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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press Why Did David Brooks' Pro-Growth Heros All Support the Policies that Gave Us the Economic Crisis?

Why Did David Brooks' Pro-Growth Heros All Support the Policies that Gave Us the Economic Crisis?

Tuesday, 27 July 2010 04:39
I'm just asking. By the way, what measure is he using that shows that the United States has declining human capital? All the data with which I am familiar shows the workforce is getting more educated through time.
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written by izzatzo, July 27, 2010 6:26
George Will smugly quoted Milton Friedman in a speech the other day about a foreign government bragging on its labor intensive jobs program using all shovels and no heavy equipment, to which Friedman replied famously, why not use spoons.

The fixation on supply rather than demand as the problem, including factors like human capital, is better reflected in an earthquake metaphor where hundreds are killed and thousands are left with nothing but the clothes on their backs.

No one starts lecturing earthquake victims about why their living structures should have been stronger for the long run. It doesn't make any difference for the short run what they're given to recover between spoons or shovels. They have no choice but to accept either, but in any case more human capital is useless for the task at hand.

David Brooks, George Will, et al, are effectively lecturing the unemployed that they cannot be like the Pentagon, bankers and privileged others shielded from the deep recession, digging up holes and filling them back up again with spoons or anything else, to justify billions going down ratholes with total immunity from lack of aggregate demand.

In "free markets", the socialized risk of a recession is shifted onto the masses as the privileged few carry on to pursue privatized gains for whom many indeed have about as much productivity of a spoon. Who needs a stimulus under these conditions.
written by skeptonomist, July 27, 2010 9:12
The U.S. is not losing manufacturing to other countries because our workforce is not sufficiently educated, it is because the workers of those other countries are willing to work for much less than ours, whatever the state of education, and U.S. capitalists have been allowed to take advantage of this for their own benefit. The Marie Antoinettes of the right like Brooks have been pretending that if only U.S. workers were sufficiently educated they could all get jobs in the finance industry, i.e. become capitalists themselves. Sorry, the defining attribute of a capitalist is the possession of money, not education.
written by fuller schmidt, July 27, 2010 9:49
Brooks thought he was right, so that was good enough for him. He is afterall a Big Swinging Alpha Male.

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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.