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Taibbi writes: "Here's a guy lucky enough to have a job in a fantasy-land business where people hurl money at him round the clock for a few hours of work a day, who somehow finds the time to work himself into creepily genuine anger towards a group of people who have to fight to get jobs cleaning toilets or working fry-o-lators."

New York Times columnist  David Brooks. (photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)
New York Times columnist  David Brooks. (photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)



David Brooks Wonders Why Men Can't Find Jobs

By Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone

17 July 13

 

rom a David Brooks column in The New York Times this morning:

In 1954, 96 percent of American men between 25 and 54 years old worked. Today, 80 percent do. One-fifth of men in their prime working ages are out of the labor force.

Brooks' point piece turns out to be a popular column topic among conservative writers: Why aren't people working? The twist in this one is that it's a gender-based thesis. Brooks got hold of some stats showing that men are having more trouble recovering the jobs lost in the recent recession than women. He cites a Floyd Norris column from this weekend, "Gender Gaps Appear as Employment Recovers From Recession," which provides all the relevant numbers.

Norris's piece actually offered a simple explanation for the gender gap. The jobs that are coming back, he says, are in the health care sector, where women hold four out of every five jobs. In fact, if you read Norris's piece carefully, you learn that women are actually losing ground in non-health-care related industries like manufacturing and financial services, that men are getting jobs back in those fields at a better rate than women. But, again, there's been more recovery in the health care sector for whatever reason, hence the stats.

Brooks takes all this data and decides that the real issue here is that men are not adaptable and can't bring themselves to make the changes needed to find work. He weaves an elaborate analogy involving the John Wayne movie The Seachers, which I guess is about the end of the cowboy era and how the rugged, violent men who tamed the West had trouble fitting in to the cushy, civilized world they helped create. (What David Brooks knows about any of this is anyone's guess). Brooks writes about Wayne's Ethan Edwards character as the hero who has made himself obsolete. "Once the western towns have been pacified," he notes, "there's no need for his capacity for violence, nor his righteous fury."

There's a famous scene in the film where Edwards brings an abducted girl home after a seven-year quest but, being the obsolete brute that he is, is unable to cross the threshold into her civilized home upon his return. To Brooks, this somehow is a metaphor for the men of modern times, who are unable to "cross the threshold into the new economy."

Anyone who's ever been unemployed knows that statistics like the ones Norris cites have everything to do with what kinds of jobs are available, and very little to do with the willingness of the population to work. Pretty much everyone who doesn't have a job will do just about anything short of organ donation to get a job. If you've got kids and you can't make rent, nobody needs to help you cross any freaking threshold into any new age. If it doesn't involve sucking on someone else's body parts, you'll do it.

Not according to Brooks, who thinks there's another explanation:

But, surely, there has been some ineffable shift in the definition of dignity. Many men were raised with a certain image of male dignity, which emphasized autonomy, reticence, ruggedness, invulnerability and the competitive virtues. Now, thanks to a communications economy, they find themselves in a world that values expressiveness, interpersonal ease, vulnerability and the cooperative virtues.
Surely, part of the situation is that many men simply do not want to put themselves in positions they find humiliating. A high school student doesn't want to persist in a school where he feels looked down on. A guy in his 50s doesn't want to find work in a place where he'll be told what to do by savvy young things.

Hmm. Men don't want to be put in positions they find humiliating? How many men out there today are working as telemarketers? As collections agents? How many grown men are working in fast-food restaurants, getting yelled at by people like Brooks when they put the wrong McNugget sauce in the take-out bag?

And as for those 50-year-olds not wanting to work in a place where he'll be told what to do by savvy young things – it's the other way around. Usually, the savvy young things are turning down the older guy. If Brooks thinks there are 50-year-old men out there with families, people maybe facing foreclosure, who turn down jobs because they don't want to take orders from "savvy young things," he's crazy. All jobs involve taking humiliating orders from bosses and everyone who's ever had a job knows that. If you need a job badly enough, you'll take a job offered by Hermann Goering, Hannibal Lecter, Naomi Campbell, anyone.

It's not just Brooks. These days you can't throw a rock without hitting some muddle-headed affluent white dude who spends his nights stroking his multiple chins and pondering the question of the lazy poor, convinced as he is that there are plenty of jobs and the problem is that prideful or uncommitted or historically anachronistic (that's Brooks' take) folks just won't suck it up and take them.

Earlier this year, for instance, when Yale and Penn started suing their graduates for failing to pay back their student loans, Bloomberg asked a Cato Institute fellow named Neal McCluskey for comment. He replied:

You could take a job at Subway or wherever to pay the bills and that's something you need to do if you have agreed in taking a loan to pay it back . . . It seems like basic responsibility to me.

First of all, if you need to take a job at Subway after getting a degree from Yale, that's pathetic and 100 percent on Yale, not on the kid who mortgaged his future to pay for a Yale education. Secondly, it's pretty obvious Neal McCluskey has never tried to live on a Subway salary. He should probably give that a shot and see how much money is left over at the end of every month to pay off his Perkins loan. He'd be hooking in Union Station within a month.

It's amazing how many educated people really believe that the unemployed just don't like to work. I remember seeing Jon Voight, of all people, reading one of his infamous letters on Mike Huckabee's show, talking about the "very poor and needy, who live to be taken care of," who have been fed "poison" by our president, giving them the idea that they're "entitled to take from the wealthy, who have lived and worked in a democracy."

Here's a guy lucky enough to have a job in a fantasy-land business where people hurl money at him round the clock for a few hours of work a day, who somehow finds the time to work himself into creepily genuine anger towards a group of people who have to fight to get jobs cleaning toilets or working fry-o-lators. Talk about a guy who needs a new hobby, or a puppy, something!

Remember that scene in American Psycho where Christian Bale stabs Reg E. Cathey's homeless "Al" character? The part where he's like, "Get a job, Al – you've got a negative attitude, that's what's holding you back!" Fellas, Mssrs. Brooks and Voight, that was satire. About the last thing the millions of broke Americans out there need is someone like you telling them their problem is that they need a more positive attitude. Actually their problem is much more simple: not enough jobs. Really, that's pretty much it. It's not a mystery.

 

 

 

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+145 # Walter J Smith 2013-07-17 06:29
To call what Brooks does "wonder" is to radically overestimate his contemplative capacities.

Brooks is an ideological hatchet wielder, and nothing more. His thought never has elevated itself above the right-wing-nutc ake stuff he has been doing all along, which is why the NYTimes keeps him there.

To suggest he knows anything about dignity simply overlooks the fact that he has never embodied dignity for a singly moment of his public many public appearances.

It is accurate to say he isn't alone. Like Limbaugh and all of Roger Ailes's underlings, he wields his puny little idea hatchets, flinging them wherever the Ailes mood of the moment suggests, and spends the remainder of his waking hours primping.

Primping, pimping, whatever.
 
 
+55 # lorenbliss 2013-07-17 12:29
Unfortunately Mr.Taibbi fails to link Brooks' invective with the nationwide campaign of hate-mongering that inflicts on all lower-income peoples the same sort of pariahdom the Nazis inflicted on the Jews. By characterizing us as “takers,” we are not only damned as thieves but conspirators against the common good, even murderers of the so-called “American” Dream.

And this hatemongering is already bearing its venomous fruit. The meme of “transit is welfare” convinced the voters of the Tacoma area to destroy their own transit system. Now the archetype of “taker” is being used by Tacoma's allegedly “progressive” city council to rationalize its refusal to enact mandatory paid sick leave, which nearby Seattle approved almost two years ago by an 8-1 majority. These same toxins empower the reactionary politicians who, by their control of the state senate, have added Washington to the long list of state governments totally subjugated by the forces of Ayn Rand fascism.

Thus the USian Fourth Reich follows the pattern of the German Third Reich, reducing all of us (anyone who is unemployed or elderly or disabled or otherwise chronically poor), to victims in a new genocide – not by (now-unfashiona ble) death camps, but by the malicious termination and/or reduction of unemployment compensation, food stamps, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and any other (meager) stipend upon which our lives depend.
 
 
-21 # Mannstein 2013-07-18 12:55
Since when did the Third Reich put the elderly into death camps? Reference please? Next you'll be claiming the Dachau shower heads actually put out Zyklon-B which was a solid.
 
 
+2 # RLF 2013-07-23 04:43
Come on! Don't you realize the rich are just better than the rest of us!
 
 
+146 # Barbara K 2013-07-17 07:04
It's not hard to figure out why men can't find jobs. Nearly all the manufacturing jobs went to China. Those jobs were run here by mostly men. They need to bring those jobs back here where the products can be of better quality again. What is coming out of China is pure crap.

..
 
 
+28 # Tje_Chiwara 2013-07-17 08:31
Pure crap that most everyone uses very happily . . . . Oh if ONLY Americans didn't live on crap! (Of course we don't produce any ourselves . . .)
 
