First, let me thank Rob, Dave, and Scott for asking me to guest blog and throw out a howdy to my fellow guest bloggers, Matt and Iocaste.
David Brooks is just a goddamn bozo. In today’s editorial, he argues that the standard of living in Europe is on the decline and is now equivalent to Arkansas. Yes, that’s right. Living in Vienna or Paris is now equivalent to residing in a trailer park in Conway or Jonesboro. Does he actually believe this shit? How is this standard of living measured by the way? Oh wait, he doesn’t say.
It is conceivably possible that the average European has as much disposable income as the average Arkansas resident (Arkansaian, Arkansawyer?). But does whoever has made this comparison consider all of those liberal ideas that Brooks derides for the European decline: “generous welfare measures, ample labor protections, highly progressive tax rates, single-payer health care systems, zoning restrictions to limit big retailers, and cradle-to-grave middle-class subsidies supporting everything from child care to pension security.”
So this is just like Arkansas, except with nearly free medical care, strong unions, high wages, progressive tax rates that allow for ample social services, urban planning, subsidized child care, decent unemployment insurance, and an old-age pension that will allow me to live in dignity in my last years. Yeah, that pretty much sums up Arkansas.
Did you hear that this is the first in a series of David Brooks columns where he compares Europe to Arkansas? The next one is about how all the classical conservatories have given up teaching Beethoven and Brahms and are now teaching fiddling and Jimmy Driftwood songs. After all, it fits their economic status much better.