Letters to the Editor

Government styles oscillate by eras

American government was right-wing for decades before the Great Depression of the 1930s. Then it became left-wing for several decades until globalization hit in the 1970s. Government has been right-wing since then. In general terms the government oscillates between eras favoring the supply side (businesses and investors) and the demand side (workers and consumers).

The pattern has been that the government switches from one side of the political spectrum to the other about every 35 years. These paradigm shifts are marked by notable presidential elections, as with those of Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan. Unfortunately, the last president of each era is seen as “failed,” as with Herbert Hoover and Jimmy Carter, good men both.

We are in the midst of a swing now. It has been 35 years since Reagan’s first inauguration. In presidential terms the switch has likely already happened. Barack Obama might be the first president of the incipient neo-liberal era while George W. Bush could turn out to be the unfortunate last president of the neo-conservative era.

The “conservative” era solved the problem of modernizing American businesses to fit the new globalized world economy. But by focusing so much on the supply side, “conservative” government has failed to address the problems that afflict our people.

Transitions are never easy, smooth or quiet. Long ago the shifts involved duels, violence or civil war. Today we have to contend with belching demagogues blaring on TV.

Stephen Jellen, Edwardsville