Posted by: Tony Carson | 24 November, 2009

David Brooks fails the stink test

NY Times Columnist David Brooks is losing it.

(Healthcare) Reform would make us a more decent society, but also a less vibrant one, writes Brooks in The Values Question.

It would ease the anxiety of millions at the cost of future growth. It would heal a wound in the social fabric while piling another expensive and untouchable promise on top of the many such promises we’ve already made. America would be a less youthful, ragged and unforgiving nation, and a more middle-aged, civilized and sedate one.

A moot point. The way the US goes about change, timid gradualism, usually means there is no change at all. In fact, real healthcare change would have chopped healthcare costs in half while providing better coverage for all — that would have been in line with the rest of the developed world. But never mind.

Brooks makes two other assertions in his column that simply don’t withstand the stink test.

“This is what happens as nations grow wealthier; they use money to buy civilization.” No, that is what used to happen … during the Renaissance. Now, money is used to buy money: 95% of the US economy is controlled by 2% of the people. That ain’t a civilization most people would agree on.

And …

“The unregulated market wants to direct capital to the productive and the young.” Yah? Though productivity of the American worker has increased manyfold in the past 20 years, their cost of living has accelerated while their quality of life has diminished. And the young? Look at child poverty rates, look at college tuition, look at the neglect of American youth carried in education and health stats and incarceration rates.

Pure and simply, unregulated markets inspire reckless rape and pillage for profit — that is the civilization that money is buying. Brooks should read his front page.

And, finally, Brooks is insulting, not just to intelligence but to foreigners.

Do countries with a much better heath care system than the US have population that are “less vibrant?”

He’s right about the Values Question. But it’s how a society values it actual people, not its humanoid economic units.

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