 
+11 # Mannstein 2013-07-18 12:58
The problem is that the US consumer no longer has a choice but to by Chinese made goods. Just sample the products in your local hardware store. Not a single one made in the US is my experience. As for the quality Chinese products are definitely inferior especially when it comes to electronics.
 
 
-1 # RLF 2013-07-23 04:44
Crap...Like the Apple products progressives like to think of as progressive?
 
 
+24 # DUKETYPE 2013-07-17 14:15
And all the technology jobs went to India. Ditto about the pure crap.
 
 
+40 # George D 2013-07-17 15:30
Let me defend China for a moment. That probably drew a negative before I typed another sentence :-)

The "crap" coming from China is in everything you use. As Chinese factories were just starting up, they made lots of mistakes. Today, they turn out quality goods for a very cheap price. And that's the rub. Don't blame China; Blame ourselves for not demanding the same protectionist laws that almost every other nation has. Don't blame China for playing the "capitalism" game, and winning at it, by doing the same shifty manipulation that our illustrious bankers and hedge fund managers do; And get away with it.

Why is stuff from China so cheap? Oh; It's because they're workers are all slaves; Heck, we all know that. If you think that, you get the "F" in economics that you deserve.
It's called "currency manipulation" and our "money people" know all about it and couldn't care less.

I buy materials from China and the people I deal with are as content as any middle class American. Their 50 cents/hour buys them just as much as our $15/hr; In their country.

I've said for a long time; Give us back the high prices; And our jobs to pay them. Until that's a position deserving of prime time TV and a ballot initiative, don't expect America to get any better for "average" people.
 
 
+18 # wantrealdemocracy 2013-07-17 18:36
The jobs that are not 'off shored' are given to women because their wages are lower than men's. The rich want all the profits that they can bleed out of us. In the United States a man's salary used to be enough to care for a family. One parent worked out of the home and the other worked hard doing all the household work---most important---she cared for the kids. Now they are sent off to 'day care centers' to be neglected and harmed by not forming strong family bonds. Children should not be raised by a rotating group of strangers. They need to be with their family at least until they reach school age---and I don't mean 'pre school'.. they should be in their parents care until they are six years old. We are abandoning our children to the damage of our society.
 
 
+191 # pappajohn15 2013-07-17 07:10
There is a quote from John Kenneth Galbraith that says something like, the modern conservative is engaged in the most difficult of tasks: trying to find a moral justification for greediness.

The more things change...
 
 
+55 # beachboy 2013-07-17 07:40
... the modern conservative is engaged in the most difficult of tasks: trying to find a moral justification for greediness.

The more things change...

Yepp. Yepp. ...and Yepp. Let's do something about it. Anything.
 
 
+21 # bingers 2013-07-18 03:48
Quoting pappajohn15:
There is a quote from John Kenneth Galbraith that says something like, the modern conservative is engaged in the most difficult of tasks: trying to find a moral justification for greediness.

The more things change...


" Why is it so much easier to be a conservative than a liberal? Because it's easier to give someone the finger rather than to offer them a helping hand." Mike Royko, columnist for the Chicago Tribune Unlike Brooks, a worthwhile columnist before his death.
 
 
+1 # lark3650 2013-07-21 03:54
Quoting bingers:
Quoting pappajohn15:
There is a quote from John Kenneth Galbraith that says something like, the modern conservative is engaged in the most difficult of tasks: trying to find a moral justification for greediness.

The more things change...


" Why is it so much easier to be a conservative than a liberal? Because it's easier to give someone the finger rather than to offer them a helping hand." Mike Royko, columnist for the Chicago Tribune Unlike Brooks, a worthwhile columnist before his death.

I loved Mike Royko....great quote. "Greed is the destroyer of man." That is what has happened in this country.....it' s about accumulating money...not serving humanity.
 
 
+30 # carp 2013-07-17 07:12
"Once the western towns have been pacified," he notes, "there's no need for his capacity for violence, nor his righteous fury."

I thought at first Brooks was making commentary on the Trayvon Martin case! like he did not agree with the verdict, naw that would be against his ideology.
 
 
+21 # Tje_Chiwara 2013-07-17 08:54
Quoting carp:
"like he did not agree with the verdict, naw that would be against his ideology.

You think his ideology would mandate a verdict? Geez . . . that's the problem with all the commentary out there that doesn't seem to want to deal with facts or system issues, just impressions and imagined motivations --- Kudos to our Attorney General for speaking so eloquently on the traditional legal basis for self-defense, and the warped doctrine in the Florida law . . .
 
 
+129 # jimfreeman 2013-07-17 07:12
Matt, I've been watching and reading you for years and you never put a foot wrong.

Keep on doing it. Your country and the 90% on the short end desperately need your voice.
 
 
+38 # runningtab 2013-07-17 07:12
I've written about these very issues, including male pride. I forgot to have any. Have applied at 63 for grocery store, bookstore jobs -- as well as for jobs as branding guru and Mad Men-style ad agency Creative Director, my former superstar status in Asia. Google Steve Meltzer Boomer Down for my book, getting 5-star reviews and dealing honestly with the fallout of having fallen way, way down.
 
 
+101 # jwb110 2013-07-17 07:14
This is a classic blame the victim stance of jerks like Brooks. Brooks and his ilk made this economy, stole from the people to do it and failed to put into place a system to make the transition to their New World Order. For them it is "there are some who will just fall between the stools". What an ass he and his friends are. That any jerk who has been a fat cat for as long as he has can get newspaper space appalls me.
There are some of us who have been in "trades" for 50 years. I expected to drop dead on my jog and some step over my body to take up the slack. I never intended to retire. I had too much skill and knowledge to pass on. Now I am retired because there is no work and Mr. Brooks has moved the job market somewhere else. Brooks should get out from under his Bell Jar life and rub a few elbows with the un-employed. As repugnant as that might be for him, at least he would have a grounded experience of an opinion that he holds. It is only an opinion based on HIS characterizatio n of the American Worker. I doubt he ever was one.
 
 
+9 # Joe Bob 2013-07-17 23:49
I think we should throw Brooks under the printing press. He's useless.
 
 
+68 # bmiluski 2013-07-17 07:15
Can someone please explain to me why the Jobs Bill (which would have given thousands of unemployed people jobs) was defeated.
 
 
+99 # jon 2013-07-17 08:09
Quoting bmiluski:
Can someone please explain to me why the Jobs Bill (which would have given thousands of unemployed people jobs) was defeated.


The jobs bill was defeated because the owners of the Republicans want the American worker reduced to the same status as the average third world denizen.

It will be so much cheaper to buy and sell people that way, and look how the corporate profits - and CEO salaries - will go up.

It is very simple, and obvious.
 
 
-73 # JohnBoanerges 2013-07-17 08:35
Read THIS (http://www.lewrockwell.com/2013/07/michael-s-rozeff/go-back-to-the-original-constitution/), if you would, and then ask yourself what it costs us when the state "creates" jobs (hint - more than most are willing to pay).
 
 
+34 # bmiluski 2013-07-17 12:33
Wow, JohnBoanerges, then how on earth did it work during the FDR era? That includes the "war effort" when people were being paid by the government to make planes, tanks, ammo, etc.
 
 
-27 # JohnBoanerges 2013-07-17 14:37
The REASON that I refuse to support RSN financially is that it and most of the readers are statists, hence the -35 and counting, responders to my re-post. You people are the reason that the murders by the state continue. In other words, you have the blood on your hands - you suck. Lately, RSN has been posting the evidence of the horrors of statism. It is 'happening' under a democrat administration. It really makes no difference. It is statism pure and simple that kills innocents far and wide. If you are stupid enough to believe that voting makes a difference (Emma Goldman said the if voting made a difference, it would be illegal)then YOU are the problem. Check out LewRockwell.com for a partial answer to the 'problem'.
 
 
+18 # reiverpacific 2013-07-17 17:34
Quoting JohnBoanerges:
The REASON that I refuse to support RSN financially is that it and most of the readers are statists, hence the -35 and counting, responders to my re-post. You people are the reason that the murders by the state continue. In other words, you have the blood on your hands - you suck. Lately, RSN has been posting the evidence of the horrors of statism. It is 'happening' under a democrat administration. It really makes no difference. It is statism pure and simple that kills innocents far and wide. If you are stupid enough to believe that voting makes a difference (Emma Goldman said the if voting made a difference, it would be illegal)then YOU are the problem. Check out LewRockwell.com for a partial answer to the 'problem'.

If you don't like RSN, de-infest!
But Do check out Dr. Richard Wolff and his "Capitalism Hits the Fan"!
BTW, could you explain the expression "Statists" or "Statism (sic)" for we "Foreheads villainous low" types you so tritely categorize thus, just so a po' ol' dim-bulb like me knows what name he'sa- bein' called.
You sound a bit humorless to me but that's your business -just a wee, teeny glimpse o' light in our alleged darkness of y'r blessed indulgence, purty-pleeze.
 
 
+10 # NOMINAE 2013-07-18 10:48
Quoting JohnBoanerges:
The REASON that I refuse to support RSN financially is that it and most of the readers are statists, hence the -35 and counting, responders to my re-post.........


