The Corner

Audacity of Hope

What on earth are they putting in the water coolers over there at the New York Times? Whatever it is, David Brooks should lay off it. Bring your own bottled water, David, and don’t let it out of your sight.

This column is a great luscious orgy of optimism.


Over the next 40 years, demographers estimate that the U.S. population will surge by an additional 100 million people, to 400 million over all.

And this is a good thing…why? And Americans expressed the desire for it…when?

Extrapolating from current trends, [Joel Kotkin] describes an archipelago of vibrant suburban town centers, villages and urban cores.

Funny that someone as attentive to the Zeitgeist as Brooks seems not to know that “vibrant” has become a joke word, with the connotation: You really don’t want to go there after dark.

The American fertility rate is 50 percent higher than Russia, Germany or Japan, and much higher than China.


Between 1990 and 2005, immigrants started a quarter of the new venture-backed public companies.

Perhaps so, but hardly fair to write that without noting the huge differences between where immigrants come from (see Table 5 here) and how entrepreneurial they are (Table 9 at that same link, which also finds that: “Immigrants and natives have similar rates of entrepreneurship – 13 percent of natives and 11 percent of immigrants are self-employed”).

Over the last ten years, 60 percent of Americans made more than $100,000 in at least one of those years, and 40 percent had incomes that high for at least three.

Say what? Would really like to see the supporting data on that. Does he mean “American households”? With 50.3 percent of income going to the highest quintile (Table 5 here) and a 2007 nationwide household median $50,740 (Table 1, same link)? Sure, I know about social mobility, but… Wanna see the data.

As the rising generation leads an economic revival, it will also participate in a communal one. We are living in a global age of social entrepreneurship.

Prof. Putnam, call your office.


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