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Brad Delong takes a jaded look at the: Department of "Huh?": In Which We Ask "Can David Brooks Succeed by Submitting Raw First Drafts? Or Will He Forget His Argument Three Paragraphs from the End?"

David Brooks advises Obama:

   

David Brooks: You are practical.... Too much debt could lead to national catastrophe. Too much austerity could lead to stagnation. Well, there’s a few short-term things you can do. First, extend unemployment insurance; that’s a foolish place to begin budget-balancing. Second, you need to mitigate the pain caused by the state governments that are slashing spending. You need a program modeled on Race to the Top. You will provide federal money now to states that pass responsible long-term budget plans...

And David Brooks advises Obama:

   

David Brooks: A Little Economic Realism: These Demand Siders have very high I.Q.’s, but they seem to be strangers to doubt and modesty. They have total faith in their models. But all schools of economic thought have taken their lumps over the past few years. Are you really willing to risk national insolvency on the basis of a model?... [M]any prize-festooned economists do not support another stimulus.... Are you sure your theorists are right and theirs are wrong? The Demand Siders don’t have a good explanation for the past two years.... The theorists have high I.Q.’s but don’t seem to know much psychology... debt-fueled government spending doesn’t increase confidence. It destroys it. Only 6 percent of Americans believe the last stimulus created jobs.... Consumers are recovering from a debt-fueled bubble and have a moral aversion to more debt. You can’t read models, but you do talk to entrepreneurs in Racine and Yakima. Higher deficits will make them more insecure and more risk-averse.... They’re afraid of a fiscal crisis. They’re afraid of future tax increases. They don’t believe government-stimulated growth is real and lasting... they are the ones who invest and hire, not the theorists. The Demand Siders are brilliant, but they write as if changing fiscal policy were as easy as adjusting the knob on your stove. In fact, it’s very hard to get money out the door and impossible to do it quickly. It’s hard to find worthwhile programs to pour money into. Once programs exist, it’s nearly impossible to kill them. Spending now creates debt forever and ever...

Did he have a long dark night of the soul that led to a complete ideological conversion? Was important new information about the structure of the economy brought to his attention? Did word come down from the Conintern demanding that he cease his line wobble?

Did his doctor change his meds--drastically?

Nope. None of the above.

The first quote starts four lines after the second ends.

• • • • •

A diary worth reading tonight: The Day We Won The Vietnam War.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Tue Jul 06, 2010 at 09:08 PM PDT.

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