None of what I’ve laid out above is terminal or the end of the world. It is simply an attempt at an honest accounting of what is truly taking place nationally and globally. Also true is the US still has plentiful resources (land, energy, food, medicine, infrastructure, innovative heritage, and national cohesion…among many other resources) to carry on but they must be valued appropriately. America must simply acknowledge what is already plain…it is bankrupt. It must proceed through an orderly bankruptcy to honestly determine what revenues can organically and sustainably be made available (taxes) and to what ends will they be utilized (spending…i.e., education, medical care, military spending, etc. etc.). The nation must prioritize the long term over the short, the young over the old, the future over the present…and do what so many generations before have done…sacrifice some today for a brighter future. Those in the civil war, WWI, and WWII certainly did far more than I’m suggesting…so clearly it is well within our abilities. We simply need honesty, leadership, and a population willing to do the hard things to overcome some really bad math, really bad assumptions, and horrific apathy that allowed lies to be told & accepted without serious challenge.
Those hard things include some combination of higher taxation and lower spending. Reductions of social security benefits for present and future beneficiaries, reductions for Medicare / Medicaid, massive military spending reductions. Revisiting the tax structure that benefits the rich and poor at the expense of the middle.
America could also look at policies that encourage production and manufacturing in America to recoup some of the lost manufacturing employment. But America will also need to acknowledge the future is a world where fewer workers will be needed and that a smaller workforce will, thanks to innovative solutions, continue to figure out how to do more work with less people. An honest debate of this “turning point” where ever more consumers are necessary but ever fewer employees will be hired seems appropriate. How does an economy function when a growing percentage lack the savings or income to be consumers? Greater minds than mine need to wrap themselves around this conundrum.
American’s are used to rapid change and will adjust to their new reality so long as the sacrifices are equally painful for all involved and so long as the vision of a better future is believable and achievable. I know I don’t have all the answers but I’m so confident that if America understands what it faces…it can come up with great ideas to overcome our latest challenges and create a desirable future.