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The Declining Superpower?

Is American decline exaggerated? It’s a hot topic, again. We’ll hear the debate.

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Jan. 23, 2012) The aircraft carrier USS Enterprise , bottom, the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Vicksburg, the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Porter, USS James E. Williams, USS McFaul, USS Cole and USS Nitze maneuver into formation during the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group. (U.S. Navy)

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Jan. 23, 2012) The aircraft carrier USS Enterprise , bottom, the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Vicksburg, the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Porter, USS James E. Williams, USS McFaul, USS Cole and USS Nitze maneuver into formation during the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group. (U.S. Navy)

Is America in decline?  It’s become almost assumed in recent years.  China, India, Brazil, others – up.  America – down.  Humbled.  Less than it was.  Now comes the pushback.  “The Myth of American Decline,” goes one headline.

And the theme becomes political just as fast as you can breathe.  America in decline?  No way, said the president last week.  Not on his watch.

Well, which is it?  Are we up, down or sideways?  Is decline a myth?  Or is that idea just a kind of denial?  American dreaming?

This hour, On Point:  Truth or dare.  We’re debating American decline.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Michael Beckley, research fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s international security program. His recent article in the journal International Security contends that America is not in decline and that both its international power and hegemony are increasing.

Christopher Layne, professor, and Robert M. Gates Chair in Intelligence and National Security at the George Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University. His recent article in International Studies Quarterly argues that America is in decline.

Highlights

“The best way to sell books is to title it something like, When China Rules the World,” said Michael Beckley, research fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. “That sells a lot more than when you title it “When Things Are Pretty Much The Same As They Are Now.”

In reality, he says, looking at a broad set of indicators including wealth, innovation, and military power – the United States will remain atop the world for decades, in some areas even increasing its lead over the rest, said Beckley.

It all stems from the fact that people always know more about the failings and liabilities of their own countries and little about the failings and liabilities of foreign nations, Beckley said.

“It’s very easy to get caught up in current evens, the financial crisis, Iraq, and Afghanistan, when you look across the broad sweep of indicators, you see much more stability and strength in the United States,” Beckley said.

Sure, issues like wealth inequality are troubling. But in the U.S., they pale in comparison to other places. “If inequality is a sign of decline, then China is more in decline than the United States,” Beckley said.

So, why the rampant ‘declinism’ in the United States? “It’s great for fundraising to think that the United States is in decline. If you work in the Defense Department, the best way in increase your budget is to say ‘There’s this rising superpower on the horizon and we need more money,’” he said. “If you’re in Congress, it’s a lot easier to blame job losses in your district on Chinese currency manipulation than it is to blame it on your own policies or your constituents.”

Others point out that China’s growing GDP – it will soon surpass that of the U.S.—coupled with and more effective government means that China does pose a near-term threat to the current U.S. global dominance.

Indeed, said Christopher Layne, there are several indicators that show that the U.S. isn’t just in decline vis-à-vis China, but also in relative decline to where the country stood in the 1950s, Layne said.

What the decline of American power suggests, is that the post-WWII global order “is going to weaken and that the U.S. is going to have a lot less influence in those parts of the world that it cares about, especially in Asia,” Layne said.

From Tom’s Reading List

International Security “The United States is not in decline; in fact, it is now wealthier, more innovative, and more militarily powerful compared to China than it was in 1991. Moreover, globalization and hegemony do not erode U.S. power; they reinforce it. The United States derives competitive advantages from its hegemonic position, and globalization allows it to exploit these advantages, attracting economic activity and manipulating the international system to its benefit. The United States should therefore continue to prop up the global economy and maintain a robust diplomatic and military presence abroad.”

International Studies Quarterly “The Great Recession has had a two-fold impact. First, it highlighted the shift of global wealth—and power—from West to East, a trend illustrated by China’s breathtakingly rapid rise to great power status. Second, it has raised doubts about the robustness of US primacy’s economic and financial underpinnings. This article argues that the Aunipolar moment is over, and the Pax Americana—the era of American ascendancy in international politics that began in 1945—is fast winding down. ”

The New Republic “Is the United States in decline, as so many seem to believe these days? Or are Americans in danger of committing pre-emptive superpower suicide out of a misplaced fear of their own declining power? A great deal depends on the answer to these questions. The present world order—characterized by an unprecedented number of democratic nations; a greater global prosperity, even with the current crisis, than the world has ever known; and a long peace among great powers—reflects American principles and preferences, and was built and preserved by American power in all its political, economic, and military dimensions. If American power declines, this world order will decline with it.”

