Brooks: A Sensible Donald Trump Would Cite ...Raj Chetty
October 27, 2015, 07:02 PM
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From the NYT:

A Sensible Version of Donald Trump

OCT. 27, 2015

David Brooks

The voters, especially on the Republican side, seem to be despising experience this year and are looking for outsiders. Hence we have the rise of Donald Trump and Ben Carson. People like me keep predicting that these implausibles will collapse, but so far, as someone tweeted, they keep collapsing upward.

But imagine if we had a sensible Trump in the race. Suppose there was some former general or business leader with impeccable outsider status but also a steady temperament, deep knowledge and good sense.

What would that person sound like? Maybe something like this:

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m no politician. I’m just a boring guy who knows how to run things. But I’ve been paying close attention and it seems to me that of all the problems that face the nation, two stand out. The first is that we have a polarized, dysfunctional, semi-corrupt political culture that prevents us from getting anything done. To reverse that gridlock we’ve got to find some policy area where there’s a basis for bipartisan action.

The second big problem is that things are going badly for those in the lower half of the income distribution. People with less education are seeing their wages fall, their men drop out of the labor force, their marriage rates plummet and their social networks dissolve.

The first piece of good news is that conservative and progressive writers see this reality similarly, which is a rare thing these days. The second piece of good news is that we have new research that suggests fresh ways to address this problem, ways that may appeal to both Democrats and Republicans.

The studies I’m talking about were done at Harvard by Raj Chetty, Nathaniel Hendren and Lawrence Katz.

The conventional wisdom of 2015 is:
  • One half of the solution for the problems of black and Hispanic minorities is to integrate them into the neighborhoods and schools of the white majority. Chetty thinks that moving blacks and Hispanics from Charlotte to Salt Lake City would do them a lot of good.
  • The other half of the solution of the problems of minorities is for there not to be a white majority anymore.
You may notice that the two halves of the solution are starkly contradictory — there aren’t many Salt Lake Cities left — but the conventional wisdom hasn’t.