Another Echo of the Carter Years

Another respect in which the Age of Obama resembles the Jimmy Carter years has started to emerge. As it has become clear that the economy will not rebound dramatically by Election Day, the media are going to Plan B: telling us that an era of diminished expectations and relative poverty isn’t really so bad, once we get used to it.

If the president is a Republican, $4 a gallon gasoline is a disaster that takes food off the tables of the working poor. Not so if the president is a Democrat. Now, expensive gasoline is just the price we pay for transitioning to a glorious future of green energy. Plus, as CNN assures us, gas isn’t really as expensive as it looks; and it isn’t hurting us as much as we think; and the whole thing is being ginned up by politicians; and we really should just stop complaining about the price of gasoline.

Then there is the blow that the Obama administration has dealt to our young people. An entire generation is being deprived of employment opportunities by a sluggish economy, in which the federal government does just about everything it can think of to suppress growth and kill jobs. No wonder that an unprecedented number of young people, who in normal times would be starting careers and families, are instead living with their parents. But, hey–the Minneapolis Star Tribune tells us–there are lots of advantages to living with Mom and Dad: “Went to college, now living at home — and liking it.” Why, once you get used to it, it’s really better than having a place of your own! And who needs a job, when you have parents?

We’re going to be seeing more and more of this kind of thing as November approaches. Just as, during the Carter administration, the media were full of injunctions to get used to the idea that the United States was in decline, and that the current generation would not be able to live as well as their parents, and just stop complaining; likewise, one of the media’s messages during the last year of the Age of Obama will be that there is a lot to be said for chronic unemployment and a declining standard of living.

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