The New York Times nailed it today. A simple, short, and objective editorial explaining, as they put it, the high cost of low politics.
What shouldn’t be missed here, however, is the fact that we have been building toward today’s dysfunction for decades. One might argue that we got underway with Jimmy Carter deregulation — which wasn’t all bad in the short-run and turned around parts of the economy for Reagan — and started a trend that changed the way many Americans, liberal and conservative alike, view government.
Perhaps decades of almost unbroken prosperity gave Americans a sense of entitlement and invincibility. It might have seemed that we could do more — indeed get more — with less, especially government. Until the late 70s, prosperity reigned. When that prosperity appeared under threat — energy crises, rising globalism, declining productivity — government took the hit.
So through both Democratic and Republican administrations we took a decidedly conservative turn. Even if reluctantly at time, we embraced a less-is-more supply side approach to restoring and sustaining economic growth and national prosperity. And by any measure, it has not worked.
People are fond of defining insanity as doing the same thing and expecting different results. Well, maybe. But certainly it applies to our economic policy, does it not? Even worse, we choose even more of the mistakes that fail us, more austerity, more division, more partisanship. Is it any surprise that the United States is struggling to regain the values and prosperity that have made this country the greatest democracy in history?
Elections have consequences. We are suffering those consequences now. When will voters, regardless of situation, finally recognize their best interests and support them at the polls?
- Jimmy Carter: Today’s middle class was my administration’s poverty level (washingtontimes.com)
- What Would Reagan Do? (nationalinterest.org)
- States Are Focus of Effort to Foil Health Care Law (nytimes.com)