Sunday, March 06, 2005

Is America going broke?

A friend sent a "must read" article ("Is America Going Broke?") from the historic Canadian publication Macleans (which is celebrating its 100th year). The rest of my friend's preamble said:
"Excellent piece on the financial crisis our country is facing from the Canadian perspective. The author and the economists he quotes paint a very scary picture that effects [sic] interest rates, unemployment, real estate markets, the value of the dollar, health care costs, education costs, etc."
This article does tie these threads together, and as my friend also noted, does not require you to be an economist to understand it. It was both powerful and easily digestible.

The article does not shy away from allowing Mr. Bush or the U.S. to appear in a bad light. That is, it does not apply what now seems like the standard Americorporate media kid glove treatment that is bastardizing the objective recording of the events of these times. There was mention that recent budgets have been put forth fallaciously, lacking estimates for war costs, but there was no mention of the Pentagon as an inordinate suck on the U.S. budget. There was no accounting for the economic fallout of the supposedly inevitable terror attack we're told to expect here in America, nor was the connection made between Pentagon behavior and incentive to attack the U.S.

There is always going to be something that is outside the scope of whatever one is writing. As I read this article, I kept hoping I'd find a section on Peak Oil. The number of threads woven together was indeed comprehensive but not all inclusive. I thought of a phrase I'd recently used somewhere else: You can tell no lies and still not tell the truth. This is not about nitpicking but rather further defining ruthless honesty. No discussion of global economic factors is complete without Peak Oil.

The current hot topic within the economic sphere is Social Security. This manufactured crisis is forcing a frame of legitimacy around forecasts 30 or more years in the future. Current uncertainties, awaiting the tipping point of chaos, make adopting such distant predictions laughable at best. How can we have a serious discussion about the world in 2040 when our willful ignorance precludes considering the end of air travel (a real potential ripple of Peak Oil)? Or the privatization of water? Or the corporate control of crop seeds? Or the weaponization of space? Or the likelihood of unabashed totalitarianism or revolution or both in one or more major industrialized nation, including the U.S.?

Is America Going Broke? is an obvious question at this point and it is not an exaggeration. By anybody's definition, trillions in the hole is broke. The more apt title would have been How Long Can America Stay Afloat? or perhaps, At the Morgue of Nations, Who Will Claim the Bloated Corpse of America? This characterization is hardly more negative or extreme than the economic experts in the article. I'm merely broadening the context to include factors I see as most likely to precipitate the collapse we're otherwise told is inevitable.


Also see: Warren Buffett Betting Against U.S. Dollar



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