Jeb Bush with his mother, the former first lady Barbara Bush, at a rally at West Running Brook Middle School in Derry, N.H., on Feb. 4. Credit Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

America Declines

In June, 2012, Jeb Bush said “We’re in decline.” Did he mean America, or his own family and the Republican establishment? If the latter, he was right. Maureen Dowd depicts the downfall of the House of Bush in her latest column, Escape from Bushworld, which concludes:

The country is now aflame with anger and disgust about politicians [like the Bushes] and bankers who conned trusting Americans and never got punished for it. That fury has led to the rise of wildly improbable candidates in both parties. As the Bush dynasty falls, it must watch in horror knowing that it is responsible for the rise of Donald Trump.

Jeb Bush was also right if he was speaking, as Frank Bruni says, about the decline of America. Andrew Cherlin reports that the economic well-being of much of the American population has been declining for decades:

The hourly wages of male high school graduates declined by 14 percent from 1973 to 2012, according to analysis of data from the Economic Policy Institute.

Cherlin thinks this economic decline, resulting in many people facing the discouraging reality that they are less successful than their parents, explains the rising death rate of less educated white Americans.

Paul Krugman explains in Cranks on Top that Marco Rubio’s demented ideas reflect the misguided thinking not of the hoi polloi, but of the Republican establishment.

The downfall of the “moderate” Republicans, the party’s inability to nominate a reasonable candidate, the delusional views of much of the population, failure to maintain the country’s infrastructure, wasting of resources in ill-advised and unsuccessful foreign adventures, and the economic decline of those below the upper middle class — all are signs, which few want to acknowledge — of a society falling apart.

(Kudos to the New York Times for providing the columns cited.)