Can Americans Trust Government Again?
Contrary to what we hear from Republicans, America did not lose its way in the past few years. It lost its way a generation ago when it abandoned its faith in government.
Conventional wisdom has it that come November the 2012 presidential election will be determined by the state of the economy. Actually, the real battle will be over a much older fundamental ideological issue in American politics: what role government should play in shaping our future. This special issue of The Nation is dedicated to bringing the debate about government front and center as the presidential race heats up.
Anti-government ideologues are on a tear, passionately advocating austerity and smaller government as the cure for the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Apparently following the dictum that you should never let a crisis go to waste, they are spinning the recession to promote their pet causes, such as destroying “Obamacare” and weakening public sector unions. As a result, the stakes this November are higher than in any election since Ronald Reagan unseated Jimmy Carter in 1980.