The latest op-ed from David Brooks is entitled From Freedom to Authority and includes this spin:
In the 1970’s and 80’s, conservatives felt the primary threat was the overweening nanny state. Ronald Reagan tried to loosen the structures that restricted individual initiative and led to national sclerosis. He and Margaret Thatcher deregulated, privatized, cut tax rates in order to liberate entrepreneurs. The dominant formula was simple: less government equals more freedom. “Government is the problem,” Reagan declared, expressing the organizing conservative principle of the day. Times change. Now the chief problem is not sclerosis but disorder. The biggest threats come not from nanny states but from failed states and rogue states. There is less popular fear of bureaucrats possessing too much control than of ungoverned forces surging out of control: immigration, the federal debt, Iraqi sectarianism, Islamic radicalism, Chinese mercantilism, domestic rage and polarization.
Brad Setser quips:
Not quite sure the federal debt is an “ungoverned force”
Neither am I. I guess Mr. Brooks is too young to realize (or is it too dishonest to admit) that President Reagan’s tax cuts did not reduce the size of the government but did increase the Federal debt massively. George W. Bush CHOOSE to follow Reagan’s lead into a policy that would eventually lead to Federal bankruptcy if no future political leader had the courage to change course. We know President Clinton did have the courage to govern. Maybe what Mr. Brooks meant is that this current crop of Republican politicians fails to possess any governing force in the sense of being leaders with the courage to tell voters the truth. If so, I would hope Mr. Brooks cease making excuses for them and demands those that do.