Yeah ..... poor man. If you can't contribute either intellectually or financially, you really must reconsider wasting everybody's time. l
 
 
+5 # Madmedic 2013-07-18 16:04
Quoting JohnBoanerges:
The REASON that I refuse to support RSN financially is that it and most of the readers are statists, hence the -35 and counting, responders to my re-post. You people are the reason that the murders by the state continue. In other words, you have the blood on your hands - you suck. Lately, RSN has been posting the evidence of the horrors of statism. It is 'happening' under a democrat administration. It really makes no difference. It is statism pure and simple that kills innocents far and wide. If you are stupid enough to believe that voting makes a difference (Emma Goldman said the if voting made a difference, it would be illegal)then YOU are the problem. Check out LewRockwell.com for a partial answer to the 'problem'.



JohnBoanerges, Appears that what you are suggesting is stateless anarchy. If that is your goal, you need to seek mental health services immediately.

BTW, Don't delude yourself about why you don't contribute to RSN. You don't contribute because you are cheap.

reiverpacific and NOMINAE, loved your comments regarding the above individual's screed. So much more measured and refined than my humble effort. Unfortunately, I didn't see your comments until after I had already typed mine.
 
 
+6 # bingers 2013-07-18 04:02
JohnB, Lew Rockwell and Ludwig von Mises are two of the most moronic twits ever born. Why would any sane person want to swallow their pap? Their take on economy has been proven over and over to be the worst possible way to run an economy.
 
 
+36 # Tje_Chiwara 2013-07-17 08:46
Easy . . . Republicans need to have PAIN and HURT regardless of whether it makes any sense. It is part of a fundamental fear of happiness or pleasure, unless at the expense of others. Not sure why that form of gratification is so attractive to them, but I keep looking for a cure . . . Giving them pain doesn't seem to work . . Logic sure doesn't . . . mainly just have to figure how to keep them out of office.
 
 
+23 # raclis 2013-07-17 14:21
Because the people in power who have the last word do not want to do anything that would be considered a success for Obama. This is how much they hate him. They would rather see this country go down the tube than expand government spending to help get people back to work and lift them from actual or pending poverty.
 
 
+7 # Madmedic 2013-07-18 15:39
Quoting bmiluski:
Can someone please explain to me why the Jobs Bill (which would have given thousands of unemployed people jobs) was defeated.


And to carry this a little further, why aren't the Dems reintroducing a new jobs bill every time the Repubs. call for another vote on "Obamacare?" Makes sense to me to do that to really emphasize the difference between the parties.

That's part of the reason I've pretty much stopped contributing to the Democratic party. All I've been seeing from them for the last two years is daily, sometimes almost hourly, calls and emails for dollars to fight the "Red Menace" (no, no, no, not that red menace, the Republicans!).

Why is it that the Dems. are content with sitting back on their ample backsides and letting the Repubs. offer up all the new (far right) legislation.

WE THE PEOPLE, are waiting for the Dems. to make proposals that we can support, rather than simply send them $$ to get reelected. After all, we spent lots of dollars to get Harry Reid reelected and look at the way he pi**ed away the power that our campaign contributions paid for.
 
 
+2 # bingers 2013-07-21 02:40
Because they can't. John Boehner controls what is introduced and nearly all Democratic proposals are never allowed to be entered. Don't stop contributing to the Democrats, not unless you are a supporter of the Boehner ignorance.

The only way we will ever recover is for Democrats have near total control of all government functions for at least 20 years. The last time that happened was when we lived through a golden age, when the individual had some control over their own lives. Ironically, corporations did spectacularly well then too. When the little guy has power and spending money everyone profits. Under Republicans that just doesn't happen.
 
 
+57 # TrustMovies 2013-07-17 07:20
Thanks Matt. I've read enough of Brooks' garbage by now not to be able to keep doing it. But I am glad that have the strength to go on, and to keep showing him up for the entitled and pompous person he is. Primping and pimping, indeed -- as one of the above comments notes.
 
 
+50 # Rich Austin 2013-07-17 07:34
Actually Matt, it is a waste of time commenting on Baloney O' Brooks let alone reading his drivel.

The Tea Party-type sociopaths who drink Brooks KoolAid wouldn't be swayed by a contrary argument from God himself.

Real working stiffs don't read Brooks. *They are too busy keeping the wheels turning in our nation that then enable barnacles like Brooks to live high on the hog.

*At least the ones who have a job paying family-sustaini ng wages.
 
 
-60 # Specialk 2013-07-17 07:39
Brooks just has opinions, does he need it be tared and feathered because of them?
Disagreement is OK but "garbage", "jerk" "hatchet wielder" all this really shows your insecurity and inability to have reasonable dialog, you all are acting like the Tea Party now known as the American Taliban
 
 
+3 # bingers 2013-07-21 02:42
Quoting Specialk:
Brooks just has opinions, does he need it be tared and feathered because of them?
Disagreement is OK but "garbage", "jerk" "hatchet wielder" all this really shows your insecurity and inability to have reasonable dialog, you all are acting like the Tea Party now known as the American Taliban



Calling a spade a spade is not a measure of insecurity, parroting Republican talking points, all of which are false, is. And tarring and feathering of Brooks and all his ilk sounds like a fantastically good and warranted idea.
 
 
+46 # L. Sabransky 2013-07-17 07:57
While I agree that men don't want to take the crappy, low-paying jobs that women have always held and continue to hold - often multiple jobs, to feed their kids - it's true there are just not enough jobs, and there definitely are not enough jobs that pay a living wage.

I remember when President Clinton touted the new jobs "he created," and as soon as the surface of the statistic was scratched, it revealed that most of the new jobs were low-paying service positions, like fast food restaurants.

The government is still presenting the employment numbers this way - how many jobs filled, not how many jobs paying above poverty level, filled. If they did, the "unemployment rate," representing workers like those at Walmart - many of whom need supplemental government programs in order to subsist, even when they work full-time - would be in the 30 to 50% range - approaching the Great Depression numbers.

Time to demand that government statistics represent the truth of our citizens day to day lives, not whatever satisfies investors.
 
 
+58 # brenda 2013-07-17 08:00
There are several reasons why there's not enough jobs for men around here. I just touch on a few reasons:
1) Take the jobs where the health insurance companies have secretly collaborated with the employers of large offices and factories to agree to agree to not hire or keep anyone who is over 50 years old as an employee. Their reasoning is that the people over 50 are representative of the big health problem payouts. Cancer, bad backs, carpel tunnel syndrome, heart attacks, ulcers, and more prone to getting sick. Keep them out, and the health insurance premiums will be much cheaper for your employees.
2) Older people don't have the knowledge of new industrial machines or computer programming. The employers will not hire them unless they're able to start running with the job the minute you hire them. The old training period that was from 1 to 2 months for a new employee is out the door. More likely to be 1 to 2 weeks now.
Training courses held by the product manufacturers are very expensive and require you to relocate to the place where they're giving the course for 2 months.
3) Many retail outlets have grown wise to the trick of making 80% of their employees as part time workers, who can be denied the perks that go to full time employees. Used to be that there were plenty of 40 hour/week positions available.
4) The NAFTA and GATT shafta. Importing all labor intensive jobs from foreign underdeveloped countries.

Continued....
 
 
+26 # GravityWave 2013-07-17 08:00
Dave Brooks can write sort of, but he is barely educable.
 
 
+49 # brenda 2013-07-17 08:02
Continued....

I would suggest that if employers want to continue these practices like #3 and #4, they need to pay an import tax or lost labor tax that allows the government to collect these monies to be used to take care of the unemployed here in this country.
 
 
+11 # George D 2013-07-17 15:52
What you are suggesting are "protectionist" laws. OMG; What a dirty word. Just mention that word to a politician today and see what happens.

What you are suggesting are "protectionist" laws. OMG; What a dirty word. Just mention that word to a politician today and see what happens.

Ever wonder why there's a push for "immigration reform" that has "guest worker" element among Republicans? It's not because they want to fill jobs that "Americans don't want and won't do". It's because they want to make sure that those jobs exist in the first place.

This gets me to the issue of "value" for labor in America. Let's say, hypothetically, that the really tough, grimy jobs paid the same as a computer programmer. Fifty bucks/hour to pick lettuce or sit in an air conditioned office and type on a keyboard. It's a slight exaggeration but is it? If you could do either job, which would you do?

If you were uneducated and had the job working in the fields, would you be motivated to go to school and get a better job?

I already know the answer to this because I've seen it many times in my own career.

Would lettuce be 100 times more expensive if a fair wage was paid for these gritty jobs? Here's a quote from the New York Times about this. "Consumers who pay $1 for a pound of apples are giving 30 cents to the farmer and 10 cents to the farm worker; those spending $2 for a head of lettuce are giving 50 cents to the farmer and 16 cents to the farm worker."
 
