Moving right along on this fine Tochigi Prefecture Tuesday evening (for Tuesday evening indeed it is on this side of the International Date Line) we have this: The Year of Disillusion. Excerpt:\
2016 may be remembered as the year when disillusionment became universal. David Goldman argues the doubt started when global investors discovered that the American land of economic miracles was overhyped back in 2008. “The world used to believe in the United States,” Goldman wrote. “America was the world’s only superpower back in the mid-2000s.” The world’s money came and got sucked into the subprime mess.
In the referred-to article, Goldman says:
Donald Trump argues that America’s problem is that it has sent its wealth overseas. Exactly the opposite is the case: America’s problem is that the world’s wealth came to America, and bought subprime mortgages. At the peak of the housing bubble America imported capital each year equivalent to 6% of GDP. Everyone from China’s central bank to Arab sovereign wealth funds to German provincial-government banks bought American mortgage debt until the housing bubble crashed. Virtually all of the world’s available savings came to the United States.
Then came the inevitable crash. Home prices collapsed and well-paying white collar jobs disappeared. The brother-in-law who made $150,000 a year as a mortgage broker in 2007 was unemployed in 2009 and driving a FedEx truck in 2010–or doing nothing at all, as the labor force participation rate collapsed.
And oh, by the way, the labor force participation rate ain’t got any better since 2010. The Imperial Federal government likes to crow about reducing “unemployment,” but that statistic in today’s world is akin to something shovels from under the south end of a northbound horse. The labor force participation rate is where it’s at, and where it’s at is Sucksville.
But here’s the part, again from Goldman, that bodes ill for the future:
…during the decade before the 2008 crash, Americans were being paid for being Americans. Their forefathers had built the world’s strongest democracy and most open capital markets, and they were living off the rent they charged to foreigners to come in and use it. Meanwhile Americans under 25 somehow sank to the bottom of the international rankings for skills in literacy, math and technology. If you’re paid simply for being American, why not spend your high-school years with Grand Theft Auto?
Why, indeed? Our kids (and a hell of a lot of their parents) can’t read or write; they can’t diagram a sentence, do long division, rebuild a carburetor or apply John Stuart Mill’s tests of causality to solve a problem. Most can’t operate a chainsaw, a splitting maul or build a fire from scratch.
Sure as hell on texting while walking, though – until a telephone pole or city bus gets in the way.
Thus ends a Republic?