Tuesday, July 19, 2011


In the "I can't believe I missed this when it came out" deparment ...

If you don't like the budget proposal offered by the Democrats (not) then this article is for you. If you don't like the budget proposals offered by the Republicans then this article is for you. Either way, conservative columnist David Brooks is on to something as he takes it to both the Democrats and the Republicans.

But this is my favorite segment ...

The Republican growth agenda — tax cuts and nothing else — is stupefyingly boring, fiscally irresponsible and politically impossible. Gigantic tax cuts — if they were affordable — might boost overall growth, but they would do nothing to address the structural problems that are causing a working-class crisis.

Republican politicians don’t design policies to meet specific needs, or even to help their own working-class voters. They use policies as signaling devices — as ways to reassure the base that they are 100 percent orthodox and rigidly loyal. Republicans have taken a pragmatic policy proposal from 1980 and sanctified it as their core purity test for 2012.

As for the Democrats, they offer practically nothing. They acknowledge huge problems like wage stagnation and then offer... light rail! Solar panels! It was telling that the Democrats offered no budget this year, even though they are supposedly running the country. That’s because they too are trapped in a bygone era.

Mentally, they are living in the era of affluence, but, actually, they are living in the era of austerity. They still have these grand spending ideas, but there is no longer any money to pay for them and there won’t be for decades. Democrats dream New Deal dreams, propose nothing and try to win elections by making sure nobody ever touches Medicare.

Covering this upcoming election is like covering a competition between two Soviet refrigerator companies, cold-war relics offering products that never change.

Long story short? Our political system is broke, and our political Neros - from both sides of the political aisle - are fiddling while Rome burns.

I'll go along with that.

- Mark

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