I like Bob Herbert. He mostly speaks for me in this column about America’s sinking economic fortunes. I’m not too sure what would be so awful if America were to be like Germany – I guess Herbert means that America would be consigned to lower average growth in GDP. Herbert says that America’s economic problems have been made worse by trade agreements, but does not specify what he means. But Herbert’s tone of urgency and concern strike me as apt, and the long list of major problems awaiting solution seems equally apt.
A propos of nothing, I much prefer the earnestness of Herbert to the monotonous light-heartedness of Gail Collins, who nevertheless must be quite smart and who has just published a book about the changed place of women in American society since 1960 that sounds like it is well worth reading. But I find the tone of her columns insufferable. If she wrote in that tone 1/3 of the time, I could abide it.
Back to Herbert and my hobby-horse of the moment, America’s outdated constitution, it occurs to me that if there were a major movement of complaint about the excessive powers of the senate and the overrepresentation of a small part of the US population that the senate represents, then senators might be moved to behave differently, even if the constitution cannot be changed. Civics textbooks should be rewritten in such a way as to make it clear that the powers of the unrepresentative senate are unusual in a contemporary democratic state.