Good piece from last month in the Washington Post. This guy really gets the whole principal of seasonality within the saeculum. The very political coalitions that tend to prosper during a Second Turning (Awakening)and Third Turning (Unraveling)—those which win by outbidding the others on how much they can distribute pleasure, borrow from the future, and undermine institutional barriers—guarantee that the whole system has to be smashed to smithereens before it can be rebuilt. Right now, we have politicians in power whose entire political careers have been built around the wrong logic for a Fourth Turning (Crisis).
One important way in which the federal problem is much worse than the California problem is that states have natural circuit breakers: Most of them have constitutional prohibitions of general-interest deficit-financing, and even if those can be circumvented, state governments can’t print money. The federal government has no circuit breaker, so the national problem can grow to economically catastrophic proportions without any of us feeling anything. This is another interesting aspect of policymaking in the 2T and 4rd Turning eras: The deliberate removal of circuit breakers, like getting rid of fixed exchange rates to foster cross-border investment or getting rid economic regulation to maximize the productivity of labor and capital. The old regime forced people to come to terms with imbalances before they become dangerous precisely because they introduced inefficient kinks or bottlenecks into the system. Alarm bells went off that people would have to deal with. Today, we’ve removed all the speed bumps.