A preliminary inquiry. Contributions by W. James Antle III, John Bolton, Midge Decter, Stefan Halper, Matt Latimer, Seth Lipsky, David Malpass, William McGurn, and Jeremy Rabkin.
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Though a great nation, we are making such deep policy mistakes that we are in decline. We’ve let our federal government borrow unlimited amounts just like failed kingdoms in the Renaissance. Spending wildly, the government decides which schooling techniques to approve, which energy resources to finance, and how many cents to charge for debit card usage.
We allow our central bank to operate with practically no boundaries on its size, budget, or dominance over financial markets. The Federal Reserve has chosen to become the primary financier of the federal debt, a clear and present danger to the republic. This is the institution that allowed the value of the dollar to shrink by 90 percent in the 1970s and another 75 percent under Presidents Bush and Obama, driving capital out of America.
Our global advantage in living standards has been squandered. Per capita income is stagnant in dollar terms and actually declining when measured in the more valuable monetary standards of China and Europe.
Putting aside our intense patriotism and pride, our global leadership in innovation, wealth, and clout is fading fast. We produce a small and declining fraction of the world’s engineers. Our companies are moving assets and profits abroad at a rapid clip, leaving our jobs dependent on smarter policies elsewhere.
Our decline hasn’t reached the point of no return — the horrendous tipping point plaguing Europe’s debtor nations. Vision and leadership can reverse our course, as Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan demonstrated.
The Founding Fathers never dreamed the government they were creating could borrow and spend billions, much less trillions, of dollars — if they’d known, they would have created strict financial straitjackets to protect the people. We have to force the government to drastically reduce its spending, now $3.7 trillion per year. And we need a permanent ceiling on the debt-to-GDP ratio, with escalating penalties on Washington for non-compliance.
The president or treasury secretary must rein in the Fed, ordering it to stop expanding — the Fed’s liabilities are nearing $3 trillion — and to provide a strong and stable dollar. The Founding Fathers thought deeply about the permanent value of the dollar; it is wrong for the Fed to debase it.
Our nation is great in part because the Constitution limited the power of the government just as the vital Magna Carta had limited the power of English kings. We are in temporary decline because we the voters granted the governing class $14 trillion of debt — too much raw power, too few boundaries.
David Malpass is global economist and president of Encima Global LLC.
The short answer: of course not.
I am old enough to remember when people were predicting that Japan would overtake us. A generation later, and the Japanese are stuck with a stagnant economy, an aging society, and barely any presence in the world beyond its economy. That doesn’t mean the predictions about (take your pick) China, India, or the Middle East surpassing us will not come true, but it does suggest that a free society may underestimate its strengths and overestimate its weaknesses.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?