Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Culture War Dumbness

David "Schoolboy" Brooks outdoes himself today with a particularly desparate, silly piece blaming fears of immigration on college elites. Don't ask about the logic, which would be like looking for the Sermon on the Mount in a long dribble of uncooked batter. The basic idea is that working people don't have any real economic problems after 30 years of Republican rule that has seen zero real income growth for about 80% of the population - they just don't like the liberal cosmopolitanism of college-educated elites. The essay is an aggravating five-minute escape from any known reality here on Earth One, where Schoolboy's culture-warrior pals have been helping destroy the economic base of their beloved "regular folks" while telling them their real enemies are liberals who send money to save Darfur. Gaaah!

Schoolboy's New York Times pals wrote a good editorial on Monday that he obviously didn't read. The editorial reported that accoreding to a study by Frank Levy and Peter Temin, two MIT economists, the top 1 percent of Americans (average income, $1.1 million) took almost a quarter of the nations income, "their largest share since 1929." There's a connection between the Republican's happy inequality boom and the anger of Brooks' "nationalists," which someday may finally focus on the real cause - conservative economic policies that reward the destruction of jobs.

A better account of growing inequality appeared in the same paper on Sunday. "The orthodoxy surrounding income inequality is being undermined by research that looks at institutional issues: changes in the way the corporate world measures the performance of workers, the decline of unions, and government wage and tax policy." Doh!

And for a sad tale of the king of Clintonian economics, Larry Summers, now suprised by inequality, see a short Sunday Magazine piece. "I'm finding my way," Summers says about the effects of his own policies. Far better is an interview with the producer of "Entourage," Doug Ellin, with his jaundiced desire to exploit the dumbness of Beemer lust and related more expensive desires. He doesn't make the Schoolboy mistake of confusing the desire to be rich with a noble vision for a red-state America.

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