I think the long-term political and economic outcome of what we are going through now will be positive or negative depending to a great extent on public opinion.
If we are encouraged to see this disaster as an opportunity to address some inhumane aspects of our political and economic systems it will be a net positive. Providing at least some semblance of equal opportunity, as well as quality education, housing, nutrition, and medical care doesn't seem like an insurmountable task for the "richest" country on earth. It will require a spirit of "we are all in this together" and some redistribution of wealth.
Given that those consumed with material wealth have been opposed to redistribution since money was invented it's likely (as we see currently) that the greediest will try to get us to blame each other so they can continue to exploit the poor, working and middle class.
So...really it's up to us. We can work for a better future for all of us or we can fight one another until eventually all of us lose.
Having said that, I have to say that if anyone were to read this blog they might assume I just like to throw rocks across the ideological fence at Republicans.
I see merit in many of the ideas the Republican party at one time in our history stood for. Individual responsibility, family values, efficient government, localized government to the greatest extent possible, the critical role of markets, respect for tradition and the importance of small businesses to a thriving economy - are all practical ideas.
When I criticize the Republican party I'm not talking about the Republican party of Dwight Eisenhower or Richard Nixon. I'm criticizing a party that Republicans who are informed by history and reality, know has drifted very very far from what it once was.
As a Democrat married to a Republican I can speak from personal experience to say that my wife and my individual values have not changed since we met in 1972. The Republican party on the other hand has changed so drastically that as a famous Republican once said - I didn't leave the party it left me.
We need yin and yang, conservative and liberal, we need two viable parties to work together and keep each other in check. Let's all hope that the Republican party finds it's way back to the great party it once was.