We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
We now live in a country where sixty percent of the households get more from the federal government than they put in. We now live in a country where the Democratic Party has gone a long way towards fulfilling its long-term dream of turning citizens into clients of the state.
But the article --an interview of Jim Manzi on his new book America Is Out of Control is good n' chewy --succinct and cogent.
Here's a quote from it:
JM: I have spent something like a quarter of my professional life outside the United States, living and working in the private sector across Europe, Asia, Australia, and Africa. My experiences have increased my already enormous feelings of affection, gratitude, and admiration for the United States, but have also increased my sense of American vulnerability.
Potential “American decline” is an active topic of conversation among policy intellectuals right now. But what I think this talk misses is that this decline has already happened. Living overseas makes this painfully obvious.
The United States was something like half of global GDP in 1945. This declined to around one-quarter of GDP by about 1980. Accepted wisdom and convergence theory agreed at that time that it should have continued to decline. But the deregulation (in the broadest sense) of the American economy that commenced around 1980 managed to retain about this share. During the period since 1980, European and other countries with high cultural affinity for America have been hemorrhaging share. The economic rise of the Asian heartland at the expense of the West is the primary geopolitical fact of our era.
Datasets and analytical techniques they use may seem impressive, but they are very crude as compared to the complexity of human society.
Looking at this from the outside, the political process in Washington seems disconnected from reality. In Washington, it's always 1945. Our almost casual disregard for the erosion of the foundations of our political economy—endless talk but little successful action on internationally uncompetitive K-12 educational results; a widely touted university system that produces more visual and performing arts graduates than math, biology, or engineering graduates; an immigration policy that all but ignores the need to upgrade our human capital; underinvestment in certain kinds of infrastructure, science, and technology; the relentlessly rising tide of social dysfunction among the majority of the American population that does not graduate from college; somehow convincing ourselves that we are uniquely responsible for maintaining global order, when we represent only about 25 percent of global economic output; a continuous trade deficit for more than 30 years; federal government debt of 70 percent of GDP, without any real prospect of achieving fiscal balance, never mind running the budget surpluses that would be required to pay it down, and so on—is shocking and profligate.
The United States can thrive in this new world, but is not destined to do so. In my opinion, it is unlikely to do so without a significant change in direction. Fortunately, I retain great faith in the regenerative capabilities of American society.
But best of all, maybe, is the set of links, the enticing titles, under three different headings, at the bottom, below the article. Here they are pasted (or en pastiche as i'm wont to say when puttin' on airs) --without the embedded hyperlinks contained in the original:
Scott Shane writes “The Boehner Uncertainty Principle.”
Tino Sanandaji explains “Why Keynesianism Works Better in Theory Than in Practice.”
Dan Blumenthal reveals “Why It’s Still a Unipolar Era.”
Alex J. Pollock says “Uncertainty Is More Dangerous Than Risk; Error Is More Dangerous Than Fraud.”
Steven J. Davis, Scott R. Baker, and Nicholas Bloom contribute “Business Class: Policy Uncertainty Is Choking Recovery.”
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(sorry for 'tHe wALL oF tExT' --feel free to delete if too long, it won't hoit me feelin's, i is very unnerstandin' when ther's nothing i can do 'bout it ennyway)