Do these ruminations make sense: According to David Brooks, modern Republicans want to spend less on education—and they want to spend more on schools! See previous post.
To us, those complaints were clear as mud. As he continued, Brooks offered a bit of a road map. But did this really make sense?
BROOKS (6/15/12): The welfare model favors security over risk, comfort over effort, stability over innovation. Money that could go to schools and innovation must now go to pensions and health care. This model, which once offered insurance from the disasters inherent in capitalism, has now become a giant machine for redistributing money from the future to the elderly.To his credit, Brooks notes the fact that Romney’s proposals are “extremely vague.” But then, he lists three key proposals as if they make some sort of sense.
This is the source of Republican extremism: the conviction that the governing model is obsolete. It needs replacing.
Mitt Romney hasn’t put it this way. He wants to keep the focus on President Obama. But this worldview is implied in his (extremely vague) proposals. He would structurally reform the health care system, moving toward a more market-based system. He would simplify the tax code. He would reverse 30 years of education policy, decentralizing power and increasing parental choice. The intention is the same, to create a model that will spark an efficiency explosion, laying the groundwork for an economic revival.
Democrats have had trouble grasping the Republican diagnosis because they don’t have the same sense that the current model is collapsing around them...
Do you understand those three proposals? Frankly, we do not:
Romney “would structurally reform the health care system, moving toward a more market-based system?” Sorry. We just don’t know what that means.
Romney “would simplify the tax code?” This is so vague that it’s utterly meaningless. Everyone and his chief of staff wants to simply the tax code. After that, they want to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse.
For proposal three, we’re back to education and/or schools:
Romney “would reverse 30 years of education policy, decentralizing power and increasing parental choice?” This implies that there has been some sort of policy or policies in play for the past thirty years. Presumably, these policies haven’t worked well.
Do you know what those policies are? We have no idea.
That paragraph was supposed to explain “the Republican diagnosis.” But how many readers had any idea what Brooks was actually talking about?
Second question: At this point, how many readers even noticed that this paragraph didn’t make tons of sense?
We live in highly fictitious times. Have we perhaps abandoned the notion that statements are supposed to make sense?