From the rarified halls of the New York Times, David Brooks encourages us to Relax, We’ll Be Fine, since
The United States already measures at the top or close to the top of nearly every global measure of economic competitiveness.
Jennifer Rubin read Brooks’s article and points out that America Is Not on Autopilot, and that
the political culture – and the policy choices it produces – can retard or shut off the very trends and phenomena that Brooks praises. Immigration could be choked off — as it was in previous eras of economic uncertainty. That economic dynamism that Brooks touts is not impervious to the regulatory, tax, and legal framework that political elites produce. In fact, it is the enormous uptick in debt, the growth of the public sector, the tax hikes, and the financial micromanagement that the Obama administration is pushing that threaten to make America a less productive, less dynamic, and less wealthy nation. That “decentralized community-building” that Brooks likes can be subverted by an overreaching federal government that seeks to regulate everything from the type of health insurance we must buy to the emissions that the local electric company can put out to the sorts of infrastructure projects that are funded.
In sum, the American social and economic culture that has produced tremendous wealth, upward mobility, and opportunity can be eroded by foolish policies. Similarly, our national security — which is a prerequisite for that blissful domestic environment — can be imperiled by a reckless approach that ignores looming threats, imagines our foes share common values, and alienates allies.
Perhaps Brooks was listening to Bobby McFerrin while writing his article, though,