Do Republican Tea Party sympathizers “have no sense of moral decency”? That suggestion comes not from conservative-loathing New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, but the paper’s chief “conservative” columnist David Brooks on Tuesday, “The Mother Of All No-Brainers.”
While omitting the phrase “Tea Party,” Brooks claimed a “faction” of the Republican Party was more interested in “psychological protest than a practical, governing alternative.”
The party is not being asked to raise marginal tax rates in a way that might pervert incentives. On the contrary, Republicans are merely being asked to close loopholes and eliminate tax expenditures that are themselves distortionary.
This, as I say, is the mother of all no-brainers.
The members of this movement do not accept the legitimacy of scholars and intellectual authorities. A thousand impartial experts may tell them that a default on the debt would have calamitous effects, far worse than raising tax revenues a bit. But the members of this movement refuse to believe it.
The members of this movement have no sense of moral decency. A nation makes a sacred pledge to pay the money back when it borrows money. But the members of this movement talk blandly of default and are willing to stain their nation’s honor.
Reid Epstein at Politico rounded up some conservative reaction to Brooks's missive, including this post from thr Washington Examiner's Tim Carney, who argued that Brooks "undermines his entire argument with his false premise. In fact, no Democrats are offering entitlement cuts in exchange for eliminating tax credits."