David Brooks Offers Free Advice to Democrats; Worth Every Penny
By Lee Russ
Friday, January 27, 2006 at 06:28 PM
In his 1-26-06 NY Times column "Dollars & Sense," David Brooks continues his occasional efforts to inform the Democrats about what they're doing wrong. Brooks' advice is free, and worth every penny.
Mr. Insight offers two basic concepts:
"[L]iberals have adopted an overly negative view of reality" which leads them to think that more people are poorer than is really the case. In the course of this analysis, Brooks pooh-poohs the dangers of globalism and outsourcing, and proudly points out one economist's view that "only 19 percent of males and 27 percent of females are poor or working poor."
"There has been a tendency in Democratic circles to regard values as a sideshow that Republicans use to fool the working class into voting against its self-interest," which misses the point that voters "use value issues as stand-ins and figure the candidates they associate with traditional morality are also the ones with sensible economic policies."
Well, there are certainly a few things to be said about that.
Then there's the mountain of data released not long before the Brooks column which should have given him the idea that things just aren't that rosy economically. Three quick ones:
a. There's an American Research Group poll, taken January 19-22, 2006, showing that in January, 2006, a full 62% expected the national economy to be worse a year from now. 43% rated their personal household financial situation in January to be somewhere between bad and terrible. Even more telling, 51% said their personal household financial situation was getting worse.
b. There's the widely publicized report from a couple of weeks ago that, in 2005, 1 in every 53 households filed for personal bankruptcy. That's 2.04 million personal bankruptcies, out of about 108.2 million households. Sure, some of that was to beat the deadline for filing before the new bankruptcy law took effect. But 2004 saw about 1.56 million bankruptcies. Which is 1 out of every 69 households.
c. There's the report that the North Carolina House is "forming a study committee to attack the growing problem of home foreclosures in Charlotte and across the state."
Yeah, things are just churning along, David. Absolutely. Any fool can see that.
Then there's the Brooks take on values. If voters really do "use value issues as stand-ins and figure the candidates they associate with traditional morality are also the ones with sensible economic policies," then voters, frankly, aren't all that bright. And the endless propaganda from the right (say, Brooks didn't mention that) just might explain the ignorance. Remember the study which showed that Fox viewers were misinformed a lot more often, on a lot more issues, than viewers of other (read that as "real") news sources?
Whatever the reason for any belief that some voters may have that candidates with good morals also have good economic ideas, don't you think that this loony theory just might get punctured by the endless scandal train that is rapidly showing voters that candidates with good morals don't even have good morals?