At last, someone has answered New York Times columnist David Brooks’ call for a budget-reform plan that acknowledges that
than addressing the national debt.
, Brooks writes, is “bold”; it “will be the starting point for future discussions” about the size and scope of government.
Facing the Ryan budget, Brooks writes, Democrats “will not be serious players.” Unlike Ryan, the Democrats are not willing to tell the truth about the implications of their own budget priorities. “They have no credible plans,” Brooks writes.
What does a credible budget plan look like, David Brooks? Well, being credible doesn’t mean there aren’t “grave weaknesses”:
As presently configured, it is unacceptable to moderate voters and stands no chance of passage. Substantively, it does not address the structural problems plaguing the American economy: wage stagnation, inequality, declining growth rates. It doesn’t have an answer to rising health care costs. Nor does it leave room for future policy creativity; there’s no money to allow future generations to rise to unforeseen challenges.
So this blueprint for America’s fiscal future is “unacceptable” to the people whose votes would be necessary to support it, and it ignores structural economic problems, and it doesn’t control health-care costs. And it is useless in an emergency. And but this is the case
Oh, and Brooks also thinks the tax revenue targets are too low, as a share of GDP. And he doesn’t support Ryan’s plan to cut funds for education and research and “other investments in human capital.” And its approach to Medicare is “immoral” (because it pays old people too much for health care).
That’s all OK. The Ryan proposal “has moved us off Unreality Island,” Brooks writes. Provided, that is, that you ignore the fact that it won’t work and the fact that no one will vote for it.