He doesn't mention David Brooks, of course, but Paul Krugman clearly is directing his column today at his fellow Times man.
Brooks' column last Friday was a thinly disguised version of the right wing theme "We've tried spending money on cities and it didn't help/liberal policies have failed/it's really values." The current rec'd diary by Egoberto shows how Chuck Todd tried to spread this, and how Martin O'Malley responded effectively.
Brooks' column on Friday echoed Todd. It was classic Brooks -- dishonest figures accompanied by an attempt to wedge in some ill-defined comment about values. And Brooks gets to repeat it, without debunking on PBS Newshour, NPR and every other place they let him get away with spouting lies.
You know that this theme has gone out from right wing central because you saw it everywhere, including on Bill Maher, where Dan ("I lost $10 billion dollars in cash in Iraq!") Senor wasted no time in turning Maher's first question about money wasted in Iraq into a non-response that somehow spouted the party line about all the money spent and the supposed failure of liberal urban policies.
Krugman began responding even before Brooks' Friday column in his own column on Friday, but more directly responded today, going up to the line, without naming Brooks:
It has been disheartening to see some commentators still writing as if poverty were simply a matter of values, as if the poor just mysteriously make bad choices and all would be well if they adopted middle-class values. Maybe, just maybe, that was a sustainable argument four decades ago, but at this point it should be obvious that middle-class values only flourish in an economy that offers middle-class jobs.Brooks proudly states he doesn't read the comments to his columns. I'll bet he doesn't read Krugman either. The shrill one continues:
it’s also disheartening to see commentators still purveying another debunked myth, that we’ve spent vast sums fighting poverty to no avail (because of values, you see.)There is a growing cottage industry of Brooksologists, and the CEO is Driftglass, who has brought to light a growing archive of Brooks dishonesty, disguised right wing propaganda and as he calls "Strategic forgettery." His piece on Friday, The Church of Lyin'tology, begins,
In reality, federal spending on means-tested programs other than Medicaid has fluctuated between 1 and 2 percent of G.D.P. for decades, going up in recessions and down in recoveries. That’s not a lot of money — it’s far less than other advanced countries spend — and not all of it goes to families below the poverty line.
David Brooks decided International Worker's Day would be an excellent day to tell the world what really causes poverty (Spoiler: According to Mr. Brooks, poverty has nothing to do with lack of money, or community investment, or jobs. It's not deindustrialization or food deserts or shitty schools. It's nothing to do with class or race or a war on drugs that long ago became a brand new way of ruining minority lives and communities.)Driftglass then provides links to a cascade of Brooks debunking, ranging from Ed Kilgore at Washington Monthly to Dean Baker at CEPR. Baker writes:
In the United States it's considered fine to just make crap up when talking about the government, especially when it comes to programs for poor people. That is why Ronald Reagan ran around the country telling people about the welfare queen who drove up to the welfare office every month in her new Cadillac to pick up her check. Today, David Brooks does the welfare queen routine in his NYT columnThe deference and respect given to Brooks needs constant debunking. How many times have you seen his columns forwarded or posted to Facebook or Twitter (often by liberals) with the note: "I usually disagree with David Brooks, but . . ." These are usually his "philosophical" pieces -- which themselves often border on plagiarism. He is not the "reasonable conservative," but the slick packager of noxious ideas dredged out of the worst of the Reagan archives. Unlike us, Krugman can call it out, but not by name.