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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Brad DeLong: America’s Locust Years

Brad DeLong:

America’s Locust Years, by J. Bradford DeLong, Commentary, NY Times: It is hard right now to write about American political economy. Nobody knows whether the debt-ceiling tripwire will be evaded; if so, how; or what will happen if it is not. ...
So, rather than talking about the US debt ceiling, let us think instead about all of the things that the debt-ceiling impasse has prevented the US government from doing during the past six months...
The risks imposed by global warming, for example, have not gone away. ... The employment-to-population ratio in the US remains flat... America faces ... decaying infrastructure, weakening educational systems, and a dysfunctional health-care system that produces sub-standard outcomes at twice the cost of any other industrial country. ... Six months ... have been lost.
During the run-up to World War II, Winston Churchill ... lamented “the years that the locusts hath eaten” – the period during which preparatory action to face the great crisis of his day (the rise of Continental fascism) could have been taken, but was not. ...
My view is that the problem would fix itself easily if only the Republican Party of Dwight D. Eisenhower could stage a comeback (though without Richard Nixon and Joseph McCarthy).
It is becoming increasingly clear, however, that the problem is one not only for the US, but for the rest of the world as well. Since December 7, 1941, the world has in large part been able to rely on global governance by a somewhat-competent hyperpower. That America may be gone for good. If it is, the world needs to develop other institutions for global management – and quickly.

    Posted by on Saturday, July 30, 2011 at 12:42 AM in Economics, Politics | Permalink  Comments (42)


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