Is it any wonder that the president has acknowledged the fact that his biggest mistake so far has been his failure to translate what has been happening to us in America into a “narrative,” as he calls it? As readers of this “Commentary” know, I count myself as one American who believes we have been living through epochal times since about September 2008. That’s when we discovered that the “old American economy” that enabled my generation to have what it has, is over. My generation (and perhaps the post WW II boomers who followed) is the last to leave its children better off than we were by our parents.
September 2008 was a time that had to come. The “have without paying for it” economy couldn’t last. My friend Cong. Jim Jones (D-OK) and I created Americans for Generational Equity in 1984 because we believed this time would come. If any of you were in the audience at graduation from St. Olaf College in 1984, you heard me speak of my gift of debt to you. Well, now you know the narrative I wish President Obama understood well enough to convey to Americans. As he struggled with the tough decisions involved in stopping a recession from becoming a depression by taking a federal government stake in failing industries and jobs that were no longer producing value; having to find a way to end the spending on two world wars that had no good purpose and whose narrative proved fallacious at best; while the Republican Party dedicated itself to defeating both efforts.