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Today we ask the mineshaft: we know what’s wrong with America, why can’t we fix these problems?

15 September 2012

Summary:  Today we look at one dimension of the future of the America.  We ask the mineshaft why we have such irrational economic policies, and yet seem unable to change them.  It’s “ask the community” day, from the German “Gemeinschaft” (see Wikipedia). Post your answer in the comments.

Amidst strong competition, are our economic policies the most delusional among the major nations? Massive deficits sustain the economy and produce complacency that prevents structural reform — yet leave few traces of useful benefits behind (most of the spending passes away like last winter’s snow).

Meanwhile Fed policy does little but produce profits for Wall Street. Like the QE3 announced this week, few economists even bother to discuss if it will have real-world effects beyond driving risk markets high and slightly lowering mortgage interest rates.

While many Americans recognize the irrationality of our economic policies, we seem unable to change course. Why?

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Neither our leaders nor citizens appear able to reconcile the conflicting political and economic forces at work in America.  Despite our overall stronger position than our peers (better demographics, our major problems with solutions tested by other nations — details here), we’ve locked ourselves in what might prove self-destructive policies.

More specifically, what happens in November? In February I forecast that a weakening economy would lead to a win by Romney and his team of competent political engineers.  Both the weak economy and his political competency now seem questionable assumptions. The economy is weakening too slowly; Romney’s campaign appears to be imploding under his team’s almost daily errors.

Sketch out your diagnosis in the comments.  And, if have one, a proposed cure for this aspect of America’s problems.

For More Information

For all posts about solutions for America, see  this FM Reference Page.

About the future of America:

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32 Comments leave one →
  1. Thomas More permalink
    15 September 2012 2:23 am

    Because in the final analysis, we the American people are what’s wrong with America. Asking the American people to fix America’s problem is like asking a carcinoma to cure the cancer that’s killing the patient.

    Like

    • 15 September 2012 2:39 am

      That’s a horrifically cynical statement. Unfortunately, I agree that’s the American people — we — are the starting point of reform. Reform must start with the Man in the Mirror.

      I’m Gonna Make A Change
      For Once In My Life
      It’s Gonna Feel Real Good
      Gonna Make A Difference
      Gonna Make It Right…

      I’m Starting With The Man In The Mirror
      I’m Asking Him To Change His Ways
      And No Message Could Have Been Any Clearer
      If You Wanna Make The World A Better Place
      Take A Look At Yourself, And Then Make A Change

      Like

    • 15 September 2012 2:41 am

      perhaps more optimistic:

      …asking an addict to quit smoking…

      ?

      Like

  2. 15 September 2012 3:30 am

    When I was in China, I asked my friend there “What do people here think of their government?”
    He said “People like it when the government gives them nice things like a new subway line. Otherwise they’re too busy to notice or care what the government does.”

    Like

  3. slapout9 permalink
    15 September 2012 4:33 am

    He said “People like it when the government gives them nice things like a new subway line. Otherwise they’re too busy to notice or care what the government does.”Posted by Todd Guthrie

    I think that would apply to America also.

    Like

  4. Thomas More permalink
    15 September 2012 4:38 am

    FM asked for solutions to America’s current problems.

    Broadly, the solutions are:

    1) The American people need to start caring passionately about the erosion of the rule of law and the conversion of America into a universal-surveillance police state where political dissent has been criminalized into “low-level terrorism” so that martial law has in effect been declared in all public areas and prisons are one of our economy’s only growth industries.

    2) The American people need to vote in much larger percentages, particularly young people (70% of Americans older than 60 vote, but only 20% of Americans younger than 25 vote at all). Americans need to get personally involved in grass-roots politics — and not just as canvassers and organizers, but as candidates for political office.

    3) The American people need to make it unmistakably clear that endless expansion of military spending and the neverending proliferation of America’s endless unwinnable foreign wars are unacceptable and must be reined in.

    4) The American people must stop living inside a media bubble which gives them information only about trivia like Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie’s latest sex scandal. Instead, the American people must start paying attention to the actual tangible impact of American policies on other peoples in other nations of the world. For example, the actual tangible impact of American drone strikes killing wedding parties of innocent women and children in Pakistan, the actual effect on the ground of Monsanto’s “terminator” seeds in impoverishing and driving to suicide millions of the world’s poorest farmers, the actual impact of American IP copyright legislation and high pharmaceutical prices in other countries that results in millions of deaths of sickly infants and whole nations plunged into poverty and easily preventable illness.