 
+3 # brenda 2013-07-18 04:30
Protectionist? Well perhaps, but the burden of people on unemployment compensation, or unemployed and off the unemployment compensation are a social burden that the government has to put up with. What's the fairest way to get the funds? Why tax the offending employers to pick up the tab for the unemployed and off the records unemployed.
 
 
+7 # George D 2013-07-18 13:49
"Knock knock..Who's there?... George Zimmer..." Nevermind.
Apparently my attempt at satire fell as flat as that stupid defense lawyer's joke.

Let me say that I agree with you 100% about the idea if taxing imports to help subsidize and extend unemployment claims. I am an advocate for protectionist laws in America. Giving tax breaks to companies for going offshore is a betrayal of all Americans and allowing imports from other countries that have an artificially low currency, creates an unequal playing field for American workers. If a tax on imports, evens the playing field, then manufacturers will have to weigh the value of the labor they receive based on quality and dependability and not just "funny money" factors.

But America is not about what's fair, just, or any other virtuous adjective you care to throw out there, from our childhood indoctrination. It's about money. Always has been about money. That's why our "representative s" are part of that wealthy class; They represent the people that pay for them to be there or help to get them there.
THAT'S why "protectionism" is a dirty word to politicians.
 
 
+2 # karenvista 2013-07-18 20:54
Quoting brenda:
Protectionist? Well perhaps, but the burden of people on unemployment compensation, or unemployed and off the unemployment compensation are a social burden that the government has to put up with. What's the fairest way to get the funds? Why tax the offending employers to pick up the tab for the unemployed and off the records unemployed.


Ant to be really effective (and protectionist) any company that had ever been headquartered in the U.S. and/or used their fraudulent tax shelters and exported jobs overseas would pay a very hefty import duty (roughly equivalent to the value of the cost of their actions U.S. economy and labor force) or be locked out of the U.S. market.

These corporations don't see us as fellow citizens, or employees, only consumers.

If you don't play fair with us- we don't consume.
 
 
-42 # Tje_Chiwara 2013-07-17 08:06
There is a nugget of truth in what Brooks is concerned about, and it is pathetic that anyone who does not agree with his overall philosophy rejects his points and comments out of hand. This mirrors the hate-think that many conservatives spout about our President, unwilling to consider compromise or accommodation with the thoughts of the "other". Too much of that same is present on RSN, comments so certain of their correctness that they permit no contrary rumination. To call Brooks "pompous" or "entitled" is simply hate and not thought, which does not add to any discussion.

Do all you commentators (including Mr. Taibbi) reject the problem of inflexibility of skills or work attitudes, and do you believe it unrelated to our macho American self-image?
 
 
+26 # Jim Rocket 2013-07-17 11:09
Mr. Brooks is a very spoiled man who has no idea that he is well up in the land of the 1%. If he was someone who wrote an occasional column your point would be valid but, given that his voice is widespread, he is indeed pompous and entitled. It's sad that the NYT gives him space. The MSM has abandoned the journalistic creed of "comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable" and now does the opposite.
 
 
+23 # boadacia 2013-07-17 08:14
for most of history, humans have done hard labor at subsistence farming, cooking, and making things. Today it is expected that humans should be capable of doing high tech jobs, when we are ignoring the fact that a large percentage of people are not capable of that. Seven billion and rising. the jobs that huge numbers of these people can do are being taken over by robots. Sad.
 
 
+2 # karenvista 2013-07-18 21:06
Quoting boadacia:
for most of history, humans have done hard labor at subsistence farming, cooking, and making things. Today it is expected that humans should be capable of doing high tech jobs, when we are ignoring the fact that a large percentage of people are not capable of that. Seven billion and rising. the jobs that huge numbers of these people can do are being taken over by robots. Sad.



Anything that can be outsourced over the internet, no matter how high-tech will be. Do you even think that our IRS forms are processed hers? Many legal jobs, newspaper reporting and reading medical test results have already been outsourced. It will get much worse.
Corporations are forcing us to compete with Chinese and Bangladeshi wages yet the seem to be unable to comprehend that we can't consume if we have no income.

There has to be a complete revamping of our economic and political system and a new social contract.

Retraining is a joke, You don't need a Masters to flip burgers or wash cars or change bed pans. Your unpaid student loans can legally be withheld from your Social Security.

Soylent Green is fast approaching,
 
 
0 # independentmind 2013-07-22 15:03
A lot of engineering jobs are already outsourced to India, Honeywell has a whole big campus there. They even work on government projects (you cannot if you are a resident alien in this country).....
 
 
+10 # barbaratodish 2013-07-17 08:24
Perhaps more men than women CAN find "work" that is "under the table", work for cash, with few if any questions asked. Such "shadow economy" work results in zero tax paid, but also zero social security, etc., credits. Perhaps women are more cautious than men about risking to do anything ambiguous?
 
 
+35 # curmudgeon 2013-07-17 08:27
Matt, your stomach is indeed stronger than mine to absorb the Brooksian drivel.

As long as hiring folks read my resume and interviewed over phone. I never lacked for work. Most initial contracts were extended several time. One or two were ended at end of term..by ageist young folks who were disappointed when I showed upp with my grey hair.

Then 'in person' interviews became mandatory...nev er hired again for last 5 years as the veil of disinteredness would descend over the eyes of interviewers when they saw I was over 35.

I also know many male workers who have taken to dying their hair to retain their jobs..by not attracting attention to signs of aging.
 
 
+28 # politicaleconomist 2013-07-17 08:30
I've got a fantasy too.
In my fantasy all the "job creators" go on strike and productivity zooms and people start working on meaningful projects.
The "job creators" return and are required to do 20 years of toilet cleaning.
I call it "fat-ass slugged."
 
 
+5 # armadillo17 2013-07-17 21:38
LOL, excellent!
 
 
+38 # reiverpacific 2013-07-17 08:34
Makes me feel lucky to have two degrees from excellent Scottish colleges, both free, grant-supported on pre-college qualifications, one whilst doing an apprenticeship in an Architectural practice (Sadly, you can't do this any more), gaining on-site, real world experience; the other full-time at college but still working part-time so I could afford a decent lifestyle and travel a bit whilst still a student, giving me more valuable real-life experience outwith academia.
I believe that this system is all but gone since Thatcher although the rest of Europe is still providing good free public education.
What gets me about the current state of affairs in the US is that the infrastructure is crumbling around us whilst the population grows but the 'band-aid', head-in-the-san d approach seems to be the attitude in the halls of power!
Christ, if the infrastructure and all the rotting, foreclosed homes were addressed creatively by the government as an interconnected problem to be solved together, millions of people from design professionals to trades and labor could be put back to productive, economy-stimula ting, living wage work, the foreclosed homes could be re-purchased. Keeping the big banks out of the financing, providing bid-packages to local banks and credit unions.
Is this just TOO simple or hard to understand, or am I a utopian simpleton? I don't thinks so!
Where I live, the despised "Immigrants", mostly Mexican, are the hardest and most enterprising workers; go figure!
 
 
+4 # Maturus 2013-07-17 17:49
Reiver, it wouldn't have been too difficult for you to have looked this up for yourself. Tuition fees were introduced by the Bliar government in 1998, nothing at all to do with Thatcher. they're everything to do with pushing young people into further education to keep them off the unemployment register. Only the Scandinavian countries retain a state-funded system although in Denmark it is only the top students who get to go to university. Interestingly, Germany does not take this path, it trains young people to do useful things - perhaps the secret to their success?
 
 
+3 # reiverpacific 2013-07-17 21:24
Quoting Maturus:
Reiver, it wouldn't have been too difficult for you to have looked this up for yourself. Tuition fees were introduced by the Bliar government in 1998, nothing at all to do with Thatcher. they're everything to do with pushing young people into further education to keep them off the unemployment register. Only the Scandinavian countries retain a state-funded system although in Denmark it is only the top students who get to go to university. Interestingly, Germany does not take this path, it trains young people to do useful things - perhaps the secret to their success?

Well, OK and thanks, I guess.
European friends I keep close contact with are distributed throughout Scotland, England, The Republic of Ireland, France and Spain but they are mostly of my own ol'-fart generation and we discuss many things but haven't touched on this for a while.
Scottish devolution pending in 2014 has most of 'em quite preoccupied, in some cases, excited. I don't know how I feel about it yet but Scotia has always been a socialistically -inclined country, even in it's independent aspirations.
I haven't been home since my dad passed in 2006 but intend to remove myself and my American wife from the US after I've accomplish a couple of projects here.
No problem laying the decline at the fink-Blair's feet.
Actually, Thatcher made the Blair's "New Labor" possible, as Reagan and Bush Sr' made Clinton's "New Democrats".
So don't get so prickly and look a bit deeper!
 
