Tuesday, May 20, 2014

America Rises... Not Declines

It is popular again... still... always... to believe that America is a dying giant on the verge of falling apart. Democracy doesn’t work! Capitalism doesn’t work! Our military is falling apart! Our kids are fat and stupid! Americans don’t want to work or do hard things! Our government is stuck!! Yeah, well, that’s crap and I keep pointing that out. So today I’m going to point out an article that Kit sent me.

The article can be found here: LINK, and here is what the authors point out...

Predicting the end of America is a long-time sport, it happens every generation. And for the past decade, the thinking has been that the emerging economies were going to surpass the US and take over the economic world, especially as we were mired in recession. Yep, the BRICs – Brazil, Russia, India and China – were going to make us second class. Meanwhile, the US was quickly becoming friendless. Our military was spent and our politics were deadlocked.

Well, that was then and this is now and things have changed. First, I debunked for you the other day the idea that China would (or has) passed us economically. Unless you believe that $9 trillion is greater than $16 trillion, then that hasn’t happened. And it won’t happen because China is facing economic and demographic headwinds which will keep it from ever catching us.

Secondly, while the BRICs were growing at 7% at one time, that didn’t last like the naysayers said it would... with straight faces, they predicted it would last forever actually. Today, Brazil’s growth rate is under 1%, India’s is under 3% and China lies about theirs being around 6% when we know it’s lower. China is headed for recession, a housing bubble bursting, and a credit problem even worse than our financial crisis. The only question now is how hard China will land.

South Africa and Turkey were added to the list of BRICs toward the end of the 2000s, but now both are mired in inflation, recessions, deficits and low growth. Europe, which liberal economists used to say was better than us in every way, is a basket case, with a 12% unemployment rate and a rich-poor schism that makes us look positively egalitarian.

Social unrest is appearing in each of these countries. Brazil is awash in corruption and incompetence. Their murder rate is worse than countries at war... and makes the left’s obsessive focus on guns in America a joke. Russia has become a crony-dictatorship which is hooked on oil like a junkie on crack.

No matter how hard so many have pushed for alternatives to the dollar, the dollar remains the safe-harbor currency of the world because it is considered the most reliable and most likely to retain its value. Our deficits are going down. Our employment is slowly rising. We are on the cusp of an energy revolution that some estimate will add as much as 4% to our economy. We are the world’s largest producer of oil and natural gas, having passed Saudi Arabia. Our manufacturing sector is recovering as costs have risen in places like China to the point that they are bleeding businesses.

Our culture dominates. Our products top almost every major category. Our stores and brands dominate overseas markets. Our films and television continue to trump local products everywhere. America remains the number one place foreign students and emigrants want to go. We are the place the world invests its money.

Our military remains the world class by a mile and keeps getting better. I’ve pointed this out a couple times as well. Moreover, all you have to do to see how far ahead we are is watch the Iranians crow about cloning one of our drones as they build a wooden aircraft carrier for target practice, see the amazing difference in equipment and training between Russian special forces and Russian troops, watch Europe struggle to maintain 1500 guys in the field, watch China struggle to maintain 18 ships at see for two weeks and put out fake photos of non-functional stealth fighters.... then compare it to the US’s advances in drones, robotics, lasers, missile defense systems, jet fighters, battlefield medicine, communications, etc.

Diplomatically, in the 1980s and 1990s, groups of countries tried to go it without us. They formed various associations and created various treaties that they were going to create and exclude us or force upon us. Those are all gone now and it’s become clear that without the Americans on board, nothing will ever happen. And with China’s saber rattling, the Pacific nations are being drawn closer to us than ever, just as Eastern Europe is being drawn to us because of Russia. We’re the guy everyone wants as a friend when things get serious.

Then there are the ones people really don’t want to believe. We have one of the best educated workforces in the world and it’s getting better every year. Our schools are excelling. Our system has the perfect mix between allowing innovation and creating workers... the rest of the world stifles innovation. We are still the best place to start a business. Our government really does function. We are one of the only countries in the world not facing the demographic time bomb of a shrinking population – China will actually go from 1 billion to 750 million over the next fifty years... that’s a disaster.

