David Brooks er en av de beste og mest innsiktsfulle kommentatorene. Det hvite hus ringte prompte da han stilte seg kritisk til Obamas budsjett. Nå er det republikanerne han kritiserer: de gjør ikke annet enn å si nei. Men på veien kommer han med noen betraktninger om den økonomiske krisen. Selv ikke Obama-administrasjonen har innsett eller tatt høyde for det som holder på å skje:

First, they’d take the current economic crisis more seriously than the Democrats. The Obama budget projects that the recession will be mild this year and the economy will come surging back in 2010. Democrats apparently think that dealing with the crisis is a part-time job, which leaves the afternoons free to work on long-range plans to reform education, health care, energy and a dozen smaller things. Democrats are counting on a quick recovery to help pay for these long-term projects.

Republicans could point out that this crisis is not just an opportunity to do other things. It’s a bloomin’ emergency. Robert Barro of Harvard estimates that there is a 30 percent chance of a depression. Warren Buffett says economic activity «has fallen off a cliff» and is not coming back soon.

Stock market declines are destroying $23 trillion in wealth, according to Lawrence Lindsey. Auto production is down by two-thirds since 2005. In China, 20 million migrant laborers have lost their jobs. Investment in developing countries has dropped from $929 billion in 2007 to $165 billion this year. Pension systems are fragile. Household balance sheets are still a wreck.

Taking a Depression Seriously