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Is the U.S. heading past the point of no return?

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  • Is the U.S. heading past the point of no return?

    I've been reading a few of these threads lately around here and it seems a couple of things have become pretty apparent, at least to me:
    • The U.S. is drowning in massive debt that we will not be able to repay for a long, long time. 10 trillion+ in national debt with no end in sight, and red ink stretching into the foreseeable future. Our government is addicted to massive borrowing from creditor nations to stay afloat and maintain the status quo.
    • Lack of political will to seriously reign in spending to control spiraling deficits/debt and the long term viability of our economy.
    • The world is waving goodbye to dollar hegemony, most critically, oil transactions (especially in mideast) are moving away from the dollar. There is also the rapidly approaching loss of our reserve currency status towards a basket of currencies, or some IMF drawn unit.
    • We are behind in education, especially in science and the studies needed to remain technologically superior to emerging great powers.
    • A costly, massive, and unsustainable military empire spanning the globe. The U.S is currently in 2 active (and expensive) wars that will continue for years, and an ongoing global war on terrorism.
    • Much of our former industrial might is now on life support, while China is now at the world's center of manufacturing and industry.


    These are but a handful of examples, but it appears our time in the sun has passed and its going to be a very bumpy ride before its over. If I had to make a prediction for the coming decade(s), this would be it:
    • The debt-ridden, inflation saddled U.S. economy implodes at some point due to unsustainable debt and spending on credit.
      U.S. armed forces shrink dramatically in size as they are recalled from around the globe.
    • There will be a global world 'soft depression' as it arranges itself to move beyond U.S. dominance and dependence. This is also coupled with the loss of our superpower status and other nations look towards more regional alliances for security to fill the power vacuum.
    • China becomes world's #1 economy, assuming that even 1\4 of its population spends like U.S. citizens do. It's influence, military prowess, and superpower aspirations will become evident. They will lead the world in research and investment in clean energies (demonstrated by $600 billion investment already). Regional rivalry with great power, India.
    • Increased tension between all great powers over dwindling world oil supplies (particularly in the mideast), including potential nuclear arms races among Gulf nations. This is due to the slow, but inevitable transition to renewable energies and the rearranging of corporate/government power structures to support it.
    • Emergent North American trading bloc (NAFTA) to restart and buoy U.S. and regional economic recovery and to facilitate competitiveness with other blocs. Further development of other continental trade blocs (EU, AL, SCO, etc...)


    Thoughts?
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  • #2
    Re: Is the U.S. heading past the point of no return?

    Nah. America will no longer be the center of the world but that was never going to last.

    Life will still get better over time for at least my kids lifetime. Why? Because more people all over the world are working to make their lives better. And it will be best in America because our government, even though it appears draconian to some in this country, is still, and will remain, mostly hands off.

    What we really have to worry about is the end of the world in 2013. If we get past that all is gravy.
    Iím not racists, I have republican friends. Radio show host.
    - "The essence of tyranny is the denial of complexity". -Jacob Burkhardt
    - "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" - Emerson
    - "People should not be afraid of it's government, government should be afraid of it's People." - Line from V for Vendetta
    - If software were as unreliable as economic theory, there wouldn't be a plane made of anything other than paper that could get off the ground. Jim Fawcette
    - "Let me now state what seems to me the decisive objection to any conservatism which deserves to be called such. It is that by its very nature it cannot offer an alternative to the direction in which we are moving." -Friedrich Hayek
    - "Don't waist your time on me your already the voice inside my head." Blink 182 to my wife

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    • #3
      Re: Is the U.S. heading past the point of no return?

      I agree, I think the world in general things will be okay in the long term but:

      And it will be best in America because our government, even though it appears draconian to some in this country, is still, and will remain, mostly hands off.
      Can you go into more detail? How will it remain 'hands off'?
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      • #4
        Re: Is the U.S. heading past the point of no return?

        I think you're mostly correct - the debt-ridden U.S. economy already imploded - or at least stood at the precipise and stuck a leg out. The economy is currently being backstopped by the government in two big ways - the propping up (in terms of money and words) of the largest investment banks and injections of federal money into infrastructure projects around the country. This isn't really much of an experiment, it will work, but there are larger questions about how quickly the credit markets will start to provide some buoyancy to the economy again.