    5) The American people need to stop focusing their attention on trivial electronic toys like the iPad and the iPhone and the Wii and their flat-screen hi-def TVs and pop fluff like spandex superhero films (the latest Batman movie, the new Avengers film, the latest reboot of the Amazing Spiderman franchise) and more about fundamental issues like the rising tide of economic inequality which threatens to tear our nation apart, or the dangerous increase in willful ignorance which leads to headlines like “Poll shows more Americans believe in devil than Darwin.”

    This amnesia about well-known facts is the most dangerous of all our problems. We keep delusionally spouting long-debunked canards like austerity economics or tax cuts for the rich or creationism or more military intervention as the solution to problems which history has long since shown only get worse when we apply such “solutions.”

    Some have claimed that mass protests by the American people cannot change policy because we now live in an oligarchy beyond the rule of law. This is provably false. Look at the recent
    mass protests over the SOPA legislation to see what the American people can do when they get riled up. The sponsors of the SOPA legislation beat a quick retreat and the law vanished in the face of the wrath of the American people.

    The problem is that SOPA got the American people fully engaged only because it threatened their porn downloads and bittorrent TV and movie and mp3 downloads. The American people become incited to towering rage when their porn downloads are threatened, but Americans don’t seem to care whether the rule of law disappears. The American people don’t seem concerned when riot-armored police turn America’s bus depots and railways stations and airports and ports and streets into a martial law zone where even the most basic constitutional rights have gone away. The American people don’t even seem to care whether their genitals get groped by sweaty muggers with badges who treat ordinary citizens the way prison guards treat prison inmates.

    How to make Americans suddenly start caring about important issues, like the disappearance of the rule of law, instead of insignificant trivia like the latest iPod or the latest episode of Dancing With the Stars or the latest Batman movie?

    I don’t know.

    The other isue is that these problems involve complex feedback loops which are not easily untangled.

    For example, Americans don’t vote or get involved with politics at the grassroots level because regardless of what candidate American vote for, the trend toward a bigger police-military-surveillance-torture state continues. No matter which party Americans vote for, America’s military spending always gets bigger. No matter which party Americans vote for, America’s endless unwinnable wars continue to proliferate. No matter which party Americans vote for, the rich keep getting richer and the middle class continues to shrink and the ranks of the poor continue to enlarge. Regardless of which party Americans vote for, the insane counterproductive War on Drugs keeps getting worse, the insane counterproductive War on Copyright Infingement keeps getting more draconian and more extreme while accomplishing nothing. Meanwhile, the Republican party keeps getting crazier, yet the Democrats keep enacting those crazy Republican policies with a lag of about 12 years.

    Proof? Look at the legislative record: Ronald Reagan tried to end welfare and the Democrats fought him tooth and nail in the mid-1980s, then the Democrat Bill Clinton gutted welfare
    leaving children to live in cars with their homeless parents in the late 1990s. Reagan tried to gut regulatory oversight of financial markets in the late 1980s and the Democrats fought him off — only to applaud as Bill Clinton signed off on getting rid of the Glass-Steagall act in 1998. In the early 2000s G. W. Bush tried to implement a breathtakingly illegal universal surveillance scheme and an expansion of the patriot act that would have let the president kidnap and murder American citizens without even charging them with a crime: a firestorm of public protest ensued. Now, in 2012, Democrats including a Democratic president have signed off with applause and cheers on breathtaking warrantless universal surveillance of every email and every phone call and every bank record of every America, and now a Democratic president has signed the NDAA legislation which lets the president kidnap Americans and hurl them into prison forever without even charging them with a crime. Most heinous of all, a Democratic president now has ordered the murder of U.S. citizens who have not even been charged with a crime. So Democrats
    are now Republicans with a phase shift of about 12 years — whatever insane policies Republicans propose, we may be certain that Democrat will enact and stridently defend those insane policies 12 years later.

    This obviously discourages Americans from voting for the rational reason that the American people recognize clearly that by voting for a Democrat they will still get the insane destructive policies of the Republicans — only a little later.

