Certainly the elites see it this way. My sense is that much of the country doesn't, which explains the wide spread discontent (both the Tea Party and the #Occupy movement). But as long as the establishments think that they can trim their way to a tactical victory (*cough* Mitt Romney *cough*), they will continue to refuse to address any of these problems.
We know that a country of people who earn a median wage of $16.27 per hour (source) cannot afford to pay $100,000-200,000/year pensions to policemen and firefighters who retire at 42 or 50. We know that we can’t afford our massive military or unlimited payments to Medicare providers. We know that we can’t afford to pay working-age people to sit at home and collect 99 weeks of unemployment benefits. We know that China is growing 10 percent per year because businesses find employees there who have a better education and work ethic. We know that countries like Singapore now enjoy a higher per capita income than the U.S. does partly because they’ve figured out how to deliver basic government services as a tiny fraction of the cost (as a percentage of GDP). We know that our public schools are set up to benefit employees rather than students and therefore the outlook for competitiveness is not improving.
We don’t want to do anything about these issues, however, which is why reelecting our current crop of politicians, including Obama, is the most sensible thing to do.
Sunday, January 8, 2012
In re: the Election
Philip Greenspun brings the Quote of the Day: