The argument of the political commentator Walter Russell Mead that the United States has reached an end-stage death match between liberal constituent groups has received widespread attention, especially in the conservative blogosphere. Mead, who teaches at Bard College, contends that The core institutions, ideas and expectations that shaped American life for the sixty years after the New Deal don’t work anymore. The gaps between the social system we inhabit and the one we now need are becoming so wide that we can no longer paper over them. In many respects, liberalism is a fat target. Dozens of city and state public employee pension plans are on the verge of bankruptcy – or are actually bankrupt – from Rhode Island to California; in 2010, a survey of 126 state and local plans showed assets of $2.7 trillion and liabilities of $3.5 trillion, an $800 billion shortfall. The national debt exceeds $16 trillion.
more from Tom Edsall at The Opinionater here.