    The American people don’t object to our crazy level of military spending — on the contrary, Americans seem to love our military spending. Americans adore our incompetent careerist money-wasting military. Polls regularly show that the military is the only American institution most Americans hold in high regard. This, despite the fact that our military can no longer win wars even again barefoot teenagers who are armed with bolt-action rifles…despite our spending somewhere north of a trillion dollars a year on our bloated inept military.

    Americans seem to have no interest in learning about conditions on the ground in the rest of the world. In this, propaganda machines like Fox News only follow the dictates of capitalism: Fox News remains the highest-rated news network. They produce the news product the American people want. How can Fox be faulted for giving the American people what they demand? The problem is that what the American people want is a hallucintory funhouse-mirror
    view of the world where Americans are wonderfully wise beneficent saviors, instead of creepy predatory greed-choked robber barons who rape the natural resources of the world and then dispatch our armies to napalm and carpet-bomb any of the world’s poorest populations to object to getting robbed (viz., the Somalians who turned to piracy in desperation after the fishing grounds off their coast were systematically stripped bare by international fishing fleets; or Afghans who object to being ruled by a corrupt puppet government bribed by Americans to act against the interests of the Afghan people and in the interests of American multinational
    conglomerates).

    Americans seem to have no concern about the savage inequality which threatens to end democracy and the rule of law in this country. Perhaps because they’re deluged with glittering media displays of fantastic opulence, and most Americans unconsciously see themselves in these “precessions of simulacra” as Fredric Jameson called it. Or perhaps because — as Herbert Marcuse pointed out — Americans are now lulled into utter passivity by repressive sublimation in which any possible sexual fantasy is played out on their TV screens and every possible entertainment is instantly available on their iPad or iPod or iPhone, distracting Americans from the serious issues that demand their engagement.

    Whatever the answer, American in 2012 has now clearly become an example of Inverted Totalitarianism. The specific realistic actions that would put America back on the path back to democracy and the rule of law and economic justice have gotten lost in the mist and become hard to discern.

    Like

    • 15 September 2012 6:54 pm

      BRAVO… Awesome rant T More.

      Like

    • Pluto permalink
      15 September 2012 7:16 pm

      Thomas, Well said. But what have you left for the rest of us to say?

      Like

    • 16 September 2012 1:10 am

      “The problem is that SOPA got the American people fully engaged only because it threatened their porn downloads and bittorrent TV and movie and mp3 downloads. The American people become incited to towering rage when their porn downloads are threatened, but Americans don’t seem to care whether the rule of law disappears. The American people don’t seem concerned when riot-armored police turn America’s bus depots and railways stations and airports and ports and streets into a martial law zone where even the most basic constitutional rights have gone away. The American people don’t even seem to care whether their genitals get groped by sweaty muggers with badges who treat ordinary citizens the way prison guards treat prison inmates.”

      As far as I can tell there wasn’t a single major street protest against SOPA. I sincerely doubt that any entrenched politician feared losing his seat because of the votes of illegal downloaders or even people genuinely upset by broad Internet censorship powers the government and the moneyed interests would have gained from SOPA. If I asked most non-techies I know about SOPA, I suspect I would get blank stares for my trouble. As far as I’m concerned SOPA had an impressive publicity stunt against it, but no real grassroots protests.

      Nothing, as far as I can tell, of the scale or dedication of the Occupy protests.

      Compare what happened with Occupy: Scott Olsen, as one of many Occupy protesters, was hit by a less than lethal round and suffered brain damage. Cecily McMillan was tackled, beaten by police, and had a seizure. Outside of the movement, but related to it, Sonny Sheu was killed by police, and Tracy Lawrence was murdered by somebody (we don’t know who, because she was “suicided”). Those last two weren’t specifically Occupy street protesters. However, they were important whistle-blowers whose actions lined up with the broader goals of the Occupy movement.

      Meanwhile, where were the police in riot gear for SOPA? Were there any pictures like this from the SOPA protests?

      Atlantic

      Anyone dead, brain damaged, or seriously injured for standing up against SOPA? No.

      It seems that SOPA was a battle between companies like Google, Microsoft, Apple and others against companies like Disney, Warner Brothers and Sony. Moneyed interest versus moneyed interest. This, of course, is something where the government still occasionally does the right thing, if the moneyed interests on “the right side” end up prevailing.

