June 9, 2005

Increasingly, most of the news accounts I read are peppered with warnings that the United States is headed for financial disaster. The most detailed one I've seen over the past few days appeared in the Atlantic magazine, written by James Fallows and titled "Countdown to a Meltdown."

Mr. Fallows pretends to be looking back at the recent history of the United States from January 2016, and the picture is very nasty.

The article is too complex to summarize in any detail here, but one of the main sources of the downfall is that the American government continued to borrow money at the rate it is being borrowing in 2005 and thereby placed our well-being in the hands of the Chinese. And, guess what? They don't care much about our well-being.

All they would have to do right now to send the American economy into a dizzying crash would be to stop lending us money and sell the U. S. securities they now hold on the open market. As Mr. Fallows puts it in his supposed memo from 2016, "The country needed money to run its government and the Americans themselves weren't about to provide it. This is where the final, secret element of the gun-cocking process came into play: the unspoken deal with the Chinese."

All this, of course, can be blamed on cowardly politicians. But I think that's a naive way of looking at it. The politicians are cowardly, yes. But why is that the case? Because they can't stay in office if they aren't. Any politician with the gumption to look the American people straight in the eye and tell them that they're supporting policies, and, in particular, wild foreign policies, that they are not willing to pay for, would be turned out of office at the next election.

We have become a country of people who don't want to hear the truth. And people who don't want to hear the truth will, before too long, end up having to face the truth in ways that aren't at all pleasant.

©John R. Turner

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