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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

David Brooks, "The Progressive Shift": The Department of Labor Commissions a New $300 Million Statue

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "The Progressive Shift" (, David Brooks begins by referring to the bronze statue of a broad-shouldered young man seeking to control a powerful stallion, which is situated outside the Department of Labor in Washington. Brooks explains:

"This used to be a metaphor for liberalism. The horse was capitalism. The man was government, which was needed sometimes to restrain capitalism’s excesses.

Today, liberalism seems to have changed. Today, many progressives seem to believe that government is the horse, the source of growth, job creation and prosperity. Capitalism is just a feeding trough that government can use to fuel its expansion.

For an example of this new worldview, look at the budget produced by the Congressional Progressive Caucus last week. These Democrats try to boost economic growth with a gigantic $2.1 trillion increase in government spending — including a $450 billion public works initiative, a similar-size infrastructure program and $179 billion so states, too, can hire more government workers."

Brooks proceeds to question the wisdom of raising taxes on the rich, which will not prevent US debt from doubling over the next 30 years, and concludes:

"The progressive budget in the House seems to have been written by people hermetically sealed in the house of government. They work in government. They represent public-sector workers. They seem to have had little contact with private-sector job creators and no idea about what factors might play in their thinking. It’s a reminder that while Republicans may embarrass on a daily basis, many progressives have lost touch with what actually produces growth and prosperity."

Well, I would begin by noting that I disagree with Brooks's contention that "the economy is finally beginning to take off." Ask anyone over 50 years of age and unemployed whether she or he senses a sea change. As I have explained many times in this blog, the elimination of the Uptick Rule in 2007 has crippled US economic growth in the private sector and is allowing parasitic hedge funds to feed off naive investors (see: . Unemployment in the private sector can only drop marginally.

The expanding public sector? Working 9-to-5, punctuated by coffee breaks and interrupted by lengthy vacations, does not bring innovation and productivity. The US is following Europe into the abyss.

I would only add that Brooks apparently is unaware of the Obama administration's plans to tear down the statue outside the Department of Labor in Washington. Instead, notwithstanding the sequester, a new $300 million statue has been commissioned, which will depict a blind man with a cane attempting to lead a sway-backed donkey pulling in the opposite direction.

C'est tout.

1 comment:

  1. The statue isn't even in front of Labor; it is at the Federal Trade Commission, and it is called "Man Controlling Trade." Brooks doesn't even know where the Department of Labor is, apparently.