Foreign Policy “The issue isn’t whether the United States is about to fall the from the ranks of the great powers, or even be equaled (let alone surpassed) by a rising China. The world may be evolving toward a more multipolar structure, for example, but the United States is going to be one of those poles, and almost certainly the strongest of them, for many years to come. ”

 

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  • Roy Mac

    Thanks for the warning.

  • Yar

    It appears Michael Beckley has already made Christopher Layne’s point. An America with increasing hegemony is no longer a democracy.  The very definition of hegemony is controlling information.  You can’t have both.   America is on the path of decline.  
    We can use our voice as voters to reject the hegemony of money in politics and reclaim our democracy.  An eroding social safety net, stagnant wages, and declining access to healthcare, are examples of America’s decline.   ‘Right to work’, preventing ‘card check’ to join a union, and the Citizen’s United decision are examples of American Hegemony used against its own people. 

    • Roy-in-Boise

      The future of the corporateocracy is here … It’s like Biff  from Back to the Future is running the show.

      • margbi

        O.M.G.  The bullies are in charge.

    • notafeminista

      Yup.  Dang that freedom of speech….who do you think should get it?  Just the unions?  Maybe just the environmentalists?  Soup kitchens?

      Geez.

  • Anonymous

    If American Exceptionalism is all about Aircraft carriers, ships, drones, & bombs. then we’ll be #1 internationally into foreseeable future.

    • Hidan

      Till the point starving Americans realizing you can’t eat a gun. Billions in arms and defense spending while we cut poor’s heating and oil.

    • Anonymous

      Without a STRONG economy, we will be heading off to nowheresville. So Republican Tea Party, double down on austerity and you can guarantee a future DECLINE. Just see today’s column by Paul Krugman for what austerity has done for the U.K.:

      http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/30/opinion/krugman-the-austerity-debacle.html?ref=opinion

      Not only a decline, but a continuing destruction of this country’s young, graduating from high school, college and graduate school with no appropriate jobs available and looking forward to the loss of hundreds to millions of dollars in lifetime earnings because no one wants to “pass on federal debt to them.” So to spite our face we cut off our nose.

      See the required reference not listed above, Strategic Vision: America and the Crisis of Global Power, by Zbigniew Brzezinski, where a vision between the two guests today is articulated, at least by his two-day exposition on “Morning Joe” last week.

      Note: if the U.S. doesn’t get its act together on the threat of climate change, it won’t matter whether the U.S. declines on not, because it will only be relative to a general larger decline into chaos that no one will influence not to consider control. U.S. leadership is needed NOW, NOW, NOW and the Republicans are set to guarantee it will be absent or ineffective.

  • JustSayin

    It depends on how the word superpower is defined. The US was once the worlds largest creditor nation, however greed and jingoistic driven resource hegemony has made the US the worlds largest debtor.

    What is the use of ALL that hardware for resource confiscation, if China can destroy the US with the tip of a pen? What’s the plan for when, not if, the US is downgraded and capital continues to pour into a solvent currency?

  • Gregg

    Our unsustainable economy has been downgraded. We ceded leadership to France on Libya. Angela Merkel told Obama to pound sand when he tried to encourage more spending. Israel can’t trust us, Iran can.

    Yea, we’re in decline and the world is worse off for it.

    • Anonymous

      What would you expect after EIGHT YEARS of a George W. Bush REPUBLICAN administration? The Republican Party stopped thinking about what government needed to do to provide the underpinnings of a strong economy some 30 years ago with Reagan’s supply-side economics, the voodoo economics of massive tax breaks for the wealthy and less education and support to ensure that the poor did have equal OPPORTUNITY to develop. Without that, U.S. citizens are not able to rise in economic terms in the numbers that are needed.

      And now the Tea/Republican Party is about to double down and choose more austerity because it might cost the 0.1% a few dollars to help revive the prospects for the 99%, without whom there will not be a strong economy in the future. Read Paul Krugman’s column this morning on the U.K.s non-recovery:

      http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/30/opinion/krugman-the-austerity-debacle.html?ref=opinion

      Who wants the U.S. to follow the U.K. and Europe into the economic disaster their austerity policies are headed toward?

  • nj

    Corporations run the country as never before. The two major parties are bought and sold. Any resemblance the national political system has to democracy is purely cosmetic. Poverty is up. Middle class is collapsing. Public infrastructure is disintegrating. We have no realistic energy policy to deal with the impending, post-fossil fuel era.…

    Is there really any question that the country is in decline?