 
+36 # reiverpacific 2013-07-17 08:47
"The jobs that are coming back, he says, are in the health care sector, where women hold four out of every five jobs" (quote).
Yeh right!
"Health care (oxymoron) billing training" is one of the only growth industries in the US. In other words "let us train you to scrutinize insurance claims so we can find ways to deny coverage"!
A dear friend of mine had been a very experienced surgical assistant to a cardiac surgeon for many years; in fact he just re-took his certification exams. When the senior surgeon retired, my friend's job was "Eliminated" by the insurance company-owned hospital -no attempt to find him another slot, just cut him out as an excessive cost, instead retaining and paying all the administrators and insurance-denie rs who heal nobody -in fact deny coverage to more and more people, as well as paying CEO's of the for-profit non-system obscene salaries, benefits and perks, again non-productive but profit-soaking and shareholder enriching.
Humbug I say! THAT'S the health-careless job creating priorities for you!
Again, only in America!
 
 
+19 # nancyw 2013-07-17 08:53
Great article. Thanks... on the pitiful, sad state of this country.
 
 
-41 # arquebus 2013-07-17 08:57
Myth #1....the jobs didn't go to China...they went to machines. Once upon a time, auto companies hired guys to paint cars or throw lug nuts on Chevies....now that work is done by a machine driven by another machine not a lot different than those we use to access this site. It may come as a surprise to the Chicken Littles, but the US still has the largest industrial plant in the world...larger than our next couple of competitors combined.

Nothing new in this....when Ford switched from wooden spoked wheels to pressed steel back in the early 30s all the wheelwrights are thrown out of work.

The biggest problem is a mismatch of skills..the solution is retraining. Most people would be glad to retrain if they knew how to do it. And, there will be some who, like the older steel workers who were laid off when the steel belt turned to rust and spent their days crying in their beer that "my grand daddy worked in steel, my daddy worked in steel and, by God, I've got a right to work in steel, don't feel they should have to retrain. Younger workers did and survived the transition.

If the jobs are in the medical field why aren't more men retraining as EMTs or RNs....I understand there is a shortage of nurses.

You folks, including the author of this piece, like to pretend that there is only one viewpoint that is legitimate, only one way to see the world, only one side to a question.
 
 
-26 # Malcolm 2013-07-17 10:20
There is an amazing number of people who frequent this site who are like sheep, baaaa-ing their party line, willing to give thumbs down to anyone who dares to think for him/her self.

A real disappointment to those with open minds.
 
 
+10 # Billy Bob 2013-07-17 12:23
I wouldn't read too much into who's voting unless they tell you why. People are allowed to vote. Who says they don't consider it first?
 
 
+15 # reiverpacific 2013-07-17 15:26
Quoting Malcolm:
There is an amazing number of people who frequent this site who are like sheep, baaaa-ing their party line, willing to give thumbs down to anyone who dares to think for him/her self.

A real disappointment to those with open minds.

So what's your point here? This comment adds nothing to the discussion or point at issue but a brief bit of background noise.
DO by all means give us an example of you "thinking for yourself" o' great and original individualist.
If you want to see an "amazing number" of sheeple, observe those of the US lemming majority (perhaps after all, you are one of 'em) who use the content-free monopoly owner-media for their news and entertainment, hence the appalling national ignorance of the world, or the larger US or significant public affairs, that serves to keep the status-quo where it is by controlling and limiting dissemination of general information and quality of entertainment reduced to a bunch of stuffing between vapid, lengthy commercials.
Au contraire, apart from the occasional rational conservative, deliberately offensive reactionary, some terminal grouches and one mosquito-like-p ricking grammar-Nazi with nothing between her ears but her hair-do, I'd say that your average RSN poster and reader is looking for something with a bit more substance than they can find on the flick'rin' screen or Clear Channel.
So again, what WAS y'r point, and do you have anything at all to add to this discussion?
 
 
+11 # Billy Bob 2013-07-17 19:05
I REALLY enjoy your posts.
 
 
+6 # reiverpacific 2013-07-18 09:52
Quoting Billy Bob:
I REALLY enjoy your posts.

Right hand finger tips to mouth, head lowered and tilted modestly followed by Wilma Flintstone giggle -"Hmmm-teee-hee eeh"!
 
 
+2 # bingers 2013-07-18 04:10
Quoting Malcolm:
There is an amazing number of people who frequent this site who are like sheep, baaaa-ing their party line, willing to give thumbs down to anyone who dares to think for him/her self.

A real disappointment to those with open minds.



It's not because they are thinking for themselves, it's because they are thinking inanities. And when have you ever heard of a conservative with an open mind? Well over 99% appear to think an open mind allows their thoughts to run out, so they close them down tightly and never again have an independent thought.
 
 
+9 # reiverpacific 2013-07-17 10:39
Quoting arquebus:
Myth #1....the jobs didn't go to China...they went to machines. Once upon a time, auto companies hired guys to paint cars or throw lug nuts on Chevies....now that work is done by a machine driven by another machine not a lot different than those we use to access this site. It may come as a surprise to the Chicken Littles, but the US still has the largest industrial plant in the world...larger than our next couple of competitors combined.
Nothing new in this....when Ford switched from wooden spoked wheels to pressed steel back in the early 30s all the wheelwrights are thrown out of work.
The biggest problem is a mismatch of skills..the solution is retraining. Most people would be glad to retrain if they knew how to do it. And, there will be some who, like the older steel workers who were laid off when the steel belt turned to rust and spent their days crying in their beer that "my grand daddy worked in steel, my daddy worked in steel and, by God, I've got a right to work in steel, don't feel they should have to retrain. Younger workers did and survived the transition.
If the jobs are in the medical field why aren't more men retraining as EMTs or RNs....I understand there is a shortage of nurses.
You folks, including the author of this piece, like to pretend that there is only one viewpoint that is legitimate, only one way to see the world, only one side to a question.

Infrastructure renewal and maintenance = sustainable self regeneration.
 
 
+14 # CHECKMATE 2013-07-17 10:41
arqebus:
Nothing new in this....when Ford switched from wooden spoked wheels to pressed steel back in the early 30s all the wheelwrights are thrown out of work.

There are no wheelwrights in china either and we cannot earn foreign exchange giving each other heart transplants. When you buy a cell phone made in china you have less money to spend giving a job to an American workman. Keep reading Brooks and Friedman. They are the enemy although Brooks has been outflanked by the Tea- Party
 
 
+17 # Feral Dogz 2013-07-17 11:42
The jobs weren't the only thing that went to china. So did the industrial machines and the people who taught the Chinese how to operate them.

Why aren't investors training people to to operate in the new economy they've invented?
 
 
+7 # armadillo17 2013-07-17 21:42
Many, many of us have trodden the "retraining" treadmill and it turned out to be just another corporate scam. College BA's went back to tech institute to learn computer programming, in the hopes of making $25-30 an hour...only to see their jobs disappear to Bangalore where people are happy to get $6. "Retraining" is simply more blame-the-victi m crap.
 
 
+9 # Feral Dogz 2013-07-18 07:00
Corporations should pick up the tab for retraining the workers they exploit. Shipping American jobs overseas should be illegal. 'Free trade' and 'free markets' are mythical euphemisms invented by capitalists. What we really have is trade and markets controlled by capital to benefit capital.
 
 
0 # independentmind 2013-07-22 15:09
There is a shortage of Nurses because there are no Nurses that want to teach - they make a lot more actually nursing. If nursing and other training were free we would have more of them too as well as Doctors etc. Going back to school at 50+ is a problem, because even when you graduate, no-one wants to hire you.
 
 
+28 # RMDC 2013-07-17 09:03
Brooks and Thomas Friedman are the role models of stupid people at the NYTimes. they always appear to be dumbfounded and amazed at every subject presnted to them. Then they begin to spout out innanities and platitudes that show they simply can't understand even the most simple things.

This is how the NYtimes brainwashed. Brooks adn Friedman are cited more often than any other Times writer. they fetishize stupidity and make it clever and cool. Everyone wants to be stupid like Brooks and Friedman.

Too bad these assholes don't have to try to get a job.
 
 
+13 # vgirl1 2013-07-17 09:04
Typical CONservatve activist writing...half baked,insuffici ent and misleading information to tell the false tale of woe about the plight of their base constituency so that that base can remain riled up at all those "takers" who, were it not for them, lives would be just grand!
 
 
+32 # Kootenay Coyote 2013-07-17 09:08
There’s much less to Brooks than meets the eye.
 
 
+41 # revtravel 2013-07-17 09:15
Melville nailed it long ago: “Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well- warmed, and well-fed.”
 
 
+8 # Feral Dogz 2013-07-18 07:01
Don't forget well armed.
 
 
+17 # Billy Bob 2013-07-17 09:18
One thing not often mentioned, in addition to the obvious (about jobs being sent to China and India, etc.) is the number of men who are now stay-at-home fathers.

They may believe in the traditional (conservative, even) logic that it's better for one parent to stay at home if possible. If their wife makes more than they could, and they can still make ends meet, why not?

They may also be people who no longer qualify for unemployment and have stopped looking. Maybe any amount they could make would be less than the necessary costs for daycare.

At any rate, considering that many more women are graduating from college than men, it's safe to assume this trend will continue and that it will become more and more common.
 
