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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

David Brooks, "The Epidemic of Worry": Rational Coulrophobia

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "The Epidemic of Worry," David Brooks informs us:

"The election campaign isn’t really about policy proposals, issue solutions or even hope. It’s led by two candidates who arouse gargantuan anxieties, fear and hatred in their opponents.

As a result, some mental health therapists are reporting that three-quarters of their patients are mentioning significant election-related anxiety. An American Psychological Association study found that more than half of all Americans are very or somewhat stressed by this race."

Of course, Brooks has a solution:

"[T]he answer to worry is the same as the answer to fear: direct action. If the next president starts enacting a slew of actual policies, then at least we can argue about concrete plans, rather than vague apocalyptic moods."

Yeah, right. I can't wait to see "a slew of actual policies" of the kind enacted by Obama, e.g., the Affordable Care Act (Who cares if US health care costs are to increase by 25 percent next year?) and the unsigned nuclear deal with the crazy mullahs (Who cares if Iran is now firing missiles at the US Navy and John Kerry is receiving a prize for this "achievement"?), and to start arguing about them.

However, more to the point, as observed by Paul Volcker and Peter Peterson in an October 21, 2016 New York Times op-ed entitled "Ignoring the Debt Problem":

"[T]he deficit has grown sharply this year, and will keep the national debt at about 75 percent of the gross domestic product, a ratio not seen since 1950, after the budget ballooned during World War II.

Long-term, that continued growth, driven by our tax and spending policies, will create the most significant fiscal challenge facing our country. The widely respected Congressional Budget Office has estimated that by midcentury our debt will rise to 140 percent of G.D.P., far above that in any previous era, even in times of war.

. . . .

Our current debt may be manageable at a time of unprecedentedly low interest rates. But if we let our debt grow, and interest rates normalize, the interest burden alone would choke our budget and squeeze out other essential spending. There would be no room for the infrastructure programs and the defense rebuilding that today have wide support.

It’s not just federal spending that would be squeezed. The projected rise in federal deficits would compete for funds in our capital markets and far outrun the private sector’s capacity to save, to finance industry and home purchases, and to invest abroad.

Instead, we’d be dependent on foreign investors’ acquiring most of our debt — making the government dependent on the 'kindness of strangers' [China?] who may not be so kind as the I.O.U.s mount up."

Indeed, America's debt is unsustainable, and neither candidate has provided answers to this problem.

Don't worry? In fact, Americans should be quaking in their boots. This is indeed an instance in which coulrophobia, the fear of clowns, i.e. Hillary and Donald, is entirely rational.

1 comment:

  1. The Democratic Party at Prayer

    The problem with the “Jewish Vote”

    Jonathan Bronitsky
    October 25, 2016
    Politics and law

    [David Brooks reveals his inner Tikkun Olam. The corollary is that American Jews will have to pay the national debt - surely there are a few missing emails that show that plan, filed under 'basket of neo-dhimmi taxes'...]