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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press David Brooks Is Much Younger Than He Looks

David Brooks Is Much Younger Than He Looks

Thursday, 30 August 2012 21:46

That is the only conclusion that readers of David Brooks' column could reach. After all, he tells us:

"Today’s Republican Party unabashedly celebrates this ambition and definition of success. Speaker after speaker at the convention in Tampa, Fla., celebrated the striver, who started small, struggled hard, looked within and became wealthy. ...

Republicans promised to get government out of the way. Reduce the burden of debt. Offer Americans an open field and a fair chance to let their ambition run."

He then adds:

"On the one hand, you see the Republicans taking the initiative, offering rejuvenating reform. On the other hand, you see an exhausted Democratic Party, which says: We don’t have an agenda, but we really don’t like theirs. Given these options, the choice is pretty clear."

If Brooks was as old as he looks he would remember that back in 1980 Ronald Reagan promised to cut taxes and get government out of the way. However he must not be old enough to have been following politics way back then.

Of course if Brooks was as old as he looked, he certainly would be able to remember back to 2000, when George W. Bush promised to cut taxes and get government out of the way. However Brooks must not be old enough to have been following politics back in 2000 either.

If he were old enough to remember Reagan, or at least Bush, he would realize that Governor Romney and Representative Ryan are simply rehashing tired old rhetoric about individuals striving to succeed and how this benefits everyone. He would remember that we tried their route. The 1980s we had what was at the time the slowest decade of growth since the Great Depression, and the growth we had overwhelmingly went to those at the top. Workers in the middle and bottom of the distribution saw their wages stagnate.

We then went the same route in the last decade. This led to a completely lost decade for the economy, with the worst downturn since the Great Depression (which happened before President Obama took office).

While it is certainly fair to blame the Democrats for not being full of creative ideas, the reason that we are facing the economic disaster we now have is due to the fact that we followed the path that Romney and Ryan are now pushing. If Brooks were as old as he looks he could be blamed for having so little knowledge of the country's recent political history, but this young man will just have to do a bit more homework so that he can recognize rehashed rhetoric and old tired ideas. 


Comments (12)Add Comment
Thanks for Saving Trees
written by James, August 30, 2012 10:49
You have convinced me to cancel my subscription to WSJ, Bloomberg's Business Week, and other major newspapers despite my company pay for them.

Why kill more trees?
Democrats Have No Creative Ideas?
written by Paul, August 30, 2012 11:34
Democrats have plenty of ideas but the dirty little secret of DC which the media refuses to discuss is that Repubs have been sabotaging every idea that the Dems have put forward since January 20, 2009. Mitch McConnell told us they would do just that and he kept his word.
My Op/Ed Pages
written by Aaron, August 31, 2012 12:54
You remind me of that old song... how does it go again...

Oh yes.

My Op/Ed Pages

Left wing thoughts ran through my ears,
At university,
I couldn’t stand the hypocrites,
Like William F. Buckley,
Voodoo, greed and welfare queens,
Fritz would beat Reagan somehow,
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I’m younger than that now.

My half-baked thoughts were first put forth,
In college magazines,
Republicans saw black and white,
In color were my dreams,
Then William Buckley hired me,
To change his mind became my vow,
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I’m younger than that now.

Faces that formed my forward path,
Were of dead presidents,
My former left-wing politics,
Would never pay the rent,
But what’s the harm in selling out,
Truth will endure, somehow,
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I’m younger than that now.

The politicians that I serve,
Are flawed compared to me,
But as compared to you, they are,
Superior, immeasurably,
I dared to dis’ the Tea Party,
But got past that somehow,
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I’m younger than that now.

Hunched at my desk, I wrote my words,
My false dichotomies,
Allegiance to Republicans,
Just short of stenography,
Once sincere objectivity,
Mere cover for me now,
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I’m younger than that now.

My youth was full of abstract thoughts,
My ideas were brash,
But now that I’ve reached middle age,
I’m in it for the cash,
Truth or lie, I define these terms,
What was bad, now good somehow,
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I’m younger than that now.
written by zig_zac, August 31, 2012 1:20
"If Brooks were as old as he looks..."

That's just mean :)
Striver Myth Crowds Out Real Strivers Under Winner Take All Economy
written by Last Mover, August 31, 2012 6:53
Brooks and the tawdry motivational speakers at the GOP convention talk about striving towards upward mobility in the context of today's winner-take-all lottery economy instead of a competitive market for skills and performance that disappeared long ago.

Earn what you're worth by striving? Forget about it unless it's marginal differences within menial labor effort in the middle or lower class.

Instead follow the striver cheerleaders and earn what you can get by crowding out the real strivers who possess equivalent or superior skills and performance, based on who your parents were, who you know, who you can buy off politically, who has the most market power, your appearance and projection for not rocking the boat, and luck.

Crowding out the real strivers with economic policies specifically designed to enforce entry barriers and undermine competitive upward mobility explains much of todays ultra concentration of income, wealth and economic power at the top.

It is insulting and degrading be lectured by those who rose to the top on the backs of real strivers crowded out by no fault of their own, told that millions of "losers" in this sick economic game could make it to the top too if government would just get of the way.

As Baker has explained incessantly, we ended up this way in large part precisely because government was specifically put in the way to block real strivers in real free markets, so the counterfeit strivers could strut their way to the top then turn around and lecture the "losers" on how to be a winner too.
written by Pauley, August 31, 2012 9:33
The 80s and 00s; Mourning in America, indeed.
written by skeptonomist, August 31, 2012 10:19
It's important to recognize also that Republicans have never fulfilled their promises about reducing deficits or the size of government - all they have reduced is tax rates on rich people. If Republicans take power, concern about deficits will probably disappear from the media. All the "debate" about different "visions" assume that Republicans are serious about cutting entitlements, but this has never happened in previous Republican administrations and is unlikely in the future because that would lose votes.
written by PeonInChief, August 31, 2012 11:20
David Brooks rewrites history all the time. Perhaps we could use his stuff to teach high school students--it could be "find the errors."
written by Aaron, August 31, 2012 11:31
David Brooks doesn't make errors. He makes jokes.
The Republican Striver has been selected for success not failure.
written by John Wright, August 31, 2012 8:26
Business magazines and business books help encourage people to "strive and take risk", but seldom do they report on the many people that worked hard, took risks, and failed, as most of the failed people they mention are executives leaving with a golden parachute.

And has been noted by Nicholas Kristof, Sher Valenzuela, one of the Republican strivers featured at the convention, made use of SBA loans and non-compete government contracts to make her business successful.

Maybe crony capitalism is still capitalism to Republicans.

David Brooks Con Man
written by sherparick, September 02, 2012 12:14
And in every election since 1992 Brooks has called the the Republicans/Movement Conservatives the "Party of Reform" and the Democrats the party of "exhausted, without "New" ideas."

I feel so sorry for "Moral Hazard."
Brooks plays the jester.
written by Jack, September 05, 2012 4:07
There is nothing good to say about the stupidity that comes from David Brooks' key board. He is only regurgitating Republican talking points as he is paid to do. When in the past century did government put up hurdles for business people to jump over? Was that when people like Gates, Jobs, or any of the silicon entrepreneurs were building real products to the great benefit of their early investors? Or was it when people like Sanford Weil was cobbling together financial Armageddon and amassing his own personal fortune to the destruction of many others. Government has never been the obstacle to economic growth, but government has occasionally been the enabler for economic destroyers.

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.