By Rudy Barnes, Jr.
The Great Resignation began in April, and since then more people have abandoned their old jobs with the expectation they can find something better. Generous unemployment benefits and the opportunity to work from home during the pandemic have created optimistic post-pandemic expectations that will reshape America’s politics, its economy and its culture.
Democrats are promoting a vast array of cradle-to-grave socialist programs to appease those who have left their pre-pandemic jobs. Polls indicate that many, but not most, Americans support the Democratic proposals, despite their extravagant cost. As America considers a major shift from a libertarian to a socialist culture, even Democrats are debating how far to go.
The debate over a debt ceiling is only the tip of the political iceberg. Not since the Civil War has political tribalism so threatened American democracy. Americans continue to pledge allegiance to one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all; but it’s only lip service in a divided nation that has failed to balance individual rights with providing for the common good.
What are the expectations of the polarized parties? Republicans expect to maintain the status quo, ignoring increasing disparities of wealth and opposing any regulation of Wall Street or tax increases. Democrats expect to redistribute America’s wealth from the bottom up; but like Republicans they aren’t willing to tax their rich patrons to pay for their socialist largesse.
Those partisan expectations portend more political and economic turmoil. Increasing inflation will force the Federal Reserve to taper its subsidies to Wall Street and allow interest rates to rise, cooling off a hot stock market and making it difficult for America to carry its massive national debt. That would challenge America’s credit rating and the dollar as the world’s currency.
The church once provided altruistic standards of legitimacy that promoted the common good in politics; but the church has declined and altruism has been subsumed by partisan politics. Redistricting is underway, but indications are that the gerrymandering that has promoted partisan polarization in Congress will continue unabated.
It will likely take a political revolt or an economic crisis to overcome the polarized partisan politics that have stymied the reforms needed to provide for the common good in America’s democracy. Given the current partisan standoff in Congress on a budget ceiling, an economic crisis is likely to provide the politics of reconciliation needed for political reforms.
Post-pandemic expectations will reshape American culture. With both parties promoting their partisan interests at the expense of the common good, it’s amazing that there hasn’t already been a political revolt or economic crisis to transform American democracy. Polarized partisan politics will continue to threaten the fabric of American democracy unless a moral reformation promotes a politics of reconciliation that provides for the common good.
On the Great Resignation and increasing public expectations for better post-pandemic jobs, see Waves of Americans are leaving their jobs as part of the “the Great Resignation”. Here’s Why. https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2021/10/13/great-resignation-faq-quit-your-job/?utm_campaign=wp_post_most&utm_medium=email&utm_. See also, A record number of Americans are quitting their jobs. Here’s how they make money after they quit, at https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2021/10/14/getting-by-financially-quitting-job/. Also, The Great Resignation is Accelerating, at https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/10/great-resignation-accelerating/620382/. Also, Why are so many Americans quitting their jobs? See thttps://www.npr.org/sections/money/2021/10/19/1047032996/why-are-so-many-americans-quitting-their-jobs.
A recent Gallup Poll indicates a major shift in public opinion since last year in those who favored big government from 54% last year to 43% this year, while “54% now say they think that government is doing too many things that should be left to individuals and business.” According to Chris Calliza of CNN, “This is bad news for Joe Biden. He made a big bet on big government. Right now it’s not looking so great.” See https://www.cnn.com/2021/10/14/politics/gallup-poll-big-government-biden/index.html.
“Redistricting is just getting started around the country, but the first maps released suggest a coming decade of even more deeply entrenched partisanship for Congress.” See https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/redistricting-partisanship-fighting/2021/10/08/e765d50c-2522-11ec-8831-a31e7b3de188_story.html?utm_.