      I bring this up because it is necessary to understand that serious, dedicated, effective political protest in this country (unlike big companies and huge non-profits shutting off a few Websites for a day) is risky business. More importantly, it’s obviously going to take something more effective than Occupy to make a change, and I hadn’t seen anything to the level of the Occupy protest or on the scale of the Occupy protest for years. (I remember massive anti-War protests against the Iraq War, those didn’t have much impact, either.) {See Wikipedia}

      In the case of Occupy people really stood up and got brutalized by the cops… and the band played on.

      I have no doubt that Google gives money to politicians (and threatens to back the opponents of politicians) who plan to significantly interfere with its businesses.

      As to getting involed in political protest myself: I’m the sole support of my family. I have 0 confidence that the large corporation that allows me to buy food and pay my mortgage will continue to employ me if I get arrested promoting a movement that intends to take money away from the private equity group that owns my company. I also have little confidence that if I get arrested as a rabble-rouser who is taking on the system that I won’t find myself unemployable. Times are tough, I live paycheck to paycheck. My family must come before political considerations.

      Like

    • 17 September 2012 12:03 am

      Apologies, I wasn’t expecting to see that picture displayed like that when I posted the link.

      Like

    • 17 September 2012 12:18 am

      No apologies needed! I converted your link into the picture. This website is technical, fact-rich, with complex analysis. Hence it’s too often boring.

      Visuals are great! Videos, music! Multi-media geopolitics is the future.

      Like

    • 18 September 2012 1:11 pm

      It does have a strong emotional impact doesn’t it. I like pictures because they say, “Yes, this is something that actually happened.” It’s hard to dispute a picture like that, especially when it’s backed up by lots of reliable witnesses and published by reputable news outlets.

      Like

  5. 15 September 2012 5:01 pm

    The two party system employed in the United States requires that each party govern from near center, so that compromise is possible. The current GOP chooses to adopt far right positions and appears both to desire anarchy rather than good government to the point of self destructive action like the debt ceiling debate. What is requires is a sound defeat of one of the two parties and a subsequent return to the near center. Failing that we will continue with this fiscal madness.

    Like

    • Rune permalink
      15 September 2012 5:12 pm

      A deliberate choice, inspired by Lenin, as FM has told us before.

      Like

    • david jones permalink
      15 September 2012 9:10 pm

      “The two party system employed in the United States requires . . . .”

      stop right there. There is a better way. Instant Run off Voting

      Without this none of the other stuff will ever change.

      Like

    • 16 September 2012 1:16 am

      I’ll take the other side of that bet. I doubt that tinkering with the system will produce large outcomes for a people who lack the will or interest to govern themselves.

      The search for the quick easy fix is, however, characteristic of our problem.

      Like

    • david jones permalink
      16 September 2012 1:59 am

      IRV isn’t a “quick easy fix”, it’s a step to enable a working democracy. Specifically, it solves the problem of being stuck with two choices you don’t like as a result of voting strategy. Would also help ease the feeling that the game is rigged (by the two party system), which might help in the motivation department.

      Education would still be needed. Places like this site are pretty darn useful for that.

      Like

    • 16 September 2012 3:07 am

      It’s a quick easy fix in the sense of being an external fix — a tweak to the system — as opposed to the more difficult task of changing ourselves — boost our willingness to govern ourselves — and organizing to fight for liberty.

      Like

    • 16 September 2012 3:48 am

      In my local municipality, I’ve found that IRV elections tend to produce a better consensus among constituencies, resulting in more moderate candidates and somewhat less political craziness than simple majority elections did here in the past.
      If implemented on a national level, it certainly won’t come close to fixing everything, but worth considering as a good step nonetheless.

      Like

    • 16 September 2012 3:51 am

      ToddGuthrie raises an important point! There’s probably no big fix. We should seek and pursue incremental reforms.

      Like

    • david jones permalink
      18 September 2012 12:53 am

      FM, tweak to the system vs change in ourselves? I think both are needed.

      Like

    • 18 September 2012 1:02 am

      Agreed!

      My guess (emphasis on guess) is that operationally we must change first. Only then will we be able to reform our political machinery.

