By Fareed Zakaria
The politics of frustration and rage remains in U.S. politics, but “is most evident within the GOP’s dwindling base – its insurgents and anti-government crusaders, its ‘middle-aged white guys,’” argues Sam Tanenhaus, in a superb essay in The New Republic.
“They now form the party’s one solid bloc, its agitated concurrent voice, struggling not only against the facts of demography, but also with the country’s developing ideas of democracy and governance.”
The United States “is taking a big risk, to say the least, by turning to austerity policies right now,” suggests John Cassidy in the New Yorker.
“Contrary to popular belief, the country is not facing an immediate fiscal crisis. Since peaking in 2009, at 10.1 percent of the GDP, the budget deficit has been steadily declining. This year, according to the CBO, it will be 5.3 percent of the GDP, and next year it will be 3.7 percent. By 2015, it will be just 2.4 percent of the GDP, which is below what it averaged in the three decades prior to 2007.”
Is the usual notion of an ongoing population explosion in Muslim lands misplaced? David Ignatius, citing work by American Enterprise Institute economist Nicholas Eberstadt, wonders whether it could be in the Washington Post today.
“Using data for 49 Muslim-majority countries and territories, he found that fertility rates declined an average of 41 percent between 1975-80 and 2005-10, a deeper drop than the 33 percent decline for the world as a whole.
“Twenty-two Muslim countries and territories had fertility declines of 50 percent or more. The sharpest drops were in Iran, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Bangladesh, Tunisia, Libya, Albania, Qatar and Kuwait, which all recorded declines of 60 percent or more over three decades.”