The United States isn’t perfect and Obama sure isn’t helping make things better, but when it comes to the rest of the world, we outclass them all by a mile. Trust me, anyone predicting America’s decline is a fool.


AndrewPrice said...

BTW, it should be primary day in Kentucky where the Tea Party spent a boatload of money trying to destroy Mitch McConnell. This was THE battle the Tea Party needed to win to show they can be a legitimate force. This is the one every "reel 'merikan" jumped into and endorsed Bevins... Palin, Cruz, Freedomworks, everyone on talk radio, etc.

Polls say McConnell will win by 26%.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit says this, but blogger won't let him post...

Many UN offices in chaotic countries have a retired US veteran working as the security chief.

After two of the largest earthquakes in recent years, Haiti and Japan, our military carried out massive and incredibly successful relief efforts. The latter creating a wave of pro-Americanism. What they did in Haiti was downright miraculous: operating an airport for several days with limited electricity.

Thus proving the US Navy's motto: "A global force for good"

We are far more pro-immigrant than most countries and are far better at assimilating them than other countries.

Backwoods China and India make backwoods West Virginia look like gated Beverly Hills communities.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, All true. We are the only country that has the capacity to do these things too.

Kit said...

A second TEST.

Anthony said...

Satan is controlling our schools and torturing kids with impossible math and you say 'Everything is fine!'?


Seriously, speaking as a guy with two kids in public school, in terms of math, Common Core is tougher than the old curriculum, but its doable and I don't get the hysteria.

BevfromNYC said...

Hey, no one said there would be tests??

tryanmax said...

Even in Nebraska, where Common Core is basically banned, the hysterics continue on account of Core-compliant textbooks working their way into our schools. This is because the same texts also meet Nebraska's standards. While this should have a calming affect, as it proves that Common Core is no different from the standards that Nebraskan's are comfortable with, instead it raises further hysterics: "There's no escaping Common Core!"

BTW: Glenn Beck says Common Core is "breeding a new era of slaves." This was sparked by a Rialto, CA school district that thought eighth graders could handle the notion that some people deny the Holocaust, and had them discuss why anyone might do so. How dare they! Teaching children to question the Holocaust!

Incidentally, there was no controversy in Rialto. Only among Beck's listeners after he made a fuss. I guess it just goes to show that those Commie Californians are a bunch of Nazis. But you'd need a better history education than the average Beck listener to understand the irony of that statement.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, LOL! It's a blogger-created surprise quiz!

Kit said...

"This was sparked by a Rialto, CA school district that thought eighth graders could handle the notion that some people deny the Holocaust, and had them discuss why anyone might do so. How dare they! Teaching children to question the Holocaust! "

What? Isn't that what we've been pushing kids to learn for years. That there are different viewpoints? Even ones they might disagree with? Just so they can be aware people disagree and to try to understand those disagreements so they can debunk them easier?

Or do we just want a bunch of kids who repeat by rote what the state tells them?

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, Hatred of Common Core has become a matter of dogma for "low-information" reel 'merikans. They have whipped themselves into an orgasmic fury with a series of delusions and lies all as a means of proving to themselves that no one except Glenn Beck can be trusted.

Not a single point they have made can't be debunked with only a couple clicks on Google. Most of their points contradict each other. They have simply turned Common Core into a boogyman: if a teacher anywhere does anything wrong, then this is because of Common Core. And their criticism typically gets mixed with hate of Obama or religious symbolism.

It is a wishful position, not a reality-based position.

As an aside, I had to laugh the other day because there was an article about how impossible the math had become and how "no one" could figure it out, and they mistakenly included the "impossible" questions that "even teachers didn't understand." These were truly basic questions that any one from third graders on up should have known. And if a parent couldn't solve these questions, then they should not be "helping" their kids with anything.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, The opposition to Common Core has become hysterical. Logic need not apply to these people. Fortunately, they are a tiny minority who simply aren't getting their way.

What's really ironic about the "conservative" opposition to Common Core is that Common Core has (1) added testing, (2) toughened the standards across the board, (3) increased the amount that is being taught, and (4) focuses on teaching kids to think independently by teaching them to understand why things are true rather than just teaching them to memorize that something is true.