        Regarding the broader predictions about the geo-political climate, oil and defense strategy, I think there's reason for optimism. This may sound strange, but I truly believe that the information age is slowly (as in generationally) changing the human species. It used to be that power over a population could be attained and held simply by controlling the flow of information. This is still occuring in many places around the globe (you mentioned China, which is a major example of this), but it is slowly eroding. Education combined with access to information is going to change the world. It is an unstoppable force.

        Specifically regarding oil, oil's time is up. The Cheney-ite belief that oil can rule forever is not widely held. There have been major developments in alternative energy around the globe, especially in Europe, and this trend will continue as long as fossil fuels remain expensive - which they will forever.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Is the U.S. heading past the point of no return?

          Originally posted by aeroripper View Post
          Can you go into more detail? How will it remain 'hands off'?
          Not "hands off" but "more hands off than most".

          The longer a government stays around the more it becomes an integral part of ones life. It is a maturation process that seems to be a part of human nature.

          But America is kinda unique in that we have a very healthy fantasy life. Most people believe themselves to be independent of the government (one of the fantasies but not the only one). A strong attachment to a fantasy leads to them resisting any intrusions by reality. So in effect the fantasy leads to the government actually not being as involved. Or only being involved in the periphery of their senses.

          Those two facts, the government becoming more integral over time yet having to operate at the edges of individual perception, leads to what AMosely points out. The powerful entities become the main player in the government and the individual gets tossed about by the storm raised when they tussle.
          Iím not racists, I have republican friends. Radio show host.
          - "The essence of tyranny is the denial of complexity". -Jacob Burkhardt
          - "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" - Emerson
          - "People should not be afraid of it's government, government should be afraid of it's People." - Line from V for Vendetta
          - If software were as unreliable as economic theory, there wouldn't be a plane made of anything other than paper that could get off the ground. Jim Fawcette
          - "Let me now state what seems to me the decisive objection to any conservatism which deserves to be called such. It is that by its very nature it cannot offer an alternative to the direction in which we are moving." -Friedrich Hayek
          - "Don't waist your time on me your already the voice inside my head." Blink 182 to my wife

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Is the U.S. heading past the point of no return?

            What's funny is how during Bush's reign, I remember my Democrat friends (who LOVED Obama) would constantly complain about the massive deficit Bush was causing. Funny how they don't mention it now that their homey has tripled that deficit in under a year. Lol.
            "Common sense is not so common." -Voltaire

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Is the U.S. heading past the point of no return?

              Originally posted by AMosely View Post
              Specifically regarding oil, oil's time is up. The Cheney-ite belief that oil can rule forever is not widely held. There have been major developments in alternative energy around the globe, especially in Europe, and this trend will continue as long as fossil fuels remain expensive - which they will forever.
              There are some serious issues with the dollar and oil trading though. The last time a mid eastern country tried to switch to the Euro, we invaded them. Iran switched over to the Euro last month, and it seems many of the oil producing Arab nations are going to move away from the dollar entirely (including the Saudis that give us such a bargain discount on our imported oil).

              They will convert much of their dollar reserves into a stronger currency like the Euro or Yuan, and countries will no longer be interested in carrying our debt, not like we are gonna be able pay it back anyways. Bad news bear!

              http://priceofoil.org/2009/10/06/oil...ch-the-dollar/

              Originally posted by El_Gringo_Grande View Post
              Those two facts, the government becoming more integral over time yet having to operate at the edges of individual perception, leads to what AMosely points out. The powerful entities become the main player in the government and the individual gets tossed about by the storm raised when they tussle.
              Good points.

              Originally posted by War.mongeR1 View Post
              What's funny is how during Bush's reign, I remember my Democrat friends (who LOVED Obama) would constantly complain about the massive deficit Bush was causing. Funny how they don't mention it now that their homey has tripled that deficit in under a year. Lol.
              Yes, partisan hackery is fun.

              Bush

              1) First we had to go into Afghanistan, which (from any historical perspective) would be a long and expensive war. The surplus from the Clinton years could be used, along with care not to significantly raise our deficits while its fought. The global war on terror also demands funding. It is a manageable amount of spending with good fiscal policy.

              Bush gives tax cuts in 2001.

              2) Then Bush decided to start a 1 trillion+ war of choice in Iraq without raising taxes to actually pay for it. This might help with our long term energy needs, which is assuming Iraq sticks with the US Dollar for oil trading and gives us a good deal. This war is charged to our national credit card.

              Bush gives tax cuts again in 2003.

