Our current cultural politics are organized by the obsolete culture war, which has put secular liberals on one side and religious conservatives on the other. But the slide in economic morality afflicted Red and Blue America equally.
If there is to be a movement to restore economic values, it will have to cut across the current taxonomies. Its goal will be to make the U.S. again a producer economy, not a consumer economy. It will champion a return to financial self-restraint, large and small.
It will have to take on what you might call the lobbyist ethos — the righteous conviction held by everybody from AARP to the agribusinesses that their groups are entitled to every possible appropriation, regardless of the larger public cost. It will have to take on the self-indulgent popular demand for low taxes and high spending.
A crusade for economic self-restraint would have to rearrange the current alliances and embrace policies like energy taxes and spending cuts that are now deemed politically impossible. But this sort of moral revival is what the country actually needs.
Friday, October 2, 2009
Here's an excellent NYT article by David Brooks on things to come (HT Selva Brasilis). This passage summarizes it all: