Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Brooks the Hack

I like David Brooks, but sometimes he's just a Republican shill. (The magazine I work for, The Washington Monthly, originated that argument here.) Take this op-ed today in the Times where Brooks rings the deathknell for social security reform. In his eyes, the GOP is generally concerned for the welfare of the American people, but simply rushed into reform before properly eulogizing one of the last safety nets of the welfare state. As Brooks says:
They didn't appreciate how beloved Social Security is, and how much they would have to show they love it, too, before voters would trust them to reform it.
David, David, they can't show how much they love Social Security, because they don't. We all know the famous Norquist quote about cutting off the legs of government so they can drown it in a bathtub. This has been the agenda since the Reagan Revolution: roll back the welfare state and then funnel the savings into tax incentives for big business.

What's even more perplexing is that Brooks can talk seriously about the GOP wanting to decrease the size of government when Bush has reigned over its largest expansion since LBJ. Moreover, Brooks sees Social Security reform as the last chance to cut some fat off the budget.
If Social Security reform fails - and obviously I hope this obit becomes obsolete - it will be many years before any sort of big entitlement reform will come up again. The parties will keep playing chicken, and we will soon find ourselves catastrophically buried under our own debt.
It's Brooks who's playing chicken here, failing to mention it was the Bush presidency that made fiscal surpluses run red. And for all those conservatives serious about fiscal reform, I have just four words for you: repeal Bush's tax cuts.