Friday, October 16, 2009

Beck and Brooks Agree: The Party is Over

Though he would be loathe to admit it, David Brooks agrees with Glenn Beck. Consider the opening of his op-ed today, Brooks writes:
That which can’t continue doesn’t. A nation can spend and spend, pile debt upon debt, but eventually there comes a reality moment when some leader emerges to say enough is enough and when decent people, looking around at themselves and their own best nature, respond by demanding a return to responsibility.
Now consider the portion of the Glenn Beck show yesterday the left is having a bit of fun laughing at:

Yes, Beck gets emotional here and takes a long route to get to the point our politicians have been behaving as though they are teenagers at a party they know they shouldn't attend.  If they would follow parental wisdom and come home and admit the truth, take responsibility for their actions whether that is merely attending the party or partying like drunken sailors, we'll get through this.

Of course none of that is easy and as adults we know admitting fault is only a portion of the battle.  The hard part is what Beck alludes to when he says it will stink when we take the consequences, staying home on Saturday night because we are financially grounded.  Lo and behold this is the exact message in Brooks op-ed, though Brooks alludes to the party that has taken place across the pond in the UK and the moment of reckoning the Conservative Party has seized:
In the United States, we’re not at that moment yet. Private debt is being replaced by public debt. New entitlements are being created, and the money that could be used to ward off fiscal disaster is being used for other things. Here, Democrats still get ahead by promising tax cuts for the bottom 98 percent and Republicans get ahead by promising tax cuts for all and Medicare cuts for none.

But Britain has hit its reality moment. The Brits are ahead of us when it comes to public indebtedness and national irresponsibility. Spending has been out of control for longer and in a more sustained way.

But in that country, the climate of opinion has turned. There, voters are ready for a politician willing to face reality.
Brooks outlines the tough choices have been successfully selling the British public including pay freezes for the public sector, cutting a popular but ineffective baby bond program and opposing tax cuts the country cannot realistically offset with spending cuts or would not produce growth.  Here the Democrats propose adding a VAT and play shell games to fund a massive new entitlement program in the name of reform.  But as Brooks notes, the Brits have already shown the error of this path:
But Britain has discredited the center-left agenda with its unrelenting public spending, its public development agencies and disappointing public-private investment partnerships.
The Brits have begun to face the consequences and made the hard choices that their financial grounding makes necessary.  Are we there yet?  The left is in denial, thinking they can have their massive entitlement and deal with the impending fiscal crisis later or leave it to a GOP controlled House to sort out.   In short, they believe they can get away with staying at the party longer and try to sneak home hoping they aren't caught.  Recent polls suggest the public is suspicious of  that route.  Both Beck and Brooks are correct though, the day of reckoning is coming and it is only a matter of time before the public is completely receptive to facing the truth.  In the mean time Beck and Brooks appear to be preparing their respective audiences for the inevitable consequences we will face when we realize we are out of beer, the party is over.

H/T: Memeorandum

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