Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Is the "American Dream" dead or dying?

PJ is having an interesting look at his beloved USA.

A Decade of Self-Delusion
By Patrick J. Buchanan
Tuesday, December 29, 2009

About the first decade of what was to be the Second American Century, the pessimists have been proven right.

According to the International Monetary Fund, the United States began the century producing 32 percent of the world's gross domestic product. We ended the decade producing 24 percent. No nation in modern history, save for the late Soviet Union, has seen so precipitous a decline in relative power in a single decade.

The United States began the century with a budget surplus. We ended with a deficit of 10 percent of gross domestic product, which will be repeated in 2010. Where the economy was at full employment in 2000, 10 percent of the labor force is out of work today and another 7 percent is underemployed or has given up looking for a job.

Between one-fourth and one-third of all U.S. manufacturing jobs have disappeared in 10 years, the fruits of a free-trade ideology that has proven anything but free for this country. Our future is being outsourced -- to China.

While the median income of American families was stagnant, the national debt doubled.

The dollar lost half its value against the euro. Once the most self-sufficient republic in history, which produced 96 percent of all it consumed, the U.S.A. is almost as dependent on foreign nations today for manufactured goods, and the loans to pay for them, as we were in the early years of the republic.

What the British were to us then, China is today.

Beijing holds the mortgage and grows impatient as we endlessly borrow on equity and refuse to begin paying it down. The possibility exists of an eventual run on the dollar or even a U.S. debt default.

Who did this to us? We did it to ourselves.

We sold ourselves a lot of snake oil about the Global Economy, interdependence, free trade and "it doesn't make any difference where goods are produced." The George W. Bush Republicans ran up the deficit with tax cuts, two wars and a splurge in social spending to rival the guns-and-butter of the Great Society.

Abandoning its role as the fellow who comes and takes away the punch bowl when the party's getting good, the Fed kept the money flowing fast and free, creating the tech bubble that burst in Y2K and the stock and housing bubble that burst at decade's end.

To pull us back from the cliff's edge, over which we were headed a year ago, the Fed doubled the money supply, while the administration ran up deficit spending to the highest level since World War II.

Unlike World War II, however, there is no end in sight to these deficits.

The stock market, which flat-lined over the decade, had to surge 50 percent in 2009 to retrieve the worst losses since the Depression.

Everyone, it seems, except for Washington bureaucrats and Wall Street, for whom the bonuses never seem to stop, has been hammered by the sinking home values and shrinking portfolios.

After Sept. 11, the nation was united behind a president as it had not been since Pearl Harbor. But instead of focusing on the enemies who did this to us, we took Osama bin Laden's bait and plunged into a war in Iraq that bled and divided us, alienated Europe and the Arab world, and destroyed the Republican Party's reputation as the reliable custodian of national security and foreign policy.

The party paid -- with the loss of both houses in 2006 and the presidency in 2008 -- but the nation has not stopped paying.

With nearly 200,000 troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and another 30,000 more on the way, al-Qaida is now in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and North Africa, while the huge U.S. military presence in Afghanistan and Iraq serves as its recruiting poster.

Again, it is not a malevolent fate that has done this to us. We did it to ourselves. We believed all that hubristic blather about our being the "greatest empire since Rome," the "indispensable nation" and "unipolar power" advancing to "benevolent global hegemony" in a series of "cakewalk" wars to "end tyranny in our world."

After a decade of self-delusion and self-indulgence, we must stop deceiving ourselves. As Hurricane Katrina demonstrated, the "can-do" nation that won World War II in Europe and the Pacific in less than four years, that put a man on the moon in the same decade JFK said we would, is history.

We have a government that cannot balance its books, defend its borders or win its wars. And what is it now doing? Drafting another entitlement program as we are informed that the Social Security and Medicare trust funds have unfunded liabilities in the trillions.

At the end of the first decade of the 21st century, the question is not whether we will preside over the creation of a New World Order, but whether America's decline is irreversible.

12 Opinion(s):

Dachshund said...

I don't think the USA is quite as dead as all that. For sure trillions were printed to bail out banks but most have repaid the Fed by now.

China has to hang onto US bonds however reluctantly, or else the situation will explode in their own faces.

If Obama makes health care reform work he will have succeeded not only where other presidents failed but where they didn't really dare venture in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Really good article which sums up where the USA finds itself - on a downward spiral. The once mighty nation that threw it in everyone's face how fantastic their democratic way of life is and how everyone should strive to live like them, is now reaping what it sewed. They have a bunch of liberal maxists in government who has just socialised their health care. The government can now decide who gets medical treatment and who doesn't and also prescribes that everyone buys a healthcare plan, whether they want one or not. This is against the constitution where healthcare doesn't even feature. Make no mistake, if the citizens don't wake up soon then the USA is going to be in big trouble and Obama is going to be the final nail in their coffin.

Anonymous said...

Obama making anything work is like asking Malema to say somehting that does not sound stupid. Dachshund are you a liberal?

Vanilla Ice said...

@Anon 6:50. I imagine you use the term "liberal" as an obscenity. It is classic for people to view everything through one lens, either conservative or liberal.

This is nonesense. You can be both, depending on the topic. I can be anti-immigration, pro-life, anti-theistic and pro-Israel all at the same time. In fact both terms are redundant.

So unless you are implying Dachs must somehow be "fucked up" because she seems pro-Obama, which you obviously aren't, please explain yourself or just come out and ask the question that your really want to ask.

Dachshund said...

I'm not pro or anti Obama. I'm just interested to see how things will work out after the disastrous couple of years we've all experienced.

To compare Obama with Malema is really taking things a bit far.

Islandshark said...

@ Anon 6:50pm - I have to agree.

Talk about the biggest socialist in USA history. He bullshitted everybody from day one. All except those with some common sense.

If you ever wanted one reason why national health doesn't work, look at UK. Just another excuse to give some more benefits to those not interested in lifting their arses to work. And the elderly who paid taxes their whole lives are sidelined.

How the hell does anybody still believe in Alli-bongo-tele-bama?

Anonymous said...

Pat Buchanan doesn´t address the real reasons behind America´s collapse, the zionist conspiracy led by the jews.
But then one can´t blame him, as he would be branded an anti-semite and hounded out of his cushy job. Th anti-semite card is the most powerful weapon ever devised. Together with the atom bomb, it will ultimately allow for the occupation of the entire planet, or at least what´s left of it when the dust has finally settled.

Viking said...

It seems getting called a liberal these days in on a par with being called a racist!
I sure find it even more offensive, a bit like being called a communist...

Anyone who is against social engineering should be socially liberal i.e. tolerant of others' views and lifestyles (i.e. even when we don't like them). Doesn't mean I am not economically right-wing or weak on terrorism or Islam.
And not hating someone enough doesn't make you "pro-" it. Tolerance doesn't mean you have to like it ...

Islandshark said...

@ Viking - yet we all know most liberals are the most intolerant people on the planet.

Viking said...

no argument from me on that one....

Islandshark said...

I think VI is correct - certain terms have become obsolete, some because of misuse / abuse.

Vanilla Ice said...

'We believed all that hubristic blather about our being the "greatest empire since Rome,"'

Therein lies the truth.