    Pretending there is any doubt about this is similar to taking climate-change denialism seriously and couching that discussion as a “debate.”

    • Gregg

      You had me till the last sentence. Have you been keeping up with the latest news? Apparently not.

      • Anonymous

        Your “latest news” is sadly out of date. There has been an immense pushback to the WSJ piece you linked to on Friday. That tired list of LONG-PROVED-FALSE “claims” that the WSJ published on Friday, after rejecting a strong appeal by 255 (over 15 times your doddering old, senile, and bought-off 16 mostly non climate scientists) members of the U.S. Academy of Sciences. They wanted a discussion of the realities of climate change and a recognition of the need for a serious discussion of the issue and its ramifications, not the bury the subject approach the WSJ has taken, with only the occasional deviation.

        See the ferocious attack by Peter Gleick in Forbes:

        http://www.forbes.com/sites/petergleick/2012/01/27/remarkable-editorial-bias-on-climate-science-at-the-wall-street-journal/

        The WSJ in effect rejected the offer of a ribeye steak at Daniel in NYC for the offal found at the city dump. Anyone who really looks at all the sides in this will see that the WSJ has thoroughly demonstrated that it is a rabid denier, willing to encourage the effective manslaughter of millions who will die in the weather disasters of the future made orders of magnitude worse by the warming of the atmosphere and the acidification of the oceans. The latter will widen the dead zones and decimate the fish that as many as 1 billion of today’s human population depend on for sustenance.

        Beware spreading this pure crap from the WSJ unless you don’t care if you are tarred with the same brush.

        The real news that you missed was the discovery of the affects on fish neural systems of slight increases in the acidity of the water they inhabit. And the increasing CO2 emissions lead to greater absorption of CO2 into the oceans where it becomes carbonic acid.

        • Gregg

          It’s less than a week old, what are you talking about?

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Climate change deniers, HAVE to admit the undeniable ‘heat islands’, like cities, roads, cleared lands, industrial wastelands, and other man-made FACTS, that are easily proven!
           Even to cool our inside environment, we heat the outside!  Do you think that has NO effect on the outside temperature?  Have you NEVER put your hand directly above a working air conditioner outside?
          How many of EACH type of ‘heat island’, are there?  How much does EACH add to the temperature of the local area?
           What does man do to LOWER the temperature of the earth?

    • Hidan

      Noam Chomsky had a great talk on climate change and global warming. Pretty much saying that CEO are legally required to put the shareholders first. This causes short term thinking that even if the CEO knows his actions will harm the environment they have to do it anyways or be replaced.As well is if his competitors choose to think in the short term his company will suffer for doing the right thing. 

      He also talked about how P.R. companies backed by oil pretty much fool 2/3 of Americans into acting against there own interest.

      • notafeminista

        Darn it all!  I keep forgetting the Lefties prefer the rule of Law only when it suits their purposes.

        • Hidan

          If only we had an authoritarian leader that the righties want, you know someone that can make decisions without the need to go to congress or the courts. while waving the flag and holding the bible as he strips away our civil liberties so we can be just alittle bit safer. 

          • notafeminista

            You want the US to obey the rule of Law regarding…. say Guantanemo detainees, but not stockholders.  Hypocrite.

          • Anonymous

            But the Supreme Court has stated that management cannot be “overly interfered with” by stockholder resolutions or directives on company goals. All they can do is vote with their money if the company is doing something they don’t like or think is bad for the company’s future.

          • Anonymous

            @ notafem: That’s true- our burdensome child labor and anti-pollution regulations have impinged on the rightful profits of corporations. Fortunately, China offers a worker’s non-paradise where such impediments to God-given profits do not interfere.

        • Anonymous

          @75593f9edc0ec3fe2934bad774c06ebb:disqus 
          It is interesting that the Republican Party is considered “hierarchical,” while the Democratic Party is considered open to “new blood.”

        • Will H

          It’s only fitting that people have to revolt against the “rule of law” when the primary goal is to protect corporate interests above all else.  Ever wonder how we keep bailing out the banks, piling on debt for our next generations, and bury our heads in the sand re: climate change? 

          We have a system in which money dominates politics, corporations are people, the people believe in trickle up economics to allowing the rich to get richer, the super rich “job creators” control our politicians, and the hardest working high wage earners pay the highest tax burden. The system is fundamentally broken. We keep hoping for our politics to save us, but it won’t happen until we change the way we conduct our politics.

