New York Times conservative columnist David Brooks believes that the government needs “to act in gigantic ways over the next few years”…
We’re entering an era of epic legislation. There are at least five large problems that will compel the federal government to act in gigantic ways over the next few years.
First, there is the erosion of the social contract. Private sector firms are less likely to provide health benefits, producing a desperate need for health care reform.
Second, there is the energy shortage. Rising Asian demand strains worldwide supply, threatening industry and consumers, and producing calls for a bold energy initiative.
Third, there is the stagnation in human capital. During the 20th century, Americans were better educated than the citizens of any other power. Since 1970, that lead has been forfeited, producing inequality and wage stagnation. To compete, the U.S. will require a series of human capital initiatives.
Fourth, there’s financial market reform. In an intricately connected world, even Republican administrations cannot allow big institutions to fail. If government is going to guarantee against failure, then it is inevitably going to get more involved in regulating how businesses are run.
Fifth, there’s infrastructure reform. The U.S. transportation system is in shambles and will require major new projects.
Has Brooks set the right priorities? Has he missed anything or overstated anything? And how will conservatism fit into the future domestic policy agenda, Brooksian or otherwise?