bemoaning ATM’s as a cause of unemployment:

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.

Rising efficiencies in manufacturing are causing less people to be needed in that sector. Why is that a problem? Would Mr. Brooks rather people spend their lives working in factories?

Don Boudreaux at Cafe Hayek put this best:

I wonder if Brooks writes his columns, essays, and books using only a quill, parchment, and snailmail.  If he doesn’t use these inefficient means of production – that is, if he in fact uses computers, word-processing software, ink-jet printers, e-mail, and other modern techniques that increase his productivity (and, thus, that cause the amount of time that he and others spend producing punditicities to crater even as their output rises) – why does he bemoan increasing worker productivity in the manufacturing sector?

The mother of all no-brainers has been exposed in Mr. Brooks’s column, and that he is a novice when it comes to analyzing the debt ceiling debate.

On the lighter side, it looks like he made an error in the original article:

Correction: July 5, 2011

An earlier version of this column misstated the amount of revenue increases needed in exchange for spending cuts. It is a few hundred billion, not million.

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