Monday, August 3, 2009

Ross Douthat Does It Again: His Very Messy Analysis Blames Liberal Policies for Failing Economies

Ross Douthat argues in a New York Times column that President Obama should follow the Texas model, and abandon "liberal" economic policies. According to Douthat, conservative Texas is thriving, while liberal California is failing. Ergo liberalism is bad, while conservatism is good. Wow, if life really operated so simplistically, we could take a perpetual vacation from thinking.

Ezra Klein has obliterated Douthat's utterly sloppy analysis in a Washington Post column. Earlier this year, I went after a similar assault on California and liberalism. See: Has the Left Destroyed California? Um, No! Last month, Douthat published another sci-fi column in the New York Times, which provoked a substantial response from Dissenting Justice. See: Racial Exhaustion in the New York Times. Thanks, Klein for disposing of Douthat's recent article and for allowing me to take a break.


Nate Silver of 538.Com also makes good points.

Princeton economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman makes the absolutely obvious -- but ignored -- point that Texas is not the only red state and that other red states are experiencing painful economic decline.

And over at The Atlantic, Derek Thompson demonstrates the cost of the Texas-style economy. The state ranks last or near the bottom with respect to many important measures of social health. While Douthat would likely argue that these are costly liberal policies, the majority of Americans support public education and medical care for indigent children. On these issues, Texas is indeed another country.

Update II

Zandar Versus the Stupid (great blog title) makes this interesting (and brutally sarcastic - just the way I like it) contribution to the discussion: Blind Squirrel Still Unable To Locate Nuts.


Nell said...

For as long as I've been reading it, the New York Times has had its token conservative op-ed columnist. Ross Douthat makes me long for the days when William Safire held that position. Even Bill Kristol was an improvement over Douthat (I can't believe I just wrote that!).

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Part of me believes that the NYT picked Douthat in order to doom conservatism.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Hutchinson: "Part of me believes that the NYT picked Douthat in order to doom conservatism."

That's why I enjoy reading DJ. No matter how dark it is for liberals these days, having to struggle along with huge majorities in Congress, the whole mass of The One's program jammed with the prospects somewhat, no more, dubious, you whistle merrily every time. I've noticed the whistling getting louder, no doubt because it's getting darker by the day. But continue, sir, continue. I don't doubt you'll be getting a great deal of practice in whistling, and by 2012, will be able to do Chopin's Funeral March in one breath...
Let's try a more objective yardstick: The Associated Press publishes an Economic Stress Index of all the counties in all fifty states. The color of the map it provides is instructive. Texas looks considerably better than California does. But better still, the map shows the regions of states that are hard hit, viz the Central Valley of California compared to the coast. Douthat's start red v. blue states thesis is shaky, but the AP map gives it at least some support. Best of all, the AP map is current, not using 2007-2008 statistics as that juiceboxer Klein used to blast Ross.

Want to bet what the map will look like in a year, again comparing California to Texas? California is down for the count. The green zanies are murdering agriculture by choking off water, which will keep the Central Valley in Cheyne-Stokes breathing. State tax rates, combined with The One's federal dose, will approach 57%. That's bound to help California recover. The only bright spot is that the illegal immigration to California will not only stop, but reverse, at least until The One crams a forced amnesty down our throats. It's his only hope of reelection. That's a long branch to march out on in August 2009, but I do so, whistling Sousa. Try him some time. You'll feel better for it.

I'm trying to imagine Nell applauding the arrival of William Safire at the New York TIMES in March 1973. Can't do it. All I can imagine are shrieks of horror at That Conservative Who Worked For Nixon polluting TIMES readers's minds. Safire is merely a convenient stick for Nell to beat Ross with. To be sure, Ross deserves said beating for grabbing hold of that sinking ship. Not for Ross a memoir in 2040 titled ON THE MAKE: THE RISE AND RISE AND RISE AND RISE AND RISE OF A MEDIA SUPERSTAR.

Ten years from now, Nell will be beating the resident righty of the government owned TIMES, saying what a disgrace he is compared to the days of Ross...

Sincerely yours,
Gregory Koster

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