I'm not trying to become the next doomsday prophet, but as I read the newspaper over breakfast this morning I was certain that the apocalypse is near.
I agreed with David Brooks.
In today's New York Times, conservative columnist Brooks makes no secret of his frustration with the way Republicans are handling the debt and budget negotiations.
Basically, they don't know how to declare victory and move on.
As Brooks notes, GOP leaders have forced Democratic counterparts to:
- Tie budget cuts to the debt ceiling bill,
- Agree not to raise tax rates and
- Accept a roughly 3-to-1 rate of spending cuts to revenue increases.
That last point, says Brooks, is "an astonishing concession."
But rather than take such a win and move on, preventing the catastrophic consequences if the United States defaults, Republicans are demanding more.
Really? What the heck is wrong with you people? You're willing to let the country crash and burn rather than compromise?
It's the same question that Brooks ponders:
"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."
Unfortunately, no brains are what the ideologically fixated GOP apparently is using right now.
Again, Mr. Brooks:
"The members of this movement do not accept the logic of compromise, no matter how sweet the terms. If you ask them to raise taxes by an inch in order to cut government by a foot, they will say no. If you ask them to raise taxes by an inch to cut government by a yard, they will still say no."
Finally, he cuts to the chase: "The members of this movement have no sense of moral decency."
Thank you, David Brooks.
I only hope that the GOP leadership, which has taken a midterm election injection of extremists into their ranks way too seriously, will soon find their way back to sound governing and effective policies for the whole country.
I appreciate Brooks' argument that if they don't, Republicans will eventually pay the political price. But I don't think I and the country can wait that long.
- The closure of Minnesota, America's fiscal future in miniature?
- Tax cutting on Capitol Hill gets personal
- Democrats support tax fraud and waste;
Republicans hate middle-class workers
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