All of those things fit perfectly with actual conservatism, but apparently are anathema to reel 'merikans who, based on their rhetoric, think that schools should be about rote learning simply concepts, obeying authority, maybe a little Bible study, and nothing else.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, Free thinking is only prized when it reaches the right conclusion.

tryanmax said...

Opposition to Common Core convinces me that the right has inherited disaffected leftists. It was as recent as Bush administration that Democrats were howling against tests, standards, amounts of work, and teaching critical thinking, crying that the children can't handle this! Michelle Rhee, former conservative education hero, remains a villain to the left even as she is now also a villain to the right.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I get that sense from a lot of things. I am becoming more and more convinced that the reel 'merikans are mostly leftists or cranks who only recently took up the conservative label. Few of their principles are consistent with anything that conservatives like Reagan or Buckley espoused.

I see the anti-common core stuff mainly as a conspiracy theory. It's sold in the exact say ways, using the same false logic and half-truths. It's just as easily debunked too for anyone who dares to look for themselves.

I think the reason it's caught on because the fringe right have become uncritical Kool-Aid drinkers of anything talk radio tells them, and their leaders are selling them this conspiracy theory.

Kit said...


I cannot count how many times I'd gotten emails a few years ago about how much our reel 'Merikan great-grandfathers learned in school compared to we morons.

Yet, today, it seems that stuff is "too much" for reel 'Merikan kids.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, I get those too... and I get those in person... and I get those comments every single time we talk about education.

And do you know what?

It's delusional.

It's rose-colored glasses combined with an ignorance of the present combined with a failure to understand that what is considered important knowledge has changed as society has changed.

Kit said...


But it is interesting how they praise that imaginary past yet complain about Common Core.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, It is, but it's typical of human nature. Old people tend to think the past was better, because they only remember the good parts and what they remember is distorted. Young people tend to think the future (or some other land) is better because they see only the hurdles in their way and they assume they don't exist anywhere else.

So no matter what it is, it can't beat the past or the future to these people. Then you add in the suggestion that something is objectively bad and goes against "the past" or is "on the wrong side of the future" and it's easy to see how they rail against it, even if they don't have a clue what they are really upset about.

Kit said...

"Trust me, anyone predicting America’s decline is a fool."

Unfortunately, our pundit class is largely made up of fools.

We have 25% of the world's economy and our navy still controls the world's oceans.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, True. Our pundit class is full of fools. And even beyond that, they are fame seekers, and you don't get famous telling people "everything is going pretty well."

tryanmax said...

"The right/wrong side of history" is the most ingeniously meaningless phrase ever devised in relation to today's topic. It implies some perfect trajectory that we are/should be on. So wether one believes the past or the future was/is perfect, they will agree with it because it specifies neither. The past-minded hear we are preserving history while the futurists hear we are shaping it. It's also a very clever rhetorical turn that bends the word "history" to effectively refer to the present.

Tennessee Jed said...

I kind of recall some teachers complaining that under Bush's programs, they were being required to teach to a test instead of creating real learning. Up to a point, I can get that. Teachers resist being judged primarily on student results because they feel too many parents don't do their part. Fair enough, but they lose cred with me through unions and seniority. This doesn't speak directly to common core, but it is what I recall about teachers most recently.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I think it's a brilliant phrase because (1) it boldly assumes that one argument is right without actually needing to say that, i.e. "when all the stupidity ends, everyone will see this is right", (2) it's got a real herd instinct quality -- beat the herd to where they are headed, and (3) it's impossible to refute because you can't prove what the future will say or not. Moreover, on the last point, it's based on a small observable trend, so you can pick and choose when to make the argument so that your assertion seems more credible.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, the Left has been opposed to testing the whole time. They don't like any sense of objectivity in education because that means some kids and teachers would need to be considered "bad" and the left doesn't like that.

Recently, it's the far-right who've turned against testing because they equate that with nationalization.

Anonymous said...

But Andrew, of course America is going down the drain. Ben Shapiro said so! (I'm kidding, but he's my permanent placeholder for pundit douchebaggery.)

And every time a God-fearing citizen has to talk to a gay person, freedom dies just a little bit. And thanks to American TV shows, foreigners think we all live in gigantic NYC apartments! The horror!

