Why, it’s that towering achievement known as the Simpson-Bowles Commission.
You say you never heard of it? It was a December, 2010 report modestly titled “The Moment of Truth,” and it proposed various economic measures to get the United States out of its (2010, remember) unsustainable debt. Cut government programs, raise some taxes, cut some other taxes, permit the bureaucracy to slowly contract…you know the drill. Dead On Arrival here in Washington, DC.
Brooks knows that, but he’s got a remedy. It’s Marcuse’s, as luck would have it. Put the power in the hands of his friends, and crush those who disagree. He lets down his democratic mask just long enough for us to see the Marcusian dialectic at work:
The process of change would be unapologetically elitist. Gather small groups of the great and the good together to hammer out bipartisan reforms — on immigration, entitlement reform, a social mobility agenda, etc. — and then rally establishment opinion to browbeat the plans through.
What’s so great about that? For Brooks, like so many of his fellow self-proclaimed intellectuals, it’s great because the elite is himself and his friends, and the rest of us are just grist for the great browbeating mill.
He would do well to listen to the wisdom of my late grandmother, who came here from Russia. Grandma Mashe was a political whiz: “Best government, good czar. Worst government, bad czar. Many more bad czars than good czars.”
No thanks. I don’t greatly envy the citizens of China or Singapore, and I certainly don’t want to be ruled by the latest versions of Herbert Marcuse. Hell, they can’t even run a decent newspaper, let alone a great nation.