David Brooks

The "Uncertainty" Canard
November 02, 2010

David Brooks endorses the idea that Democrats have erred by introducing "uncertainty" into the economy: Republicans need to offer reassurance. Businesses should be able to predict what their tax costs will be, what their health costs will be and what their regulatory burdens will be. This may be the single most vapid Republican talking point of the last two years. And yet it's been endorsed by moderate conservatives like Brooks and even elite outposts of the conventional wisdom. The parties do not differ over uncertainty. On taxes, Republicans want to keep the low Bush rates forever.

October 26, 2010

-- Ezra Klein disembowels refutes, through sole force of reason with no recourse to violence, metaphorical or otherwise, David Brooks. -- Haven't heard of Kevin McCarthy? Let Michelle Cottle introduce him to you. -- Kevin Drum picks "five political memes that deserve to die."

How Money Works In Congressional Elections
October 20, 2010

You’ll want to read John Sides on the David Brooks column about money in politics. As John says, Brooks is correct to say that people overrate the importance of money in elections--but John corrects him on the current debate over spending effects: “the major debate is not over whether money matters, it’s over the relative impact of incumbent and challenger spending.” The people who study this (and I’ll repeat John’s citation of Gary Jacobson) most definitely do believe that campaign spending matters--but not as much as some think. Why does money have only limited importance?

Gov't Pensions: Pay More Now, Pay Less Later
October 13, 2010

Say what you will about David Brooks,* but he knows how to get a policy discussion rolling. Yesterday was a case in point. He wrote a column about the fiscal crisis of states, focusing on the problem of public pensions. This prompted a torrent of responses from liberal bloggers, including two particularly smart ones from Ezra Klein.  In the first, Ezra runs the numbers to show that (a) yes, public pensions are a fiscal problem (b) they have contributed to state fiscal woes far less than plummeting revenues or exploding health care costs.

The Death of the Facts
October 04, 2010

The Battle: How the Fight Between FREE ENTERPRISE And BIG GOVERNMENT Will Shape America’s Future By Arthur C. Brooks (Basic Books, 174 pp., $23.95) If there is one dream of the Obama presidency that died a swift, merciless death with no hope of resuscitation, it was the hope that President Obama would usher in a new era of bipartisan technocracy. As the president explained over and over, he believed he was not imposing an ideological agenda but simply responding to problems. “I’m not interested in another old debate about big government versus small government,” he would say.

Krugman vs. Brooks (And Germany)
August 27, 2010

David Brooks today says there has been a "natural experiment" of the propostion that a bigger stimulus promotes economic growth. America had a big stimulus, Germany didn't, and now germany is growing faster: This divergence created a natural experiment. Who was right? The early returns suggest the Germans were. The American stimulus package was supposed to create a “summer of recovery,” according to Obama administration officials. Job growth was supposed to be surging at up to 500,000 a month. Instead, the U.S.

David Brooks Tries To Be Too Evenhanded
August 25, 2010

[Guest post by Isaac Chotiner] I am a little late coming to this, but yesterday's David Brooks column, which discussed our ability (or inability) to (in Orwell's words) face unpleasant facts, included the following: The ensuing mental flabbiness is most evident in politics. Many conservatives declare that Barack Obama is a Muslim because it feels so good to say so. Many liberals would never ask themselves why they were so wrong about the surge in Iraq while George Bush was so right. The question is too uncomfortable. Is Brooks really comparing these two things?

What Happened To American Exceptionalism?
July 24, 2010

David Brooks says the deficit should be reduced mainly through spending cuts: The international evidence shows that if you want to balance the budget, something like 66 percent to 80 percent of your effort should go into cutting spending and something like a third to a fifth should consist of tax increases. If you rely on tax increases too much, you end up messing up the incentives for people who save and invest. International evidence, huh? That's usually the liberals' tool.

Remember the Age
July 09, 2010

[Guest post by James Downie] David Brooks's latest science column takes on the great "Internet vs. Books" debate: The Internet-versus-books debate is conducted on the supposition that the medium is the message. But sometimes the medium is just the medium. What matters is the way people think about themselves while engaged in the two activities. A person who becomes a citizen of the literary world enters a hierarchical universe.

The Nonexistent Confidence Crisis
July 07, 2010

There's a frequent conservative refrain that businesses are hesitating to invest because the liberal Democratic agenda is introducing uncertainty about the future. For instance, David Brooks asserted yesterday: You can’t read models, but you do talk to entrepreneurs in Racine and Yakima. Higher deficits will make them more insecure and more risk-averse, not less. They’re afraid of a fiscal crisis. They’re afraid of future tax increases. They don’t believe government-stimulated growth is real and lasting. Maybe they are wrong to feel this way, but they do.