Conservative columnist David Brooks, the New York Times' chief over-the-counter muscle relaxant and civility enforcer, is finally getting upset with his political party as it prepares to plunge the nation into debt default for no real reason. Are you sure you want to do this, David? It's only a "D" credit rating that's looming on the horizon, after all.
Brooks just got back from last week's Aspen Ideas Festival, where Brooks and hundreds of other David Brooks clones jabber in a ski shack about social media and incentives, and then play dress-up. His two main takeaways appear to have been: (1) That old lady who wants to protect public education, Diane Ravitch, is a shrieking harpy, and (2) Republicans should probably accept that deal where they get $2 trillion in budget cuts in exchange for $400 billion in revenue increases, and also save the United States from collapsing financially on a stupid statutory technicality.
If the Republican Party were a normal party, it would take advantage of this amazing moment. It is being offered the deal of the century: trillions of dollars in spending cuts in exchange for a few hundred million dollars of revenue increases.
A normal Republican Party would seize the opportunity to put a long-term limit on the growth of government. It would seize the opportunity to put the country on a sound fiscal footing. It would seize the opportunity to do these things without putting any real crimp in economic growth.
The party is not being asked to raise marginal tax rates in a way that might pervert incentives. On the contrary, Republicans are merely being asked to close loopholes and eliminate tax expenditures that are themselves distortionary.
This, as I say, is the mother of all no-brainers.
No shit. So why won't Republicans accept this deal? Probably not because New York Times elite Republican David Brooks waited so long to point out how sweet it is. Instead, there are 17 days remaining until the Administration's imposed deadline for a debt-ceiling deal, which is 17 more days to wean concessions from the concession-friendly Democratic party.
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