We are seeing something like this again today. The welfare state arrangements that once seemed solid are on the path to unsustainability.
Entitlement programs -- Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid -- are threatening to gobble up the whole government and much of the private sector, as well.
Lifetime employment by one big company represented by one big union is a thing of the past. People who counted on corporate or public sector pensions are seeing them default.
Looking back, we are as far away in time today from victory in World War II in 1945 as Americans were at the time of the Dred Scott decision from the First Inaugural.
We are as far away in time today from passage of the Social Security in 1935 as Americans then were from the launching of post-Civil War Reconstruction.
Nevertheless our current president and most politicians of his party seem determined to continue the current welfare state arrangements -- historian Walter Russell Mead calls this the blue state model -- into the indefinite future.
Some leaders of the other party are advancing ideas for adapting a system that worked reasonably well in an industrial age dominated by seemingly eternal big units into something that can prove workable in an information age experiencing continual change and upheaval wrought by innovations in the market economy.
The current 76-year period is nearing its end. What will come next?
Michael Barone is--in my opinion--one of the truly honest political journalists out there. He's thoughtful, he looks carefully at the data, and he analyzes it.
This is an interesting idea--dividing American history into 76 years periods. But it seems pretty credible, to me. Be prepared, folks, none of the "old" periods had smooth transitions into the new...