 
+3 # Billy Bob 2013-07-17 10:06
To the person who gave me a thumbs down, why? Are you arguing against the statistic? Is it something else?
 
 
+14 # mjc 2013-07-17 09:24
Wonder if Brooks ever served in the military...and if not, why? A lot of what he says really reflects his view on those sensitive, vulnerable women who take jobs that a MAN could fill. If this is where intellect and analysis leads one, God help us all!
 
 
+4 # NOMINAE 2013-07-18 11:14
Quoting mjc:
Wonder if Brooks ever served in the military...and if not, why?


Perhaps he, like his idol Dick Cheney, got nine deferments because he had "other priorities" ! Yeah ..... no doubt, like
the primary priority of not getting his a$$ shot off !
 
 
+16 # wrknight 2013-07-17 10:00
Brooks has had his head where he can't see daylight for so long that he has forgotten what daylight is like.
 
 
+19 # oracle306 2013-07-17 10:05
Couldn't agree more with Matt's take on Brook's cruelty. But I especially love the way Matt so correctly grouped Naomi Campbell (evil, twisted, self-serving wench that she is) with Hemann Goering and Hannibal Lecter. Good one!
 
 
+16 # wrodwell 2013-07-17 10:11
What did you expect? David Brooks has always been a prissy fool. He's just one of a legion of the privileged class who can't understand why the less privileged can't get work. The cure for such people is to give them a taste of what it's like to be unemployed. I wouldn't mind going to a McDonald's just to observe someone of his ilk serve egg McMuffins to the 47%.
 
 
-20 # brux 2013-07-17 13:12
Of all the egg mcmuffins i have ever had i think brooks would be able to make one right that tasted decent ... something i rarely get from the small-brained morons who have worked at the mcdonald's i have gone to. basically, why i don't go to mcd's any longer for a long time. brooks would be wasted making egg mcmuffins, but the people making them now are not up to the task.
 
 
+1 # lark3650 2013-07-21 03:49
Quoting brux:
Of all the egg mcmuffins i have ever had i think brooks would be able to make one right that tasted decent ... something i rarely get from the small-brained morons who have worked at the mcdonald's i have gone to. basically, why i don't go to mcd's any longer for a long time. brooks would be wasted making egg mcmuffins, but the people making them now are not up to the task.

The fact that you would call anyone a small-brained moron is the problem. Shame on you!
 
 
+11 # Buddha 2013-07-17 10:24
I certainly am not going to defend Brooks or the elitist drivel he and other conservatives put out, but we shouldn't pretend that there aren't available jobs that even unemployed Americans will not take. I don't see many unemployed white Americans willing to go out into a tomato field and pick tomatoes at less than minimum wage beside undocumented laborers. They can go to "TakeMyJobPleas e" and sign right up and they will be found such a job in their area being done by those undocumented laborers who ARE willing to do those jobs to survive. The issue is that our economy is shedding middle-class jobs, jobs that offer any chance of economic mobility. Corporate America has decided to just send those jobs overseas to low wage countries for their profit, and we allow our Congress to grease those wheels for Corporate America...
 
 
+6 # hd70642 2013-07-17 10:33
The foundation of conservative word salad are idealism elitism and paranoia . It is amazing how the general public blindly accepts vicious rhetoric of Ayn Rand and the idealistic idiocy of Horattio Algiers . So can it be really any surprise for somebody'whos only encounter with hard times are the rocks
rattling around in his head to look down upon the less fortunate ?. You always have to be weary of folks who like to give directions down a street they never went down!
Although unrelated to this topic is the Mia franchise concocted by con man Ross Perot . This has only served as a vicious insult to the families of actual veterans and to be endless scripts for B movies video games and comic books . This MIA nonsense is only one example of how everybody is suppose to buy into conservative fantasy with out question!
I came across something about Mcdonalds giving finnacial advice do not seek educational advancement, or pay more than $600 in rent (excuse where are you find a place at 600 a month except some place that has a three year waiting list )
http://blog.ourfuture.org/20130719/mcdonalds-serves-up-a-minimum-wage-mcmanifesto
 
 
-23 # brux 2013-07-17 10:48
Why does Matt Taibbi have such a raging boner for David Brooks. Anything Brooks does Taibbi goes off on, no matter what.
 
 
+18 # Billy Bob 2013-07-17 12:26
This isn't youtube. Do you have an argument supporting one or the other? Maybe Matt is bothered, like many of us, by the undue influence Brooks seems to have, considering his apparent inability to make an intelligent argument.
 
 
-18 # brux 2013-07-17 12:57
In addition to reading Taibbi, I also watch Brooks and occasionally read his stuff as well. Both of them make sense, certainly Brooks make a lot more sense than most Conservatives. You might not agree with Brooks, or you might just swallow everything Taibbi says hook, line and sinker, but that does not mean Brooks is not making and intelligible argument ... and what does the absurd video has to do with making an argument anyway ... Billy Bob?
 
 
+13 # Doctor J 2013-07-17 15:58
Quoting brux:
In addition to reading Taibbi, I also watch Brooks and occasionally read his stuff as well. Both of them make sense, certainly Brooks make a lot more sense than most Conservatives. You might not agree with Brooks, or you might just swallow everything Taibbi says hook, line and sinker, but that does not mean Brooks is not making and intelligible argument ... and what does the absurd video has to do with making an argument anyway ... Billy Bob?

It does not take much to "make a lot more sense than most Conservatives."
 
 
-9 # brux 2013-07-17 19:46
The difference between Brooks and Limbaugh or O'Reilly is "significant" and this kind of attack on Brooks is counter-product ive to any kind of dialogue between left and right. Maybe that is what Taibbi is really all about.

My own gut feeling is that ANYONE we see in the news, in the media, in politics or in business is there for a reason ... there is no spontaneity or anyuncontrolled discussion period anywhere in the media. It's all a facade, just like the political parties.
 
 
+8 # Madmedic 2013-07-18 16:31
Quoting brux:
The difference between Brooks and Limbaugh or O'Reilly is "significant" and this kind of attack on Brooks is counter-productive to any kind of dialogue between left and right. Maybe that is what Taibbi is really all about.


About like the "difference" between Newt Gingrich and the inbred, red neck racists of the old South. What Brooks offers is just a slicker, written, more "edgeecated" version of the same old right wing garbage Limbaugh, O'Reilly, and the others offer up verbally an their radio hate fests.
 
 
-1 # brux 2013-07-28 23:03
I can tell you really do not bother to take the time to listen to what he has to say.
 
 
+4 # karenvista 2013-07-18 21:48
Quoting brux:

My own gut feeling is that ANYONE we see in the news, in the media, in politics or in business is there for a reason ... there is no spontaneity or any uncontrolled discussion period anywhere in the media. It's all a facade, just like the political parties.


There was lots of honest, uncensored reporting coming from Michael Hastings and you saw what happened to him right before he said he was going to break the biggest story of his career. And that would be HUGE after the McChrystal firing.

He told his wife he was working on a big CIA/NSA story that he was about ready to break and then the FBI started following him and questioning his neighbors and friends. He emailed his office and friends about it and was dead a few hours later.

Mercedes said that crash would have been extraordinarily unlikely. The car was described by a witness as on fire before it crashed and exploded into a fireball and the engine and the drive train were thrown out of the car at a right angle 60 meters down the road.

Richard Clarke was interviewed and confirmed that is entirely within the government's cyber capabilities to take over car and cause a fatal crash. Darpa had done a press conference two years ago explaining how cars can be remotely controlled.

Investigative reporters are at real risk in this country. That's why we have people like David Brooks. He'll never ruffle a feather.

Watch your back Matt! You're one of the good ones.
 
 
+7 # Buddha 2013-07-18 07:47
Quoting brux:
You might not agree with Brooks, or you might just swallow everything Taibbi says hook, line and sinker, but that does not mean Brooks is not making and intelligible argument ...


You are right, swallowing everything Taibbi says doesn't mean Brooks is not making an intelligible argument, Brooks makes unintelligible arguments all on his own for all to mock. Taibbi is just stating something I think most of us here already understand, that most of the narrative from the Right on unemployment is nothing but drivel. It is really easy for these Ivory Tower tools for the 1% to disparage the struggling working class as "lazy" or "too proud to work at demeaning jobs", while they make their fortunes through helping American corporations geek their profits by sending decent-paying middle-class jobs overseas and leaving nothing but poor-paying service sector jobs which can't support a middle-class. All Brooks and the GOP do is try to defend an economy that is starting to look like the last rounds of a Monopoly game, where one dude has almost all the properties with hotels on them and everyone else is just one die roll from being out of the game.
 
 
+3 # bingers 2013-07-18 04:15
Quoting brux:
Why does Matt Taibbi have such a raging boner for David Brooks. Anything Brooks does Taibbi goes off on, no matter what.


He's in good company. Anyone with a brain goes off on Brooks all the time. The man would need an extension ladder to reach the level of pond scum.
 
