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Posted on by arlen

Get thee over to the TPM Cafe and read The Stagnation Tax by Sterling Newberry. The man knows what he’s writing about, and more importantly can explain it in terms the rest of us can understand.

Yes, there are the usual sound bytes one can excerpt to support one’s preconceptions, but look past that and read what’s he’s actually saying. He takes on both conservative and liberal economists, and challenges us to look at it with fresh eyes. I direct your attention to this:

The solution Americans chose was to pay the stagnation tax, leave their children alone and at risk to the world, and to pursue hobbies and the cult of small things while others ran the country. They wake up to find that the fees for that management were particularly high, and that it hasn’t outperformed the marketplace – that they wake up today with declining wages, less access to health insurance, less and less affordable housing, less access to moving up the career ladder – and a political system that does not seem to be responding.

His point was that Americans basically decided it was more important to vacate and recreate than it was to participate, that the “return on investment” for their hours was higher if spent that way than if spent on being intested in and attuned to their government. The political system got used to their inattention, and gave us what we see today. And no amount of economic policy changes of any stripe are going to matter to us all as much as “redistributing our work” so that we actually get engaged with directing our government.

(BTW, I’d recommend against reading the comments. Seems like no one there was interested in actually reading the article.)

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September 2006
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