Reprinted from Campaign For America's Future
The New York Times' David Brooks writes today in "The Working Nation": "Western economies delivered broad and growing prosperity for the middle class. This nurtured a general faith in political institutions and culminated in the democratic triumphalism of the 1990s." But now government is not delivering, he writes. The result, he says, is that the middle class is hollowing out, earnings are stagnant, there is not enough work, people are left without purpose, morale and faith in government and institutions has plummeted.
"The labor force participation rate is at its lowest in decades. Millions are in part-time or low-wage jobs that don't come close to fulfilling their capacities. Millions more are in dysfunctional or unhealthy workplaces, but they don't feel they can leave because they don't think there are other jobs out there that pay the same amount."
So far so good...
Oh My God!
Then Brooks lays out his prescription to fix the problem and the only possible reaction is, "Oh my God!"
It begins with this stunning statement: "The country is palpably in the middle of some sort of emotional recession. Yet over the past five years, the political class has done essentially nothing."
The "political class?" And then he writes this:
"There's a completely obvious agenda to create more middle-class, satisfying jobs. The federal government should borrow money at current interest rates to build infrastructure, including better bus networks so workers can get to distant jobs. The fact that the federal government has not passed major infrastructure legislation is mind-boggling, considering how much support there is from both parties."
"Both parties" support maintaining our infrastructure? Oh my God! It was the strategy of the Republican party to block exactly this so they could campaign on a theme of "Obama's failed policies"! And for decades it has been the strategy of the conservative movement to make government fail and thereby turn people against government. They are succeeding; the success worries Brooks, so he points his finger at ... "the political class."
Oh my God! Brooks is not witnessing a failure of "the political class" to act, he is describing the success of conservatives and the Republican Party in shaping the current election environment using obstruction and demoralization as a strategy.
In every downturn since the Great Depression, our government has responded by boosting spending for infrastructure, schools and other public goods. The Bush administration responded to the slowing economy with a 2008 "stimulus." But then, except for the 2009 "stimulus" that was successful at reversing the death spiral of our economy -- nothing. Everything since has been blocked.
President Obama has been running around the country pleading with Republicans to please let us maintain our infrastructure. Again and again, Republicans have filibustered or otherwise blocked exactly this.