That is the only conclusion that readers of David Brooks’ column could reach. After all, he tells us:
Today’s Republican Party unabashedly celebrates this ambition and definition of success. Speaker after speaker at the convention in Tampa, Fla., celebrated the striver, who started small, struggled hard, looked within and became wealthy. …
Republicans promised to get government out of the way. Reduce the burden of debt. Offer Americans an open field and a fair chance to let their ambition run.
He then adds:
On the one hand, you see the Republicans taking the initiative, offering rejuvenating reform. On the other hand, you see an exhausted Democratic Party, which says: We don’t have an agenda, but we really don’t like theirs. Given these options, the choice is pretty clear.
If Brooks was as old as he looks he would remember that back in 1980 Ronald Reagan promised to cut taxes and get government out of the way. However he must not be old enough to have been following politics way back then.
Of course if Brooks was as old as he looked, he certainly would be able to remember back to 2000, when George W. Bush promised to cut taxes and get government out of the way. However Brooks must not be old enough to have been following politics back in 2000 either.
If he were old enough to remember Reagan, or at least Bush, he would realize that Governor Romney and Representative Ryan are simply rehashing tired old rhetoric about individuals striving to succeed and how this benefits everyone. He would remember that we tried their route. The 1980s we had what was at the time the slowest decade of growth since the Great Depression, and the growth we had overwhelmingly went to those at the top. Workers in the middle and bottom of the distribution saw their wages stagnate.
We then went the same route in the last decade. This led to a completely lost decade for the economy, with the worst downturn since the Great Depression (which happened before President Obama took office).
While it is certainly fair to blame the Democrats for not being full of creative ideas, the reason that we are facing the economic disaster we now have is due to the fact that we followed the path that Romney and Ryan are now pushing. If Brooks were as old as he looks he could be blamed for having so little knowledge of the country’s recent political history, but this young man will just have to do a bit more homework so that he can recognize rehashed rhetoric and old tired ideas.
Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economy and Policy Research. He also writes a regular blog, Beat the Press, where this post original appeared