When I was a kid, China was still a back-assed agrarian country struggling to feed its starving masses. Now they’re going to the moon, which we used to own, and according to a recent World Bank report they’re about to pass the U.S. as the world’s biggest economy.
People like to gripe that the U.S. has incompetent leaders, but coming from someone who has a degree in history, there’s almost unprecedented incompetence here. If I didn’t know better, I’d almost suspect that you would have to try in order to fuck things up this badly.
The U.S. has held the world’s economic top spot since we unseated the hated British in 1872, and it has been a sweet 142-year run. But much like the steam locomotive or syphilis, our time is over.
For most of America’s history, the government was only expected to keep us safe from outside threats and encourage commerce. Americans were freed from excessive government controls, canals and roads were built, and a small professional army kept the Eskimo menace from spilling across our northern border.
But somewhere along the line things changed. We abandoned the middle class and adopted what I call the Roman model. Elites were rewarded with almost unlimited wealth, power was concentrated in their hands, and the poor were kept alive with bread and circuses.
If you doubt me, just look at the facts. In the U.S. the richest 10% of citizens have 80% of the money and 41% of the jobs in this country are now classified as low-wage.
And don’t for a second think things are going to get better. Unrestricted immigration will keep wages low, and China owns the future. Their top two exports to the U.S. are computer and communications equipment while our top two are soybeans and scrap.
The U.S. has lost 50,000 manufacturing jobs per month since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, and their protectionist policies guarantee they have an edge. A competent U.S. government would address that, but our leaders seem more concerned with gay marriage, racist basketball team owners and starting wars we can’t afford or finish.