For a while now, the divide between rich and poor has gotten bigger, but it "hasn't sparked an outright political revolt," writes Reihan Salam in the Atlantic. That could change soon. Our fragile, 20-year "consumption compromise"—the era of cheap goods and cheap credit keeping economic discontent at bay among the working class—has come undone. With the cost of living rising and workers feeling the pinch, a frustrated electorate is looking for a man with a plan—and coming up short.
Sure, the GOP promises to "Drill, Baby, Drill" to lower gas prices, but "what will they do to address skyrocketing food prices and health care premiums," writes Salam. As for the Dems' promise of redistribution, "can an increased flow of transfers keep up with the rising cost of a middle-class life without choking off economic growth?" It won't do the right or the left much good to try to restore the consumption compromise; it's time for them to "do nothing less than rethink our way of life."