By mid twenty-first century, will the United States be like the Soviet Union was in the latter quarter of the twentieth century, unable to sustain its superpower status financially?
The Great American Job Purge
My experience tells me that there are too many political leaders, either so risk adverse, unimaginative, or simply ignorant of the need to fight for jobs, that they allow jobs to slip out of their states and communities or to bypass them.
Today, corporate America, especially the nation’s largest corporations, are so dependent on the global marketplace that the demands of production costs and markets have taken precedence over concerns of keeping jobs in the United States. If these companies are to survive, they must tie their future to the global market.
We must stop thinking of manufacturing as a relic of the industrial revolution. This industry employs a broad range of skills and has a huge multiplier effect on job growth of all other sectors of an economy. It is an essential element of any broad-based stable economy and is vital to the development of a balance of trade and in paying down the national debt.
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As a nation, our economy was built on the fact that we made excellent products and provided exceptional services that were in demand worldwide. We have been rapidly surrendering our position of leadership in these areas where we have truly excelled, and were responsible for making the United States a superpower.
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America has been developing new industries and shipping them to Asia for decades. This started in the 1980s with televisions and cars and has progressed to computer chips, cell phones, and computers. Unless the United States can resurrect its manufacturing base, any breakthroughs from United States’ research will quickly slide into the offshore black hole.
China & India
China and India are not complimentary economies growing in unison with the U.S., but rather to a large extent they expand at the expense of the U.S. economy. For Americans, this means a far different future, one in which our standard of living will be diminished and our military dominance challenged.
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China has the ability to control our play book, and manipulate our companies, economy and political system. I don’t believe the Chinese see any advantage in being our enemy, when they are doing so well as a competitor.
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The Chinese are already recognizing that the United States may be past the time to have any negotiating leverage. They seem to realize that our political leadership, with but a few exceptions, is destroying our economy and our way of life.
Democrats and Republicans allow the lobbyists to do most of their thinking for them and therefore, the lobbyists are shaping American policy and profoundly influencing the course of American government.
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We now often seem to select our political leadership based on who can wage the most vicious 30-second TV smear campaign, and then we allow these leaders to be controlled by the lobbyists, individuals we don’t elect.
The problem with our trade policy is that it lacks balance, but worst of all, it can be bought. Free trade, as perceived by the Clinton and Bush administrations, has had a negative impact on the United States economy and the American people.
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Historically, no nation has ever become an industrial leader under the banner of unrestricted free trade. This is the case today with the rapid rise of China as a world leader in industrial production. The same was true with the rise of Japan and the United States. All have sheltered their industries from foreign competition through the use of tariffs or, through less imposing but equally effective, obstacles.
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The United States government does not appear to have a unified international vision of trade, or of what is best for the nation as a whole. Without a vision, the nation’s economic strength and the well being of its populace will continue its downward spiral.
Our Vision & Survival
We are a nation that can no longer produce products for our own consumption, much less for export, and our highly skilled service sector is following in the same footsteps as our manufacturing sector. Perhaps it’s time to take our heads out of the theoretical clouds and become the tough, global competitor we were in the twentieth century.
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Our American companies recognize how important it is to be a part of the twenty-first century Global economy and what needs to be done to be a dominant force. Our government has had a difficult time comprehending this. Embracing this concept is not about being liberal or conservative. It is about survival.
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What we need are big, bold solutions for big problems, including, but certainly not limited to, a major overhaul of our tax system, the manner in which we regulate our financial systems, and the ability of special interests to steer government at all levels to their benefit at the expense of the nation.
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Our nation became a superpower because we invested in manufacturing and research and development. We were innovative and we made things. We are rapidly becoming a nation that makes nothing and we are not investing in research and development as we should for the twenty-first century economy.