Hyperbole? Yes. But sadly, a ring of truth as well. :-)

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, Shapiro is a dipstick. But this isn't an ideological issue. This is a game that both left, right and moderates play. It is a game that people who aren't into politics play.

Rustbelt said...

OT: Like Kentucky, it's also Primary Day here in Pennsylvania! Huzzuuhhh...which, as you know, means we here in the Keystone State have been subjected to anywhere from six weeks to three more months worth of campaign ads than the rest of you. Thank (the) Al Mighty it's almost over. (And that I have the wisdom not to watch network TV anymore.) Otherwise, I'd probably have to drive out to Three Mile Island and set that baby on Statewide Catastrophic: Ludicrous Speed! Sure, there would be some losses, including Gettysburg Battlefield and Ike's Farm. But, hey, would you really miss Philadelphia? Would you?

Anyway, here are two key battles for November:

PA Governor

This has been ugly. Gov. Tom Corbett (R) is in for a tight race. Consider:
-He cut education spending shortly after his swearing-in. I'm pretty sure he meant to dent labor unions (who only strike in PA when affluencey goes up so as to raise taxes and increase their piece of the pie). The unions cried, "Think of the children!" and the people fell for it. (As for the direct approach, well, Gov. Tom Ridge tried that in the 90's. The unions cried, "think of the children!" You know how this ends.)
-Not getting the job done. The Repubs have majorities in both houses of the Legislature. Still, they can't pass anything- inlcuding reforming the Commonwealth's ancient State Liquor store laws.
-The whole Jerry f****** Sandusky thing. It's going to be three generations before this whole issue finally begins to fade away.
-Marcellous Shale: Corbett's been criticized for this. You'd think it was because of the shady outfits that don't follow safety guidelines when drilling. Well, yeah, some. But mostly, he hasn't taxed those dastardly gas companies enough. Profits? How dare they!

Democratic Challengers:

Tom Wolf: Former Revenue Secretary to super-corrupt fmr. Gov. Ed Rendell, he's the likely nominee. He rose to prominence in the last three months with a commercial that showed him driving a jeep and sounding like a nice guy. (He seems to have avoided mudslinging.) I've seen the ad and all I remember is him promising to increase taxes on gas companies so as to steal from the rich (not including him) and give to freeloaders near the WV border. His campaign says this message alone turned it around. They neglect to mention that Wolf, a millionaire, also outspent the other Dems.

Allyson Schwartz: Front runner for more than a year until Wolf's ad trumped her 23 years in Washington and Harrisburg. But what a race it could've been! Schwartz helped draft Obamacare and has ads talking about how great it is and how proud she is of it. Given that Corbett (then as PA Attorney General) filed the original lawsuit against the ACA, this would've been a great war of words.

Rob McCord: Current PA State Treasurer. Beloved by teachers' unions and Franco Harris, this as far as he's got.

Katie McGinty: Al Gore, RFK, Jr., and Bill Richardson all love her! How could the former State Environmental Secretary possibly be the bottomfeeder?!


Rustbelt said...

Then there's PA's 12th Congressional District.

I'm not just mentioning this because it's my home district, but because removing Republican Keith Rothfus has become something of a secular crusade for the Democrats. You see...

Two years ago, PA (like everywhere else), was re-districted. Unlike everywhere else, the new 12th District (a combination of two former districts), included Johnstown- former Al-Capone-Era-Cicero-ish stomping ground of the late Representative and King of Pork, John Murtha- today recognized as a saint by the Orthodox Laborists and the Universal Donkey and Mule Church (Unreformed).
Back in 2012, this new district pitted Murtha's chosen successor, Rep. Mark Critz, against Rep. Jason Altmire- Democrat vs. Democrat for the new district. Anyway, Critz won. And just as he did in 2010, he thanked those who got him there- Big Labor. No, seriously. At the victory party, he said the unions got him elected and he intended to represent them first and foremost (and only). (Of note, only 9 people in Cambria County- Johnstown territory- dared risk life and limb to vote for longtime Hillary crony Altmire.) However, once the smoke cleared from the general election and Democrats finished singing hymns to Obama, did they realize that Rothfus has actually beaten the Big Labor machine and put Johnstown in a red district.

