I disagree with the diagnosis. Education is not breaking the fisc. Its medical services, where increases in productivity increase demand to no natural boundary. We would all chose to live forever together, if we could.
Also disagree with application of the "cost desease" concept. A significant portion of growth in the share of services in the economy may be due simply to monetization of services previously rendered within households and communities without exchange of money.
America is going to have to stop paying doctors whatever they ask.
At some point medical expenditures stop benefiting society as a whole more than the other spending or saving that is avoided by directing money into medicine. At that point government should be out of the medical business.
The current open-ended medical entitlement is poorly designed because medics can invent an infinite amount of ways to improve and maintain health and stave off death at an infinite cost. There is no theoretical limit to the resources that could be committed to complying with a doctor's ethical obligation to the patient.
The ethical dimension is making it very difficult to reform the medical entitlement. However, we need to face the fact that at some point we have to let the sick and the old die.
A.T., I agree. Inequality of opportunity, uneven flow of history, mismatch between social and economic rhythms - there are many disbalancing forces operating on the country. Government policy needs to smooth many of those out temporarily to keep cohesion. However, a country that does not produce, for whatever reason, will fail eventually and will have to reorganize and reconstitute.
The problem with the Republican small government attitude is that they dont think government can or should have this balancing function, that the market should fix it. The market is a huge but limited social force. For a gigantic economy that depends on world-wide interests, effectively projected military power, massive immigration, and capital flexibility, that is just reckless. Its like saying that if you can drive a tractor, you can fly a jumbo jet.
All the fun with statistics on both sides is pointing at a real point that Romney seems to be making in earnest - he values hard work and is repelled by the idea of handouts. I suspect most people writing and commenting here share this value on a personal level, even if they would not necessarily vote Republican.
The personal, however, does not scale directly to society as a whole. The US society and economy are much more complex than a single individual and her budget. The biggest economy in the world cannot be maintained with the level of internal coherence that would be minimal for a person to just be called sane. It has to have diversity of focus and direction, exhibit conflict dynamics and competition for resources, and a high rate of internal transformation.
To run such a hot system without there must be many safety nets for actual people that may be riding high one decade and destitute the next and visa versa. The difference between the value of personal responsibility and the value of government as a safety net and the bellow of the vibrant social and economic dynamics is what Romney's comment seems to be deaf to. It is the kind of idealistic prescription an amateur would give. It offers a metaphor as a way forward without the comfort of being wise advice
Wholeheartedly agree. Non-linear thinking and logic is the next "paradigm shift" in the theory of knowledge. Our data processing capabilities are enabling a completely different perspective of concepts of causality, facticity and identity. Unfortunately, contemporary philosophers simply dont know enough science and math to express the new dynamic.