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Brooks’ Economic “Tale”, Wagged by His GOP Dog

Reading David Brooks’ on economics and fiscal stimulus plans is about as helpful as reading George Bush on the power of positive thinking. Both are non sequiturs: neither understands their subject. Brooks is basically saying that Democrats should have more vision, direction and restraint than the profligate Republicans they replace.

That’s true, if not much of a goal. Brooks rarely demanded such things from his fellow Republicans. When he did, he couched his criticism in such praise that it was a formality. Most of the money bills passed during Bush’s endless GWOT were designed to channel as much public money into as few private hands, with as little benefit to the public welfare, as possible.

The Democrats’ stimulus bill that Brooks critiques is a hodge podge meant to address dire circumstances. It could easily be improved were there the political will to think bigger and make harder choices, and were there an admission that the GOP wants Obama’s efforts to fail. Going after “centrist” Congressional GOP votes is like clapping with one hand. Brooks, however, seems rather proud of his double standard, showing newfound respect for Congress’ budget office and newfound disdain for pork:

He’s going to have to prove the hard way that he meant what he said about being pragmatic and evidence-based. That means he won’t sweep a C.B.O. study under the rug simply because the findings are inconvenient.

He’s going to have to show that his plans have credibility, that a stimulus bill is really a stimulus bill, and not a Christmas tree for every special interest desire.

Brooks has long admitted his ignorance of economic matters, an unusual admission of truth. But like Limbaugh and Beck, it doesn’t stop him from saying too much about too little. It also means that in such columns he’s probably regurgitating RNC talking points, paid for by the owners and subscribers of the NY Times at about $30,000 a week or $15,000 a column. If the Times wants suggestions about how to cut costs, I have one.

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