Most Read: Opinions

Tom Toles
Posted at 07:15 AM ET, 08/03/2012

Friday rant, vacation edition

This isn’t really a rant, but I am, like so many, trapped by format. Regardless, I proceed. I try not to link to other things, because it makes me do a little more thinking and explaining for myself. But here is something that talks about some of the key issues I’ve wondered about, and in as intelligent a way as I’ve heard. I’ve said we’re in a new era, but have struggled to identify exactly what it is. It’s the big question: what comes next?

At the end of the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy is home and happy, but the problem that caused her to run away actually hasn’t been solved: Miss Gulch is still coming to take Toto. Likewise, even when (if) we crawl out of this recession, we haven’t solved the underlying structural economic problem: We import way more than we export. I’m not sure that this is the key feature of life going forward, (I would argue it’s climate change), but Michael Lind is at least thinking interestingly about this. We are in a new era, we aren’t going back, and we can’t figure out where we’re going if we don’t know where we are.

Judging by this week’s poll numbers on the swing states, Obama will be re-elected, but that won’t by itself solve anything. The global economy is a mess, and there is currently no mechanism for setting it right. It’s Europe writ large. So what happens? Lind speaks the dreaded words: Trade War. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that, but you tell me how he’s wrong. Also featured in this alarming little talk: two of my other favorite hobby horses: Income disparity, and ROBOTS. Few answers herein to be found, but a nice shiny light on what we’re facing. Anyway, something to look at, think about, and talk about while I’m gone on ANOTHER vacation. Watch 10 minutes a day, and when you’re finished, I’ll be back.

By  |  07:15 AM ET, 08/03/2012

 
Read what others are saying
     

    © 2011 The Washington Post Company