Friday, February 20, 2009

With Respect to David Brooks

In previous posts I expressed my distaste for the hyperbole spewing out of the news media. Such was the case when I highlighted Rick Santelli's outrage about Obama's mortgage plan. His point: Why should responsible homeowners help their neighbors (he calls them "losers") who over-extended themselves and are now buried in debt? "This is America!" he screamed. Then made some odd reference to pre-Castro Cuba when people lived in mansions and drove nice cars.

Santelli joins thousands of voices from the left, right, center and far-out are passing judgment and wagging their fingers to everybody else. "Shame on you." "No, shame on YOU!"

Then, out of the echo chamber, comes a voice of moderation that people probably won't hear. That voice is David Brooks. He's the "conservative" member of the New York Times op-ed team, although he's too moderate to be considered conservative. He he stands on a foundation of morality that believes society thrives when government functions with an enlightened purpose. Government isn't the solution, but it has a moral obligation to become a safety net in hard times. So when our systems fail from their complexity, governments must fix the system if consumers and businesses can't. Sometimes that means helping out the schmucks who messed it up.

Check out his op-ed piece today titled, "Money for Idiots." Here's an excerpt:

"The nation’s economy is not just the sum of its individuals. It is an interwoven context that we all share. To stabilize that communal landscape, sometimes you have to shower money upon those who have been foolish or self-indulgent. The greedy idiots may be greedy idiots, but they are our countrymen. And at some level, we’re all in this together. If their lives don’t stabilize, then our lives don’t stabilize."

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