We are looking at a prolonged period of high unemployment because economists with degrees from places like Harvard and M.I.T. could not see an $8 trillion housing bubble. The economics reporters who work for outlets like the New York Times, National Public Radio, and the Wall Street Journal all lacked the ability to think independently and largely accepted at face value the assertions from the well-respected economists that there was no problem in the housing market. And the politicians -- well that's not worth mentioning.
So, what does David Brooks tell us in his column?
"This recession has exposed America’s social weak spots. For decades, men have adapted poorly to the shifting demands of the service economy. Now they are paying the price. For decades, the working-class social fabric has been fraying. Now the working class is in danger of descending into underclass-style dysfunction."
Of course Brooks is right. Working class men are ill-prepared to deal with the effects of incredible economic mismanagement that has made them its primary victims. It has been conscious policy of David Brooks and his peers to weaken welfare state supports, making income and well-being almost entirely dependent on employment. Now, because David Brooks' highly-educated peers are incompetent economic managers, millions of working class people (disproportionately men) are facing extended periods of unemployment. And, naturally Brooks sees their difficulty in dealing with this crisis as a failure of working class culture.