      Like

  6. Richard Nelson permalink
    16 September 2012 3:18 am

    The solution must be political, obviously. However, unless the USA will dump the two party system the timing of the solution’s implementation will be slow in coming. One of the two must be defeated at the polls sufficiently to force it to change direction. Failing that then we will have grid lock until a crisis develops to,the extent that a solution presents itself. I fear that one of the options looks too much like the decline and end of the Weimar Republic. The efficacy of right wing propaganda in our media bodes ill for the USA in the long run.

    Like

  7. SDW permalink
    16 September 2012 7:30 pm

    To change the direction of a national party requires a structured network of national proportions.

    Conservatives built one from the 1960’s through the 1970’s and took power in 1980.

    Neo-Liberals, Democrats who are pro-business, pro-defense spending, and anti-labor, built a network that took years to develop, eventually pushing New Deal type Democrats from power and electing Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. And almost electing as vice-president, the ultimate Neo-Liberal, Joe Lieberman.

    It takes time and money to develop a national network. The only organizations “of the people” with time and money who could effectively counter Neo-Liberals are labor unions, hence the current attempts by both Republicans and Neo-Liberal Democrats to crush them. Howard Dean, who is not a neo-Liberal, attempted to build up a national liberal coalition while head of the Democratic party from 2005 to 2008. He is currently living in Siberia.

    Progressives, wealthy liberal people originally Republicans 100 years ago, then switching to help govern the Democratic Party in 1932, had the means and time to establish a national network. They are still around – Warren Buffet is a leading example. We can only hope that they will change the course of politics in this country.

    Like

    • 16 September 2012 7:42 pm

      I’ve said similar things many times, but neither so briefly nor so clearly.

      Like

  8. SDW permalink
    17 September 2012 1:48 am

    The other large national structured network that can grasp control of a government is a standing army, a group of men who travel and meet with others around their country and who have the opportunity during warfare or maneuvers to test who will make dependable members of the network. The standing army example our Founding Fathers feared was The New Model Army of the previous century, which ended up giving Cromwell the dictatorship of England. The English standing army was disbanded with the accession of King Charles II. (For history buffs the only remnants of the New Model Army are the Coldstream Guards and the Blues of the Household Cavalry.)

    Like

  9. 17 September 2012 6:10 pm

    Last night I posted a link to this interactive chart: When Income Grows, Who Gains (by the Economic Policy Institute) on my Facebook wall and noted, “One thing that’s clear is that there is a lot of year-to-year variability; so by selecting the right years (and avoiding meaningful analysis) you can “prove” anything you want.”

    A friend commented, “Charts and statistics can always be made to prove anything by anyone any time.”

    The part about meaningful analysis never registered… no one believes there is meaningful analysis anymore. Every debate is simply a contest of opinions; as Paul Krugman quipped, if one party’s platform declared that the world was flat, headlines would read, “Shape of Earth: Views Differ.” Skepticism has given way to solipsism throughout the population. We insist that we “think for ourselves”; but all we mean by that is that we generate an uninformed opinion to call our own, or choose — for ourselves! — without rational basis which others’ convenient opinion we will adopt.

    So there is my diagnosis of our deepest problem of all: we no longer understand the difference between facts and opinions. Perhaps we no longer believe there is one.

    Like

    • 17 September 2012 7:56 pm

      I have longer said the same thing, attributing it (guessing) tribalism. We are two teams of sheep, divided by our shepherds for easier management.

      This becomes possible by our degraded ability to clearly see the world, and gullible reliance on information whispered into our ears by our tribal leaders. Neither sides seems moved by even basic facts, as seen in the brutal debates on the FM website — most (not all) on “shape of the world” issues.

      Like the existence of debate among scientists about the relative drivers and forecast of global warming.

      Like the years of debate whether we were winning (ie, achieving meaningful national goals) in Iraq and Afghanistan. And today, if the people rioting have rational reasons to hate the US (which we might disagree with, but that’s another question).

      Unshackled from clear observations, we cannot move onto to the key questions about the ranking (relative values) of our goals, and which is the best path forward. We’re stuck on the easy steps, which is disturbing about our ability to discuss — let alone resolve — the difficult ones.

      Like

  10. 10 July 2013 4:37 pm

    What Is wrong with AMERICA ? Here are the causes we are in this mess.

    #1 Politians on the hill both houses are working their own adjenda, due to there years of supposed service more than 1/2 are milti- millionares with their money off shore so they don’t have to pay taxes, which pay their salary!

