The Performance Artist We Deserve.
America under siege and at a crossroads
Nothing lives forever, and nations are no exception. The reasons for the downfall of great nations and empires are complex, but if you want to see a great country decline and crumble, it is enough to watch it cancel its culture and destroy its economy through an abandonment of values and fiscal irresponsibility.
Unnatural cultural and economic conditions will lead inevitably to social polarization and civil unrest. This leads to an erosion of democracy, less freedom, and less economic opportunity.
Due to the pandemic, we have seen the global accumulation of power and centralization at the expense of individual liberty. The current Washington and coastal elites are forcibly imposing their cultural views on the American people. The country’s progressives in control of the media, academia, the corporate sector and almost every other institution present a vision of the U.S. as irredeemably racist, evil, and oppressive. Massive reconstitution of the nation is necessary to move forward, in this view.
A country without memory is a zombie. Deleting the past destroys the future. With left-wing extremists driving political debate, destroying monuments, attacking free speech, and censoring everything that displeases the Twitter mobs, America is on the path toward Communist-style tyranny. A total revision of American history, and a forceful implementation of progressive socialist values, will take place in the United States if the current momentum continues unchecked.
With its centralized policies and mixed economy, Europe has been experiencing economic decline for decades. The United States has avoided this fate because of its tradition of limited government, fiscal responsibility, capitalism, and free enterprise. However, massive unproductive government spending with ever growing entitlements and never-ending quantitative easing have become the norm in recent years—largely with bipartisan consensus.
The United States has close to $30 trillion in debt. Interest rates will not remain low forever, especially if inflation continues to increase, which is a virtual certainty given the Biden plan to double or triple government spending. When rates rise, paying for this massive debt will be much costlier. The short sightedness of politicians is steering the American economy toward “Modern Monetary Theory,” a fancy name for socialism.
As Europe has shown, massive trillion-dollar packages do not boost the economy; the private sector does. Governments cannot channel capital efficiently. Instead, they fund zombie companies, unproductive sectors, and political cronies. The data back this up: according to the Congressional Budget Office, the estimate for average real growth in GDP from 2020 to 2030 is 1.7 percent, while the unemployment rate is forecast to average 4.8 percent, despite trillions of dollars in stimulus packages. In the second quarter, after massive government intervention, annualized growth was at 6.5 percent, much lower than the 8.5 percent expected, while annualized real personal disposable income fell at a 30.6 percent rate, and inflation continues to rise.
In contrast, the pro-growth and pro-worker policies of the Trump administration led to median household income growing by 6.8 percent in 2019, which remains the largest annual increase on record. America gained seven million new jobs—more than three times projections and at what was supposed to be the end of an expansionary cycle. Middle-class family income increased nearly $6,000—more than five times the gains during the entire previous administration. Median household incomes rose among Hispanics (7.1 percent), blacks (7.9 percent), Asians (10.6 percent), foreign-born workers (8.5 percent), whites (5.7 percent), and for all native-born Americans (6.2 percent). Poverty rates during the Trump years fell to a 17-year low. It was thanks to Trump’s policies that the American economy began to recover much quicker than Europe as soon as many states ended lockdowns. When the Biden administration, with the help of the Fed, started inundating the economy with needless and unaffordable money, the recovery cooled rapidly.
The current administration is intent on following through with unnecessary spending, an assault on the energy sector, increasing the size of government, and higher taxes which will lead to a decline in competitiveness, stagflation, and the immiseration of the American people. Republicans are enabling this fiscal insanity, as their support for the massive, unnecessary infrastructure bill shows.
The American century appears to be coming to an ignominious end. The recent catastrophe in Afghanistan is a direct consequence of the weakened state America finds itself from internal attacks that have produced an ineffective and incompetent government. Soon, the United States will be unable to confront Chinese expansionism or other authoritarian threats. Hence, it is a crucial moment for American society. It is up to conservatives and traditionalists to be smart and swift enough to counteract the cultural and economic transformation and provide an alternative, which is not yet happening in any cohesive or convincing way.
The American Mind presents a range of perspectives. Views are writers’ own and do not necessarily represent those of The Claremont Institute.
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