"THIS CANNOT BE!!!" likely screamed James Hoffa, Jr. (Teamsters), Andy Stern (SEIU), and Richard Trumka (AFL-CIO and SW PA native). The usual calls that the Johnstown had been gerrymandered by the GOP State Legislature were made and the signs and pitchforks passed out. 'Revenge!' they swore. 'Revenge!'

Now, Big Labor is preparing an all-out, Operation Barbarossa-esque assault on my district, all in the name of re-claiming "Murtha's Throne." What's the rush? Did they ran out of toilet paper? drum roll [Random Commentaraman throws tomato at Rustbelt.] Anyway, trying to unseat Rothfus are...

Erin McClelland: Likely nominee. Former addiction clinic worker in Blawnox. (near Pittsburgh) Climate change fanatic. Wants a jobs bill. Bigger EPA. Wants to win for women and identity politics. Absolutely loves Obamacare because it "gave 8 million the security of health insurance." (I thought the White house said 7 million?) Was also accused of wearing an earbud in a debate so that her crew could funnel in the answers.

John Hugya: No, not Jerry f****** Sanduksy's online handle. Ex-marine and former aide to King Murtha. Complains of China surpassing US. Wants more earmarks for the district to keep people from leaving. (Can you tell this guy worked for Murtha?) Oh, yeah. On foreign policy, he ignored Obama's failures and went back to bashing while repeating his late majesty's stance on Iraq as correct.

I'm gonna hate this November.

This has been Rustbelt reporting from somewhere in Pennsylvania.
Good fight, good night.

AndrewPrice said...

Rustbelt, "Businessman" Wolf won the Democratic primary.

Rustbelt said...

Sigh...well, a 26% lead in the polls IS going to be hard to overcome. Still, it would've been nice to see Schwartz and Corbett butt heads over Obamacare in November. Or maybe the overzealous support actually cost her some support. Who knows?

After checking a few articles, there are definitely some questions about Wolf's self-finances. Maybe it's the cynic in me, but I just can't accept a gubernatorial campaign being THAT clean. Maybe the GOP will actaully be smart enough to go on the offensive... for once.

AndrewPrice said...

You know, honestly, I don't understand how the GOP wins in PA at all. How do you out vote all the Pittsburgh and Philly types?

Rustbelt said...

A good question, Andrew. Especially since the last census reported another dropoff in non-Democrats. (Surprise, surprise.) There are two theories:

1. The conventional wisdom is that the "Pennsylvania 'T'"- the state with Pgh. and Philly cut out- has just enough voters to out-vote the two major urban centers.

2. My theory- people in and around the cities tend to vote mostly just in Presidential election years. (The rises and falls in turnout rates I saw turning my time as a newsman were quite dramatic.) They seem to forget about off-year elections. Actually, I think this goes hand in hand with the first theory.

Still, Corbett's dug himself quite a hole. Personally, I think the best strategy would be the one employed last year in South Carolina- tie the election into national implications. With the way this year's going, that might not be a bad idea. Of course, this would've worked better with Schwartz as the nominee. (I fully expect Rothfus to do this.)

AndrewPrice said...

Rustbelt, That's really all I can think, that the city dwellers don't bother unless it's a presidential election.

Kit said...

Pennsylvania is basically one giant electoral tease for the GOP during Presidential elections.

AndrewPrice said...

There are several states like that -- Washington, Oregon, PA, New Jersey... which the GOP thinks they can win, but there's really no chance in hell.

Rustbelt said...

Andrew, I would add that Pennsylvania's elderly population play a central role as well. Many of them think they still owe the Democrats for the New Deal. Their immediate Baby Boomer children seem to have inherited that idea, claiming they 'have' to vote for the Dems 'just because.'
This older generational influence is a big deal ,since PA is continuously getting older. This owes a lot to the younger crowd (and more conservative types), moving out for greener pastures; leaving PA as a red, iron oxidized (via the redox reaction of iron and oxygen in the presence of water or air moisture) territory, or, on a map, a 'belt,' if you will.
Like the city dwellers, the elderly also only tend to vote in Presidential election years, ignoring the off-year cycle. And as the state gets older, this situation will only get stronger.

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