    #2 Most large American companys have products made in ASIA even JAPAN send its products off shore, the reason extreme greed to the max. When NIkE started to make sneakers off shore like jordans the cost was between $1.50-mabey 2.00 per pair, then sell them here for $150.00 – $225.00theta an extreme to the max profit,clothin Asia Toys, ASIA just about everything you see is not made here WHY? the companys say they have to please their shareholders, don’t these shareholders have any common sense? the cost of as food just about everything else they are buying is rossly overpricede. most companyds use overseas telephone help centers where you can not understand them, I.B.M. lays off thousands of engeneers and give the jobs to india, maylsia the phillipeans etc.we have a work force here and thousands of entrmanours who would open factories to produce what ever we need stopping the flow of money going everywhere else but here our tax rate would soar due to these hundreds or thousands of new manufacturing companys.

    Our govt. gives billions to other companys why not set up loans to start new companys. These top men in these companys should not get as in EXXON case their top C.E.O. a four hundred million dollar bonus, stock bonus due to the profitability of 1 quarter. remember when your dad took you to a ball game, not many today do to the rediculose salarys players get in all sports, someone just signed a 10 year contract for 110 million dollars. and this is only the few issues.

    Our politians even the PRESIDENT should be allowed 2 4our year terma but they, like we are, should be eveulated in 2 year time frames as you all know when they run they say what we want to heare get elected and do nothing. if after 2 years they at least try to fulfill their campaign promises in not replace them. When politians are in office 30-50-years, graft and favors owed to contributers ARE mountainous.

    BUY AMERICAN IF YOU CAN’T FIND ANYTHING COMPLAIN TO MANAGER OR E MAIL CORPORATE OFFICE. tHE PRODUCTS MAY OR MAY NOT COST MORE IF THESE GREEDY COMPANYS WILL TAKE$ 135– TO 210 A PAIR MANY STATES ARE HURTING HERE ESPECIALLY BELOW THE MASON DIXON LINE , WHY DONT THE PEOPLE ON THE HILL DO SOMETHING THEY ARE GIVING OUT AID FOOD STAMPS DR.CARE PLUS MANY OTHER ITEMS PAID DIRECTLY FROM THE BUDGET. I HAVE MUCH MORE BUT I DOUBT ANY ONE WILL CARE IF ITS BUILT HERE USE OUR DOMESTIC PRODUCTS A 5 BILLION DOLLAR BRIDGE WAS RECENTLY BUITL IN CALIDFORNIA PITTSBURG WAS VERY HAPPY BUT THE CONTRACTON WENT TO CHINE BECAUSE THEY WOULD GET THE STEEL THERE A DAY EARILER SO NO CONTRACT FOR ANOTHER AMERICAN COMPANY. I HAVE MUCH MORE TO HELP US BUT AMERICANS SEEM NOT TO CARE, ON EDUCATION, CUTTING THE DEBT AND MANY OTHER ISSUES. I AM A 100% DISABLED VIETNAM VET AND WE BUY SHIRTS FROM THEM NOW AT MASSIVELY INFLATED PRICES.AMERICA WAKE UP! OR WE WILL BECOME A SATTILTE NATION OF CHINA, OUR POLITIANS WOUN’T CARE AS THEY WILL GO TO THEIR MILLIONS AND LIVE LIKE KINGS.WE HAVE GREAT POLITICAL SCIENCE MAJORS,MASTERS, AND PHD IN GOVT, ITS TIME WE USE THEM ON THE HILL, STOP CORPORATIONS SNAPPING FROM SNAPPING THEM UP AND USING THEIR KNOWLEDGE TO BEAT THE SYSTEM.PLEASE READ THIS AND PASS IT ON TO ALL, WE !!!!!!!! NOT OUR CORUPT GOVT. MUST FIX THIS MESS. JOSEPH KUHN.

    Like

    • 10 July 2013 4:56 pm

      Joe raises many interesting points, some of which I strongly agree with. Two notes, however.

      (1) We elect our representatives every two years. There’s nobody with a gun in the voting booths. The responsibility for what they do lies with us, who elect them.

      To criticize them is to criticize us.

      (2) US exports have been rising for two generations, both in absolute numbers and as a share of the US economy. They have been a strength.

      That we don’t export anything anymore is one of the great lies told by people wishing to manipulate us.

      Like

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