Monday, October 24, 2011

Party Like it's 1999

Last week, David Brooks wrote a column saying poor and unemployed Americans should suck it up and suffer in silence like dignified Americans did during the depression. I restrained myself from responding. I thought it might be better for my mental health to let it pass. However, that approach doesn't seem to be working for me, so here's the latest stupid thing from David Brooks.

Yesterday, he was on NPR, commenting on the Occupy Wall Street movement, Brooks said that the Tea Party represents 10-15% of Americans, whereas the OWS movement only represents 2-3% of Americans. How did David Brooks arrive at 2-3%? Was this estimate based on the latest scientific poll results? Of course not. This is David Brooks. He said the OWS movement represents 2-3% of Americans because Ralph Nader got 2-3% of the national vote. While that is hilarious, I am not joking, and neither was David Brooks.

First, it's assinine to suggest that 2-3% of votes was an accurate measure of support for Nader's anti-corporate views. Plenty of voters sympathetic to Nader's anti-corporate message voted for Gore rather than wasting their vote on Nader.

Second, that was 11 freaking years ago! Any OWS protester younger than 29 wasn't even eligible to vote in 2000.

Third, a few things have happened since then that might shift public opinion a bit. The Supreme Court intervened to rule in favor of George W. Bush, the candidate Brooks supported. We went to war in Afghanistan, which Brooks supported. We went to war in Iraq, which Brooks supported. We got deficit-financed tax cuts for the rich, which Brooks supported. We got a financial melt-down caused by lax banking rules, which Brooks supported. The banks were bailed out with taxpayer money, which Brooks supported. Meanwhile the banks/bankers have recovered nicely, unemployment is at it's highest level since the depression, real wages for the middle class have declined, and income inequality is in banana republic territory.

Other than that, it's all good. Americans just need to pipe down. According to Brooks, suffering is good for you, but only if you're poor.

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