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We can’t fill our glasses if we’re fighting for the last sip

Here comes another winter of discontent.

First the Delta variant and now the Omicron variant which has persistently conspired to reject the vaccine to deny us a satisfying end to the COVID-19 pandemic. Inflation is at its highest level in decades. eat a little salary, and along with persistent supply chain disruptions, it has undermined Americans’ views of the economy. Crime increased sharply in many placesand wars abroad or rumors of wars in Ukraine and Taiwan felt like clear signs of a retreating American empire.

But this is a completely misleading list. There’s a lot of good news to balance it out – even about COVID and especially about the economy. While the pandemic remains a major public health challenge, it is not the same as the crisis in 2020, and public behavior reflects this change. Inflation is a bad outcome but a good sign that macroeconomic policy is ultimately not biased in the direction of too tight. The unemployment rate has almost fallen to early 2020 levels, and even reduced growth forecast due to Omicron still having one of the highest growth years since the 1990s. This is not the stagnation of inflation we are experiencing, but strong demand outstripping supply. Meanwhile, thanks to the CARES Act and the American Rescue Plan, Poverty has actually decreased well before the economy recovers. We could argue about whether the glass is more or more half full, but it’s hardly empty.

Furthermore, there is a strong case that it is about to get a lot fuller. In the short-term, that’s reflected in the still-strong economic forecasts and the stock market’s swift recovery from any setbacks. But over the next decade, as Noah Smith outlined in a recent Substack post, the prospects for major technological developments that could improve our lives are potentially historic. Highly effective vaccines that significantly reduce the lethality of COVID are just a small amount for What could the new wave of biomedical breakthroughs be?. Renewable energy has finally become cost-competitive enough to they provided the entire growth in global electricity production in 2020. The prospect of continuous improvements is the best hope for tackling climate change – and beyond, providing a fund of cheap energy that can fuel a host of other life-changing innovations.

Nor is public policy entirely marginalized in promoting these opportunities. The mRNA vaccines are partly the product of state investment and the development of a competitive alternative energy market that comes after years of government subsidies. Meanwhile, the bipartisan infrastructure bill represents the largest public investment in decades and promises substantial dividends on economic growth and environmental improvements for years to come. We can certainly do more, but we haven’t done more – and we’re starting to reap the benefits.

So why do we increasingly believe that the glass is at least half full and drains quickly?

It’s not just that the majority of Americans think the country is headed in the wrong direction. My colleague Damon Linker was noticed earlier this week arrive a recent poll by Pew that revealed the true depth of our dissatisfaction. Americans are not only pessimistic about the economy – even though we are. We are pessimistic about our entire system.

In the United States, 42% of those surveyed by Pew feel the country’s political system needs a complete overhaul, and a further 43% say it needs major changes. 85% of those combined believe that profound change in the political system is needed, placing us in the top ranking among the countries surveyed, significantly more eager for change than our counterparts in Canada, the UK and Germany, where only 8 to 15% support radical change and 45 percent or more say little more change is needed. And there is little gap between the views of optimistic Americans about our economic future and those of pessimists: Unsurprisingly, 87% of pessimists support major or radical change – but 82 % of optimists too.

Also notable is the disparity between Americans’ perception of the economy as a whole and our perception of our own economic outlook. In a November poll, 65% rate their finances as good – but a similar percentage say the economy as a whole is in bad shape. Similarly, a growing number of Americans think the economy is likely to deteriorate, but a growing percentage are confident in their personal ability to land a new job or pay an unscheduled bill. .

There is a similar dynamic on the policy front, where Americans wide approval of the American Rescue Plan, the bipartisan infrastructure bill, and the Build Back Better Project are still underway that combine climate and social spending. But the president himself gets little credit for any of this, with voters of all political leanings. increasingly dissatisfied with him, believe that he is not very important.

What’s happening?

In a recent New York Times Piece, Cory Robin argues Our dissatisfaction – with the Biden administration and with the state of American society at large – reflects the fact that while we widely believe that major structural change is needed, it does not. any large-scale social movement is possible. But Americans have been more politically mobilized than we have for decades, measured by turnout, mass protests, and small campaign donations. Why didn’t that lead to the movement that Robin sought?

Maybe it’s because we’re not really mobilized to change the system for the better. We’re just here to fight each other. I don’t know if that is the root cause of our pessimism?

We know partisan distrust drives our perception of reality itself: There is a growing gap between Democratic and Republican perceptions of economic health in terms of the president’s political identity rather than the state of the economy. Democrats refuse to acknowledge the manifest power of the Trump economy, while Republicans believe that President Biden, who is following the trajectory of his predecessor in many ways, has destroyed a real economy. many more things. Whether things are going well or not, we think they are worse than they are right now.

That distortion can also cloud our perception of the possibilities of the future and even of our own democracy. Belief in that future requires faith in our agency, in our ability to act collectively. As we increasingly believe that the source of our problems is our fellow citizens, however, such beliefs are difficult to maintain.

Meanwhile, we cannot hold government accountable for failures and sclerosis – failures, such as TimesDavid Leonhardt suggested regarding pandemic policy, could be a major factor in our discontent. When we see evidence of state incompetence and incompetence, instead of competing to be the chosen one to solve the problem, we are more interested in figuring out how to blame the tribe. enemies – or how to root out traitors. So is it any wonder we’ve broken a system that can only work cooperatively?

Our problems are real, and we’re not going to solve them by ignoring the hollowness of the glass. But we also shouldn’t be blind to what we have. However, now that the glass is full, we must fill it up together instead of fighting to drink to the last sip.

https://theweek.com/politics/1007962/we-cant-fill-our-glass-if-were-fighting-over-the-last-sip We can’t fill our glasses if we’re fighting for the last sip

DevanCole

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