Tuesday, March 03, 2009

On moderation, budgets, and the work of government

I don't know who's been spiking Joe Klein's oatmeal these days, but he is almost starting to make me like him again:


David Brooks writes today as a moderate-conservative anguished by Barack Obama's budget. I've known David for almost twenty years now. We've had many wonderful conversations, publicly and privately, over those years, and I value the quality of his mind, his decency, his essential sanity. We both consider ourselves moderates, though of different sorts.

But I disagree with him profoundly about the Obama budget--and so, I would venture, do most moderate-liberals. The budget has to be seen in context. We are at the end of a 30-year period of radical conservatism, a period so right-wing that many of those now considered "liberals"--like, say, Barack Obama--would be seen as moderate pantywaists in the great sweep of modern political history. The past 30 years have been such a violent departure from the norm, such a profound destruction of the basic functions of government, that a major rectification is called for now--in rebalancing the system of taxation toward progressivity, in rebuilding the infrastructure of the country, not just physically, but also socially and intellectually.


Here's hoping the regressives in Congress and the media will not thwart the attempt to undo the havoc of the last few decades and allow us to make our system work again.

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