Poll: 39% of Americans see the nation in permanent decline

A CBS News/New York Times Poll shows the American public in a gloomy mood about the nation's future and, in general, buying the argument that increased austerity and system-wrecking are the nation's best hope.  "Assessments of the economy remain poor, and 39% now think the U.S. economy may never full recover, an increase of 11 points since last fall.  Only 20% think the economy is improving, the lowest percentage since last summer.

Despite economic concerns, less than half the public thinks the government should spend money to create jobs, even if it has to borrow to do so. Just over half think the government should focus on lowering the national debt instead."
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Tearing down crucial institutions, shedding the cost of caring for society's most endangered citizens, distributing wealth only to the top layers of the populace, and abandoning the key principles of "liberty and justice for all" -- all these are symptoms of what Chalmers Johnson called "the sorrows of empire."  (Are we there yet?)

[The painting is Thomas Cole's "The Course of Empire: Destruction," 1836.]