              3) Then Bush proceeded to significantly expand the Mediccare entitlement program (part D), without raising taxes to pay for it once again. It's mid-long terms costs will be in the tens of trillions especially as baby boomers retire. This is charged to our national credit card since we are already unable to pay for Iraq and other expenses.

              4) The $700 billion TARP is passed towards the end of his term to prevent economic collapse. Put on national credit card.

              5) National debt passes 10 trillion dollars and continues to rise.

              Obama

              1) Obama passes bailouts, which by some estimates will cost more than 10 trillion dollars. Put on national credit card.

              2) Obama passes $787 billion stimulus to help repair crumbling national infrastructure. Put on national credit card.

              3) Potential public option health care which could cost up to 1 trillion over 10 years, assuming it passes. Put on national credit card.

              Potential health care reform brings long term sustainability to welfare entitlement programs. Assuming we are able to pay off current massive levels of debt.

              4) Obama escalates Afghanistan war, costs continue to rise. Put on national credit card.

              5) National debt will hit 12 trillion this year and continue to climb for the foreseeable future.

              Obama 'plans' to take measures to bring down the deficit after the economy recovers, which I am assuming means raising taxes which will get him booted out of office in the next election.

              I don't see us realistically being able to pay off our debt unless there are MASSIVE cuts in government spending and leadership that actually has real fiscal conservatism (which both parties don't have, or at least anyone who would actually get elected).
              Last edited by aeroripper; 10-16-2009, 07:51 PM. Reason: spelling
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              • #8
                Re: Is the U.S. heading past the point of no return?

                Originally posted by War.mongeR1 View Post
                What's funny is how during Bush's reign, I remember my Democrat friends (who LOVED Obama) would constantly complain about the massive deficit Bush was causing. Funny how they don't mention it now that their homey has tripled that deficit in under a year. Lol.
                I personally loved the sweet reality that was biting most conservatives in the butt.

                Typically the democrats would expand government too much during their rein and then the republicans would come in and say "We will fix this! We are tough mean conservatives and will whip this government into shape fiscally (and a bit socially)."

                Of course once they where in power they would start to understand that most people really, truly needed much of the programs so they couldn't cut nearly as much as they wanted. But they would try and some belt tightening would happen and some taxes would go down a bit. At the same time loosen some regulations to let the rich party a bit. But then they would get kicked out for being such huge dicks and the cycle would continue.

                But with Bush et al they completely screwed the pooch! They actually increased government spending. Even created huge new programs NOT for the military! Of course it was all a ploy to have republicans be the long term power holder and not the occasional responsible but hated parent. Unfortunately they got a bit tipsy on all the power. They let all the fat cats just go crazy and get super duper rich.

                The democrats are not innocent in any of this. They where complete pussies during all but the last few days of the bush years. At least some of the deficit spending could have been prevented if they played the true opposition and questioned the Iraq invasion. They put up almost no resistance to the tax cuts. They also looked the other way when the house lending regulation "relaxing" where moving some of their middle and lower class constituents into McMansions....

                But mainly I blame the republicans. Yes, democrats act like children some times. But they are supposed to. They represent the part of the American psyche that wants everything for nothing. They aren't supposed to be all concerned with the check book, they are concerned with making things fun and balancing things out.

                That is their role.

                The republicans role is to step in and be fiscally responsible. And they failed. They where to busy being titillated by boys kissing each other. To busy worrying about things they don't understand like embryonic stem cell research. They took their eye off the ball.

                Come on. Everybody has a role. I have to save for college/retirement and make sure the bills are paid. My wife makes sure our kids have a childhood that they will remember with some fondness. Each role is very important.

                That is my story.

                But there is a confusion now. Nobody seems to know what role to play.
                Iím not racists, I have republican friends. Radio show host.
                - "The essence of tyranny is the denial of complexity". -Jacob Burkhardt
                - "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" - Emerson
                - "People should not be afraid of it's government, government should be afraid of it's People." - Line from V for Vendetta
                - If software were as unreliable as economic theory, there wouldn't be a plane made of anything other than paper that could get off the ground. Jim Fawcette
                - "Let me now state what seems to me the decisive objection to any conservatism which deserves to be called such. It is that by its very nature it cannot offer an alternative to the direction in which we are moving." -Friedrich Hayek
                - "Don't waist your time on me your already the voice inside my head." Blink 182 to my wife

                Comment

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