  • Anonymous

    I think the only thing in real decline is America’s economic might and thus its ability to sustain wars. But let us not forget how privatization of supply, transport and food services (a great windfall
    to corporate cronies) contracting drove up the cost of the war.

    In the past, politicians saw war as a military exercise. Politicians were blind to the economic war being waged once Nixon opened up trade with China: economic treason became legal for corporations to pursue with a Communist country with 1 billion slaves, which they have used to great effect in taking our manufacturing away from us.  What did Nixon and others reall think would happen?… (I did indeed predict this when I heard the announcement.)

    The free trade mantra of the ‘Gipper’ was just cheer leading for the systematic export of jobs. Now who was the Manchurian candidate really about?

  • Gregg

    We won’t be in decline if Allen West has anything to do with it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=o8YDnd1Yoyk

    • Anonymous

      So you advocate people who do not believe in your politics should be made to leave. Interesting philosophy that has more to do with a totalitarian ideology that that of the founding fathers of the United States. If you support nut cases like West it speaks volumes about who you really are. Don’t try to squirm out a response by using 5th grade playground tactics.

      • Hidan

        West also had to retire early after disgracing himself in the military.

        What’s funny is greg in the previous thread was claiming it was obama not republican doing all the demonizing.

        • Gregg

          West is a hero in my book. Do you know his story and why he retired? It’s awesome.

          • Hidan

            I do. He was forced out for abusing Iraqi’s

            http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/27/politics/27WEST.html?pagewanted=all

            Tells us about your character when you think something like that is awesome. 

          • Gregg

            Maybe it was buried on page 6 or something but lives were saved due to his heroic actions. That means something to me. True hero.

          • Hidan

            Again West was forced to quit the military by his actions. I guess you and the army have an different definition of “True Here”.

          • TFRX

            I’m surprised that Gregg isn’t pimping West as the next “A-Team”.

            Remember, Hannibal &co were sentenced to military prison for a crime they didn’t commit.

          • Ray in VT

            I looked at a couple of articles this morning based upon your comments, and they indicated that the man was held without charges, and that no evidence was ever found to link him, or an individual linked to him, to attacks upon American troops.  Given those reports, upon what do you base your assertions?

          • Gregg

            I base my assertions on the record. I didn’t form that opinion from any one source and I am going from memory as his story was fascinating to me. He was not court marshaled and he still gets his pension. Here’s one report from the time.

            http://articles.cnn.com/2003-12-12/us/sprj.nirq.west.ruling_1_allen-west-iraqi-detainee-military-justice?_s=PM:US

          • Ray in VT

            Interesting.  That article is from 2003, and it does say that the Iraqi policeman was involved in terrorist activities, but Politifact and Talking Points Memo articles from 2011 contradict that CNN artilce.

          • Gregg

            Revisionist history. The CNN piece was from the time, that’s why I used it. There was also this petition (again, from the time).

            http://patriotpost.us/petition/allen-west/

          • Ray in VT

            It is too bad, though, that often materials that come out too close to the events suffer from their own sort of bias.  I saw the patriotpost link, but the domain name told me their position.  I dislike your dismissal of contradictory sources as merely revisionist history to be discouraging, but it is certainly your right to do so.

          • notafeminista

            You cannot argue with people who have no honor.

          • Gregg

            How true.

      • Gregg

        Squirm out of what? Let me understand this, you tell me what I think, what I am and what I stand for (without a clue), West’s comment flies right over your head and you think I’m the one on shaky ground?

        It’s not a matter of believing in my politics, that’s stupid, it’s all about America being destroyed by the likes of Obama, Pelosi and Reid. Just look at the title of this show! Before Obama the question never even came up.

        • Anonymous

          West said that Liberals should be thrown out of the country. That’s not over my head, and now you are trying your little playground act again. If you support his views as you seem to do, as well as Coulter’ you are saying a lot about what you believe in. West is an extremist, period.
          He’s the worst kind of politician who uses demagoguery as a way to get votes. He appeals to lowest common denominator. Folks like yourself, or so it seems.
          Again, in my view your a fake. Do everyone a favor, stop acting like you’re into debating the issues when it’s clear you are not. You have an ideology that I find repugnant.
          I also think that there are some who are beyond the pale in terms of understanding that the world is not about them and only what they believe in.

          The absurdity and extremism of your comment that the US is being destroyed by President Obama, Pelosi and Reid pretty much says it all. 

