Brooks Unloads on Republicans, Rep. Kingston Proves His Point

David Brooks today hammers the Republican Party for its wholly inadequate response to the Great Recession and to President Barack Obama's plans for economic recovery:

The Democratic response to the economic crisis has its problems, but let’s face it, the current Republican response is totally misguided. The House minority leader, John Boehner, has called for a federal spending freeze for the rest of the year. In other words, after a decade of profligacy, the Republicans have decided to demand a rigid fiscal straitjacket at the one moment in the past 70 years when it is completely inappropriate.
The G.O.P. leaders have adopted a posture that allows the Democrats to make all the proposals while all the Republicans can say is “no.” They’ve apparently decided that it’s easier to repeat the familiar talking points than actually think through a response to the extraordinary crisis at hand.

If the Republicans wanted to do the country some good, they’d embrace an entirely different approach.

If Republicans were to treat this like a genuine emergency, with initiative-grabbing approaches, they may not get their plans enacted, but voters would at least give them another look. Do I expect them to shift course in this manner? Not really.

Instead of offering reasonable policy choices, Republicans argue that we shouldn't do anything other than try to change a couple banking rules to restore lending. This, and many of Brooks' proposals, shows a deep misunderstanding about the causes of the Great Recession. There were fundamental problems in the American economy long before the financial meltdown, including the stagnation of wages and incomes for everyday Americans, despite strong productivity and GDP growth. This wage-productivity gap had never been seen before in American economics, and, unless policymakers move to create a 21st century economy, recovery will not come the way we'd like. This necessitates, unlike Brooks argues, bold action to restructure much of what was not working.

As an example of the backwards response that Republicans are exhibiting on the economy, enjoy U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston of Georgia on Morning Joe:

Honestly, I’m not sure which part of his argument is more ridiculous, that the President can't walk and chew gum at the same time or that E-verify is more important to economic recovery than building a 21st century economy.