 
+15 # Bronxmerlin 2013-07-17 11:36
The Ronald Reagan award for extrapolated and anecdotal evidence - David Brooks
 
 
+18 # Beenie 2013-07-17 11:43
Men are having trouble finding jobs for the same reasons women are having trouble finding jobs: money. Korporate Amerika only wants to pay themselves - not you. They are not interested in paying decent salaries to hard-working Americans. They want to pay peanuts to poor, miserable slobs overseas, like the women doing assembly work at the Sunbeam plant in China - where Mitt Romney thought it was so great the workers were sleeping in the factory and that fences were put around the buildings to keep people from leaving. It used to be that if one could get a job that paid a decent wage (i.e. one which would allow you to support a family, buy a house, buy a car, go on vacation, etc, etc) and you worked hard, gave the job 100%, that was noted and appreciated. Not any more. This country has sunk so low, I don't know how most of us can go on. We need to rebuild our manufacturing sector, strengthen our unions and get people the protection they need from overbearing bosses and exploitive companies. Time for a change!
 
 
-8 # brux 2013-07-17 13:04
Well, I just wonder how many people have yards, and of them how many hire cheap Mexican laborers to do their yard work instead of paying higher priced American corporations to do it? No one wants to pay more than they need to for anything these days, if they ever did ... and no one wants to pay taxes either.

We are either going to jettison or kill off enough of our population, slow enough so that it doesn't bother us too much, or we are going to have to open up the economy to everyone.

To open up the economy to everyone, most people would need to have some kind of clue, or a way to fit into the economy. Or they would just be getting paid to live ... welfare. I'm not against welfare ... or the dole or whatever ... there are plainly going to be less and less jobs over time, and way less jobs that command respect and are not just some form of exploitative wage slavery.

Men in particular are stuck. Women may be stuck more, that is, it is mostly women with children that HAVE to work, most of them are single head of households.

Most people think it's time for a change, but no one has really explained a vision for change that a vast majority of us can buy into.
 
 
+9 # brux 2013-07-17 13:08
I do have to agree with Taibbi about Jon Voight ... the guy is disgusting ... and all his movies and whatever he has done has not created one useful thing in the whole time. Why does America buy so much crap ... because that is all that is out there.
 
 
+4 # jgorman 2013-07-17 12:14
"First of all, if you need to take a job at Subway after getting a degree from Yale, that's pathetic and 100 percent on Yale, not on the kid who mortgaged his future to pay for a Yale education."

Sorry to take a shot Matt but there is one problem with this statement. Its that any DEGREE one receives from any CORPORATIST driven and CORPORATOCRACY controlled institution or organization is lying when spreading the propaganda myth of the "american dream." The facts point to the decline of the "U.S.of A. empire." The vultures are circling and the decaying flesh of the body is rapidly being devoured by the symbiotic parasites living of its remaining flesh and bones. When or where this show ends or concludes is beyond my meager intellect. However, I do agree with the late John Maynard Keynes line, "in the long run we are all dead." Even though I will continue the struggle I too, will take comfort with those "ethnocentric exceptionalists " who delight in awaiting divine judgement. Unlike them, I can only hope that whatever fate awaits me brings peace and joy to myself and those who remain behind me.
 
 
-4 # bmiluski 2013-07-18 06:10
If you want peace, you might want to start working on it in the here and now. Your post was very joyless, and angry thus hypocritical. You need to start working on our karma, just like the rest of us.
 
 
+4 # NOMINAE 2013-07-18 11:30
Quoting jgorman:
"

Sorry to take a shot Matt but there is one problem with this statement. Its that any DEGREE one receives from any CORPORATIST driven and CORPORATOCRACY controlled institution or organization is lying when spreading the propaganda myth of the "american dream." The facts point to the decline of the "U.S.of A. empire." The vultures are circling and the decaying flesh of the body is rapidly being devoured by the symbiotic parasites living of its remaining flesh and bones. When or where this show ends or concludes is beyond my meager intellect.


I hope that your comment in re: "meager intellect" is simply self-deprecatin g tongue-in-cheek humor.

I find that I look forward to your contributions on this site, and that your comments are, in the main, highly valuable and impeccably well-thought-ou t.

And yes, the clear-eyed realist, at this point, sees absolutely nothing about which to celebrate. Pollyanna Pablum is for the intellectual Ostrich out there. It is also a means of heavy denial of the ponderous reality we face.

However, it is a matter of note that the human species has always been gifted with the most incredible "bail outs" just as it has it's own back pushed firmly against the wall. It is that characteristic to which I look for hope.

That, and some recently developed, but highly welcome, "cracks" in the Global Corporate Monopoly firmament.
May they increase in abundance !
 
 
+9 # chuckvw 2013-07-17 12:22
What humiliating positions has brooks ever found himself in... other than bending over for the 1%?

It makes one long for the days of the tumbril...
 
 
0 # wwway 2013-07-17 12:39
Brooks didn't always look old and cranky. I used to respect his comentary and comments but after the book he wrote I wonder if he's been harrassed and threatened to tow the Republican BS.
 
 
-11 # brux 2013-07-17 13:10
Brook's commentary is pretty good. The books seems useless to me though. He still makes sense and portrays are more realistic view of the world that 99% of other so-called conservatives.
 
 
+6 # bingers 2013-07-18 04:18
Quoting brux:
Brook's commentary is pretty good. The books seems useless to me though. He still makes sense and portrays are more realistic view of the world that 99% of other so-called conservatives.


Boy! Talk about damning with faint praise!
 
 
+15 # ericlipps 2013-07-17 13:16
Part of the problem seems to be that conservatives can't do arithmetic, at least where the expenses of ordinary life are concerned.

Neal McCluskey's screwy remark about taking a job at Subway to pay your bills, including student loans, is a perfect example. I'd like to see one of these well-paid conservative hacks try to do it.
 
 
+14 # lethal 2013-07-17 15:22
Brooks gives himself away as soon as he emits the word "surely": immediately anyone does this you know they haven't got any evidence, they're just appealing to emotion.
 
 
+16 # Michaeljohn 2013-07-17 15:29
Ah yes, and don't forget that if you are lucky enough to find a job, it will probably be part time since corporations have discovered they add to the profit line by dispensing with benefits for part time workers. Need a second job to make ends meet? Oh,but your first part time employer wants you to commit to being available at any time. Hi-Ho the robber barons.
 
 
+3 # karenvista 2013-07-18 22:12
Quoting Michaeljohn:
Ah yes, and don't forget that if you are lucky enough to find a job, it will probably be part time since corporations have discovered they add to the profit line by dispensing with benefits for part time workers. Need a second job to make ends meet? Oh,but your first part time employer wants you to commit to being available at any time. Hi-Ho the robber barons.



Yes the demand that you be available around the clock for shift changes is a Wal-Mart ploy that forces people to stay below the poverty line, especially since most of them are not hired as full-time workers. Then they burden the state and local governments for food stamps and Medicaid to increase their profits.

The other terrible trend is that many if not most people who can find a job get them through temporary agencies and have absolutely no job security or benefits.

If you think retirement on Social Security is difficult now just wait until our kids, who haven't been able to find a well-paying or steady job for years finally apply for Social Security. They won't even be able to afford a cardboard box and here in Houston, all the grocery Store dumpsters have secured conveyor systems into locked containers. Wouldn't want any hungry people to be able to get to any food now would we?
 
 
0 # independentmind 2013-07-22 15:24
Any company with over 50 employees, whose employees get food stamps and Medicaid should be forced to pay the government back for those benefits - as they should have provided them.
 
 
+17 # Vegan_Girl 2013-07-17 15:32
Thank you Matt for standing up for the little guy. There will always be people like Brooks. The problem is that he is getting published and celebrated for this crap.

What we need now is a culture of compassion and solidarity and truth and justice that would publicly shame this blame-the-victi m crowd.
 
 
+9 # JSRaleigh 2013-07-17 17:37
Maybe it's because THERE AIN'T NO EFFIN' JOBS! And even when someone is hiring, they ain't hiring anyone who's been out of the labor force for more than six months.

If you're looking for a job, they won't hire you because you don't have a job.

Brooks ain't crazy. He's just ... stupid.
 
 
+6 # guodr 2013-07-17 20:21
I stopped reading Brooks when he referred to progressive taxation as "soaking the rich". I assume that he must be a millionaire who feels that he's taxed too much.
 
 
+6 # Tiger Claws 2013-07-17 20:27
Aside from the fact that Brooks is a terrible writer with tongue twisting often incomprehensibl e verbiage, the NY Times keeps him on because they have to have someone who seems to reflect " the other side " of " the discussion ".

I love that word " discussion " or " debate " - so yuppie and euphemistic.

He and the others, Jon Voight, Neal McCluskey have no clue what they are talking about. Has any of them gotten out of their comfortable perch and tried to get and hold another job. like in fast food, common everyday hod carrying laborer? Hell no. That would be beneath them.

