Gilded Age of Austerity breaks down - Page 2

Contemplating the federal government shutdown, strikes by Bay Area transit agencies, and political dysfunction

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Activists perform a "die in" outside the SF Federal Building on Oct. 16 to protest the government shutdown.
AP Photo by Jeff Chiu


BART managers argue that the district has offered enough and that the rest of the money is needed for its ambitious expansion plans, but there should have been a solution here somewhere short of ultimatums (strike vs. the district's "last, best, and final offer"). When the center still held, before the new Gilded Age fused with the Age of Austerity, people of goodwill could find common ground.

Maybe we'll pull ourselves back from the brink and learn our lessons. Or maybe we've entered the endgame, a place where the desperation of those living in the Age of Austerity finally matches the greed and self-interest of those living in the Gilded Age, where one must defeat the other to survive, like two fighting birds plummeting to the ground in a death spiral.

And if that's the case, are we ready for the next era? Have we sown our seeds and tended our gardens? It took World War Two to really get us out of the Great Depression, and I'd like to think we've evolved since then. But given recent events I'm not so sure.