Saturday, November 15, 2008

David Brooks' False Choice

David Brooks, in his latest column, approvingly cited by Andrew Sullivan, offers this choice:

Is this country going to slide into progressive corporatism, a merger of corporate and federal power that will inevitably stifle competition, empower corporate and federal bureaucrats and protect entrenched interests? Or is the U.S. going to stick with its historic model: Helping workers weather the storms of a dynamic economy, but preserving the dynamism that is the core of the country’s success.
While I don't disagree that those are two of the choices available, I do disagree that anyone in the current debate is actually suggesting we take the latter of Brooks' options. In fact, the choice currently before us appears to be between Brooks' first option and doing nothing - leaving the workers to fend for themselves in an economy spiraling downward. As I e-mailed Andrew:
What we need is a comprehensive plan that lets the Big Three fail but protects their workers (and the workers from the related industries; and the workers affected by the possible depression) from the economic hurricane.
But it seems to me that what Brooks and Sullivan actually dislike about the bailout is not the "slide into progressive corporatism" but the additional spending. If that's the case, then they should say so, and then add "Let them eat cake."

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