When Brooks let it be known while writing about JKF that he wasn't even born when JFK was alive, I knew reading him was a waste of time. I don;t know what he learned at the Univ of Chicago, but whatever it was it doesn't show up in his " discussions".

And McCluskey? Who the " H" is he ? The Cato Institute ! Yeh, self-styled scholars who flail away at " know-nothing" claptrap.

None of them hold a candle to Paul Krugman, Joe Stiglitz, Simon Johnson - so why waste time listening to their worthless logic and gar-BAGE .

Tell them all to resign pontificating and go out and get a REAL job. See who wants to hire them to really MAKE something we can buy and use. They will be on food stamps before the week is out.
 
 
+10 # armadillo17 2013-07-17 21:21
My favorite quote from the article is "TAKE a job at Subway..."
This idiot thinks you can just waltz in and TAKE a job, as though they were canapes on a party tray? Obviously this is a trust fund brat who has never even had to apply for a job in his overfed, pathetic life.

.
 
 
+11 # armadillo17 2013-07-17 21:24
I am working now, but I've spent enough time in the dreary job market to know that looking for work can be a desperate, demoralizing experience. If you try to get a job that is slightly better than the one you lost, personnel managers turn their noses up at you for being unemployed(!) Any unemployed person is immediately suspect; no matter how many glowing references you can provide or how impeccable your resume, hirers presume you are out of work because there is something wrong with you. Last year I read that one personnel manager frankly admitted to the Reader's Digest that if someone was out of work longer than 6 months, they were poison. Nowadays, many PMs will only consider people already employed. If you're out of work you are damaged goods.

If, on the other hand, you're willing to swallow your pride and consider a position at Target or Starbucks, you are summarily turned away for being overqualified.

The real problem is not individual initiative; it is that capitalistic economies are run like a game of musical chairs: there are always slightly fewer chairs (jobs) than players. That keeps the advantage on the side of the business owners, keeps unions hobbled, and keeps wages assuredly low enough to ensure healthy profits for the 1%.
 
 
+6 # bingers 2013-07-18 03:43
Mostly men aren't working because they can't afford to follow them to Asia where the Republicans and their corporate bribers shipped them.
 
 
+4 # dkonstruction 2013-07-18 08:50
Not only does Brooks not understand the causes of current-day unemployment (particularly long-term unemployment) but he also does not understand The Searchers (one of the greatest American films of all time -- not just one of the greatest Westerns...I go back and forth between that one and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance as my favorite John Ford westerns).

The point in The Searchers is not just that it is at the end of the "wild west" and the era of the cowboy. This is 4 years after the Civil War and Wayne's character fought for the South; so the film is in many ways about how does this person now fit in to the new society given that he fought on the losing side of this war (and Wayne's character is also no simplistic caricature racist; he speaks Comanche as well Spanish and clearly has more knowledge of and in some ways respect for the Comanche than the "liberals" (i.e., those in the movie that fought for the North). Is he racist; yes but so are the northern liberals so it is not simply because he was a Southerner and fought for the South.

That Brooks does not understand (or seem to care about) the unemployed is exemplified in his understanding of The Searchers by seeing it simply as a movie about the rugged individual and not seeing any of the film as an attempt to understand larger changes in society as a whole (what today we might call systemic or structural problems) and the plight of those who are on the losing end of these changes.
 
 
+2 # Pipester 2013-07-18 09:25
I like Taibbe, but why take Brooks seriously? Move on, nothing to see.

As for the trade deals that have cost the U.S. jobs and industries, it makes good sense for the elites. Much cheaper and more efficient to improve the economies of poor countries at U.S. workers' expense than constantly having poor countries warring with haves. And the best part is it costs the elites nothing. Now if they could only figure out a way to buy off the religious zealots, they will have created a perfect world...for themselves, that is.
 
 
+1 # karenvista 2013-07-18 22:20
Quoting Pipester:
I like Taibbe, but why take Brooks seriously? Move on, nothing to see.

As for the trade deals that have cost the U.S. jobs and industries, it makes good sense for the elites. Much cheaper and more efficient to improve the economies of poor countries at U.S. workers' expense than constantly having poor countries warring with haves. And the best part is it costs the elites nothing. Now if they could only figure out a way to buy off the religious zealots, they will have created a perfect world...for themselves, that is.



They either are or pretend to be religious zealots doing as one said "God's Work." Then when they get caught they ask for forgiveness (they certainly don't go to jail) and go right back. to their crimes.

Problems solved!
 
 
+1 # bingers 2013-07-21 02:56
To not take the morons seriously is to ignore reality. If you do not crush the lies you enable them.
 
 
+4 # WeMustEvolve 2013-07-18 13:45
First of all Brooks, as a conservative, has no credibility at all. While I do not want to deny their kind food, I do think that none of them should be in any positions of power and influence.

We have, since the Reagan criminal disaster, sat by while giant Wall Street corporations have taken over and compromised our entire society. We are seeing the end result of two generations of being tricked in compliance and complicity. We are to blame for it all. Millions of us can get together to fix it but it will take just that.
 
 
+1 # RobertMStahl 2013-07-18 13:56
Field is not structure. That is a fact. I will get negative responses for saying something with mathematical precision, something challenging when it is obvious this is what is missing. Life, or living, then, is structure, by definition..., until and when (or is it where?) it leaves, perhaps, for good.
 
 
+2 # WeMustEvolve 2013-07-18 15:21
Huh?
 
 
+2 # WeMustEvolve 2013-07-18 15:23
Does Brooks come off as a half wit, uneducated fool stuck back in the 1950's on purpose. Does his garbage sell newspapers. Or is he just appealing to the half brained Americans who have been conditioned not to think anymore?
 
 
+3 # Anarchist 23 2013-07-20 06:53
Not only are high-wage union jobs disappearing due to NAFATA CAFTA and 'right to work for less' states but new job creation has been in low wage sectors; sectors dominated by women who for all history have always been paid less. Men, by supporting their privileges have ironically been done in by those privileges. All work should pay a living wage. there is plenty to do in this country; rebuilding the infrastructure for example. Here, the political will is missing. Under the rubric 'The Greatest Evil For the Greatest Number' under which the Repugs operate (along with the R.A.T.S. of SCOTUS) making things ugly, unworkable and increasingly hellish is their job: their ONLY job.
 
 
+3 # griffey1 2013-07-20 10:54
I have a friend who is over 50 & was " downsized" from his sound engineer job. He got a loan & spent a year training to become a drug & alcohol counsellor, supposedly a safe place to get a new job. He found a couple of temporary jobs in his field, & that was it. One year later he is still looking for work, & struggling to pay off his loan. Brooks has zero comprehension of the REAL world that people face every day.
 
 
+1 # acomfort 2013-07-20 16:43
Matt is missing a basic point about jobs. The system is designed to have unemployment at about 3 to 4 percent.
It doesn't have to be that way.
You want more jobs . . . here's a way.
(1) We should try to remove all of the economic penalties (taxes) from labor. In other cases we raise taxes on things that we think are socially destructive (cigarettes and alcohol) and we remove taxes from things we think a good for society (churches and charitable organizations.) Jobs are good for society but we tax them heavily.

If a person does work, they pay several taxes. If a machine does the work it pays none. When a machine does the work of 10 people then it could be taxed at the same amount that 10 people would have paid. That would be fair . . . right? With this system I don’t think we would be lacking for jobs.

A person working and paying taxes . . . good. A machine working and paying no taxes . . . not so good.
OR
(2) Stop all taxes on jobs, employee or employer taxes. Start taxing all financial transactions . . . a big boys tax. The costs will still filter down to the individual but people would be more competitive with machines.
 
 
0 # Skippydelic 2013-07-21 18:55
More than anything else, this is the 'lasting legacy' of Ronald Reagan...

The whole 'Reaganomics' hype was nothing more than a plan to let the rich get richer, and screw *everyone else*! The wealthy were given tax breaks, and the rest of us were told that the benefits would 'trickle down'.

Remember, piss 'trickles down', too...

If the corporate bosses and the wealthy had been genuinely altruistic - i.e., committed to the betterment of *everybody* - that plan *might* have had some possibility of success. Rich people *don't* usually get where they are by being altruistic, though...

Reagan also pulled the trigger that killed American jobs when he fired the Air Traffic Controllers in 1981. Suddenly, it was *perfectly* OK for corporations to bust Unions, and they did it with a *vengeance*! The cost of Labor was no longer part of the *intrinsic* cost of business; it was now an 'unnecessary expense', to be reduced to a bare minimum!

Not only did Unions suffer, workers did, too! First, wages and benefits were cut; then, when corporations found that foreign workers could be paid $1.00 or so A DAY, American jobs were GONE!

Of course, the system is SO stacked in favor of business, it's NOT going to change anytime soon!

Unfortunately, there's NOT an easy solution, and the GOP has *no* incentive to solve it - notice how many time they've BLOCKED jobs bills - so the outlook is pretty bleak, until The Powers That Be pull their heads out of their asses...
 

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