I started another thread to try and get people to relish the history unfolding before them in the debt ceiling battle. I didn't really expect it to turn into a debate on the debt ceiling, but that's ok. To expand my original point however, I think we have a front row seat to a rare event, the passing of an era and the birth of a new era. Let's look at modern history. I would divide it into three "eras." First, there was the "Era of the Great Depression." It was the life-molding experience of our parents and grandparents, who would later be called the "Greatest Generation" because of their courage and tenacity. The Depression taught them to abhor debt, to value a steady job above all else, to avoid risk and to fear the dislocations of pure capitalism. They were desperate and they were tough, qualities that in history often produced despotic leaders. We got FDR, who was equally revered and loathed. He pushed through his "New Deal", a radical leftwing package of social engineering and big government activism. It wasn't enough to bootstrap us out of the Great Depression, but WW II did the trick. That lead to the second era. The post WW II years were the "Era of American Dominance." We friggin' ruled. Europe was flat on its back and totally dependent on us. The Marshal Plan to rebuild europe was a giant subsidy to US industry because realistically, who else was going to be able to supply the stuff to rebuild? Europe's factories were bombed out. Japan was bombed out too. China was struggling to feed itself. Over the next 25 odd years, the US prospered mightily. We got a little too big for our britches however, and foolishly became ensnared in a war of attrition in vietnam. We compounded that error by a radical increase in the size and scope of govenrment under LBJ's ironically titled Great Society. We hit bottom in the 1970's, with democrats moving far to the left and destroying the national consensus to oppose communist aggression. Jimmy Carter came to symbolize the face of defeatism, domestically and abroad. American "dominance" had become a bad joke. Ronald Regean's election in 1980 brought in a new era, one that I will call the "Era of Leverage." I love Reagan, I credit him with saving our country or at least buying us 25 years to right the ship, but his term did see a radical change in economics. We had forgotten the lesson of debt avoidance. Instead, we eagerly lapped up the idea that we could buy now and pay later. Financial service firms were as happy to oblige us as were the congress and Treasury. This was the age of Michael Milken, the original junk bond king. A soaring stock market gave rise to a soaring real estate market, and the head of the Fed became a rock star. When the shit hit the fan in 2000, we doubled down and bought ourselves another 8 years of mania, fuled by , what else, leverage. Now we appear to be transitioning to a new era. Let's call it the "Era of the Tea Party." It will be an era that recognizes limits. It will be one that our ancestors would recognize, one in which leverage is seen as foolish and dangerous. Like the transitional period between other eras, it is likely to be bumpy. Hopefully, another world war will not mark it. Certainly, political war will be pervasive. Barrack Obama, three years removed form being hailed as a transitional figure himself, is now seen as a relic of the last era, trying desperately to stitch together some dodge that will get him past the election. His demagogic defense of failed, big government programs sounds curiously tone deaf. Dude, we have so moved on from there. Or maybe we haven't. Time will tell.