David Brooks was upset. You can tell when this conservative and rather-professorial columnist for The New York Times gets upset, because his words almost sag with disappointment — you can practically hear the tsk-tsks and the heavy sighs in each paragraph. When most commentators on the right see things that offend them, they get snarling mad; Brooks gets sad.
What saddened Brother Brooks this time was Barack Obama’s budget. In a recent column, he noted that the $3.6 trillion total is “gargantuan” (we columnists are paid to make keen observations like that), but what really upset him was that the tax burden to finance universal health care, energy independence and other big initiatives in Obama’s budget “is predicated on a class divide.”
With heavy sighs, Brooks expressed great despair that “no new burdens will fall on 95 percent of the American people,” adding with a tsk-tsk that “all the costs will be borne by the rich and all benefits redistributed downward.”
Leaving aside the fact that such things as health-care coverage for every American and a booming green energy economy will benefit the rich as well as the rest of us, Brooks’ column was echoing a prevalent theme in all of the right’s attacks on Obama’s economic proposals: Class War! Indeed, the Times’ columnist even suggested (sadly) that Obama’s budget was fundamentally un-American: “The U.S. has never been a society riven by class resentment,” he sniffed.
Whoa, professor, get a grip! Better yet, get a good history book (Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States” would be an eye-opening place to start). While our schools, media and politicians rarely mention it, America’s history is replete with class rebellions against various moneyed elites who act as though they’re the top dogs and ordinary folks are just a bunch of fire hydrants.
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