Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Where We're Headed

David Atkins:

It mustn't be understated what is at stake here. There's a reason the big money boys want to cut "entitlements" so much. Under the current social and economic order, in 20 years or so there really won't be enough tax revenue from jobs to support the welfare state we have. And the welfare state we have won't be half as big as will be needed to take on the social need when the natural unemployment rate is 20%.

The big money boys can see where all of this is headed: either the developed world's middle classes start learning to live with a lot less, or their tax rates are going back up to Eisenhower levels. Or there will be a revolution and dramatic re-ordering of the social and economic contract.

The next few decades are going to be a very interesting time, particularly with climate change thrown into the mix. It's going to entail a dramatic battle of ideas between two very different solutions to a vexing problem complex human societies have never really faced before. In that battle, the neoliberal "New Democrats" aren't all that different from the hardcore conservatives. When you have 25% real unemployment/underemployment and massive climate disruption, all of a sudden a bunch of other issues that separate the corporate New Dems from the Bible-thumping Republicans start to become trivial by comparison.

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