Tuesday, July 05, 2011

David Brooks on House Republicans

Conservative columnist David Brooks wrote a piece yesterday criticizing House Republicans for failing to make a budget deal with House Democrats. I do not stay very informed about contemporary politics, but based on what I have been reading in the news, Brooks' column rings true:
But we can have no confidence that the Republicans will seize this opportunity. That’s because the Republican Party may no longer be a normal party. Over the past few years, it has been infected by a faction that is more of a psychological protest than a practical, governing alternative.

The members of this movement do not accept the logic of compromise, no matter how sweet the terms. If you ask them to raise taxes by an inch in order to cut government by a foot, they will say no. If you ask them to raise taxes by an inch to cut government by a yard, they will still say no.

The members of this movement do not accept the legitimacy of scholars and intellectual authorities. A thousand impartial experts may tell them that a default on the debt would have calamitous effects, far worse than raising tax revenues a bit. But the members of this movement refuse to believe it.

The members of this movement have no sense of moral decency. A nation makes a sacred pledge to pay the money back when it borrows money. But the members of this movement talk blandly of default and are willing to stain their nation’s honor.
Brooks' words are a damning indictment of the anti-tax ideology of the contemporary Republican party. I agree with Republicans that tax rates are too high, but as Brooks points out, there are a lot of other issues on the table, and the tax issue should not be viewed as a trump card or sine qua non of politics. It is unfortunate that the Republicans, who portray themselves as the party of fiscal responsibility, are not proving more effective stewards of the government's finances. I would consider voting for Republicans if they focused on effectively promoting personal freedom and sound economic policies, but they seem excessively focused on promoting militarism, moralizing crusades, and an extreme and economically unsound anti-tax ideology.
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