David Brooks is desperately trying to sell austerity as creating the conditions for a restoration of traditional American values.
But Charles Pierce won’t let him get away with it:
He notices that poor people are having fewer babies, which makes him sad. But, things are looking up! People have stopped using their “bank-issued” credit cards as much. (These would be the cards they used so as to support the overstuffed suburban lifestyle that David Brooks so celebrated in his earlier, funnier work.) This means, to Brooks, “Quietly but decisively, Americans are trying to restore the moral norms that undergird our economic system.”
Jesus H. Christ in a fking Volvo, no, it doesn’t. It means people are broke. People are broke because the end product of 30 years of economic theorizing and political action that you supported has resulted in a shattered middle-class. People are broke because the Wall Street casino that your politics created and celebrated and enabled finally broke the entire country and took the rest of us down with it. People are broke because you and the rest of your “conservative” pals latched onto a crackpot scheme called supply-side economics, married it to a deregulatory frenzy and free trade, and then pitched it to the Bobos as economic liberty. You got rich. You got important. Now people are not using their credit cards because they can’t afford to buy the overpriced, Chinese-made crap that you once proposed as the new staple of American society. That is not a conscious mass moral choice. You’ve got to be on mushrooms to believe that.