This Wednesday on PBS, we got treated to another dose of David Brooks and his fetishism for “centrism,” with Charlie Rose leading the way, asking Brooks for “five big ideas, five big, bold ideas that you would like to see debated in the upcoming presidential election, which will have consequences for who we are.”
His answer is anything but surprising given the column he wrote earlier in the week, which has been panned from so many people out there, it's hard to keep count, but Politico gave it a shot and so did Gawker.
First out of the box: tax “reform”, which of course is nothing but Republican double-speak for lowering rates on the highest earners and making the tax code less progressive under the guise of “fairness” and pretending Republicans will ever close any of the loopholes for corporations, which they won't.
Brooks' second “big idea” is doing something to fix the costs of Medicare, which Brooks claims that no one knows how to do, and then immediately proceeds to tout Paul Ryan's “premium support” which is Republican double-speak for privatizing it. Naturally Rose didn't point out that we could do something to control the costs, like putting everyone on it instead of pushing the sickest and most expensive patients onto the tax payers while the insurance companies get to line their pockets off of the rest of us. That conversation isn't allowed in our corporate media though, so they moved on after Brooks lied about how privatizing Medicare was going to contain the costs instead of admitting that it would just push the costs onto seniors instead. Brooks also said we could “try some things that are in 'Obamacare' too,” but of course he didn't elaborate on what any of those things are.
Brilliant idea number three ... “family policy is essential.” To which even Charlie Rose had to ask, “What does that mean?” This is where Brooks blames income disparity and a lack of eduction on women having babies out of wedlock.
BROOKS: Right now, we have forty-odd percentage points of kids in this country born out of wedlock. The effects of that on average, not for every kid born out of wedlock, but for, on average, the effects of that are so powerful that it means thirty years from now inequality will be worse than it is right now. The achievement gap will be worse than it is right now. These effects are just huge and I don't care what we do with charter schools and all the other good stuff. You will not be able to counteract that effect of family breakdown. […]
It involves some conservative sounding ideas, getting people to get married before they have kids, just a social norm, some liberal policies. You've got to make men marriageable by giving them incomes, earned income tax credit, wage subsidies, or else no one's going to want to marry a guy if he has no income. And so that's a left/right thing, which I really think Obama should have done.
“Obama should have done.” I'm not quite sure how David Brooks thinks President Obama could have forced all of those people out there having premarital sex and having babies out of wedlock to get married first, but that statement just about made my jaw drop.
I guess Charlie Rose doesn't read Brooks' column, because he didn't bother to ask him about the fact that he was just citing the exact same statistics to praise the writings of Charles Murry, who as Charles Pierce pointed out this week, “has dismissed black people as fundamentally uneducable.”
I'll let Pierce take it from here with his commentary on Brooks and his column where the same topic of out of wedlock babies came up — Our Mr. Brooks Finds Another Very Important Thinker:
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