The upside of the downside: A recession can provide some welcome self-correction

Edward Gibbon’s theory of the fall of the Roman Empire has come in for some revision over the years, but his basic thesis still has merit. The Romans became so wealthy they lost the civic and martial virtues that built the empire in the first place. They in effect contracted out the hard work of civilization that allows civilization to continue. …

And while I hope we can get back to having the problems of a rich country really soon, it’s worth pausing to appreciate America’s capacity for self-correction and the fact that many of the problems we had over the last couple decades were good problems to have. …

Instead of a tsunami of political support for Obamacare and government unions, we got the Tea Party and the rollback of public-sector collective bargaining. Instead of massive support for Obama’s green agenda, the air is thick with calls for more drilling, more fracking, and more Keystone pipelines. It turns out the “new progressive era” was just too pricey.