          • Gregg

            “West said that Liberals should be thrown out of the country.”

            Well, I see you didn’t use quotes. He didn’t say it. It’s over your head.

            Continue to get all nasty and personal while you fail to make a single point.

  • John

    An interesting thesis, but one I think that lives and dies on how valid the observation rings true:

    Are not all nations in economic decline at this point?  China seems to be only beginning to feel the pinch of a global economic downturn.  Even if they hold their ground defense-spending wise, they’ll still be far behind that of the US.

    All else is merely chatter, I think.

  • RolloMartins

    So for whom does being supernumero #1 benefit, anyway? Us? Canada, Finland, Japan, Germany…these guys seem a pretty happy lot without being number one. Maybe being number one is just for the 1%ers? Those guys making billions? But for the rest of us, I’d rather live in a country that doesn’t want to start a war every other year, pollute its own water and air, manipulate markets for the benefit of Wall St. How about we strive for number #2. I hear its cheaper and cleaner.

    • Gregg

      Our being #1 benefits the world greatly.

      • JustSayin

        Yeah, it sure does! Paying for the defense of other nations, so they can spend their money on their economies and people, while we have indebted ourselves for this nobility.

        When did the US taxpayer decide that they wanted to pay for every other nations defense?

        These other nations benefit greatly from not having defense expenditures of their own. Great Britain couldn’t even handle Libya.

        US defense should be ONLY the defense of the US, not the world. Defense is much more than a national weapons collection, how about a secure manufacturing base, electrical grid, health care, education and other national infrastructure.

        • Gregg

          You just made my point, thanks.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            WHAT?  HOW?

  • peter

    Funny how many supposed liberals and progressives (I am a liberal) seem to welcome a downgrade in America’s superpower status.  So if we are not the policeman of the world who will be?  China?  Will that be a step towards a more progressive world?

    • Gregg

      Very good point.

      • John

        More like the fox being asked to guard the henhouse.  But I suppose some of the more extreme viewers here might point out that the US has enjoyed that role for several decades already.  Me? I’m with you on this one, Peter.

    • Anonymous

      We can’t afford to do it for ever. That’s a reality.
      It’s not a matter of the US losing it’s superpower status, which it is a long way of from doing, but the cost of mounting another Iraq sized invasion would add so much to our debt and deficit that it would really be a fools errand. Not seeing this as an issue moving forward is just foolish. Funny how the former US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates made a very telling comment on this subject: “In my opinion, any future defense secretary who advises the president
      to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East
      or Africa should ‘have his head examined,’ as General MacArthur so
      delicately put it,” was what Mr. Gates told the cadets at West Point.

      By the way China is already beating us on this front, not bt using it’s military, but by using aid and money.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        ‘W’ said that sales of Iraqi oil would PAY for the war!   Isn’t it?

    • Anonymous

      The biggest advocate of downgrading America’s superpower status today is Ron Paul (and his libertarian followers). The liberals/progressives that I know of are standing up for the full panoply of actions that bring real influence throughout the world through both hard and soft power. When a country uses (especially) hard power in certain ways it leads to lack of respect and loss of power rather than gain. Just because a particular action is opposed does not mean that decline is being welcomed. 

  • Hidan

    I hope Michael Beckley, points to Libya as an U.S. success.

    The human rights “success” in Libya

    http://www.salon.com/2012/01/26/the_human_rights_success_in_libya/singleton/#

    http://edition.cnn.com/2012/01/26/world/africa/libya-msf-torture/

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1816544 Dan Trindade

    Is American a declining superpower? Frankly, No. We are still the dominant power on the planet and probably will be for a good time to come. I think that our percieved decline is more a case of overblown expectations about our own hegemonic power in the 1990s and early 2000s coupled with a lack of foreign policy flexibility during the Bush administration. An oversized geopolitical ego that did not position us to manage our affairs in a way that could have balanced the rise of the BRICs. If we had not gone to such a great extent in our use of hard power abroad, America could have prepared itself to maintain the competitive edge we had when the Soviet Union collapsed. Instead, as we basked in our glory and the end of history, we chose to sit on our laurels domestically and over extend ourselves internationally. So if anything we are not in decline, we have just stalled out, stretched ourselves a bit too thin and we must now retrench and adapt. But, if we do not learn to adapt to the times and move forward in a pragmatic and rational fashion with regards to our own domestic development and our foreign policy objectives, the debate over our decline will end up a lot more than just talk. 

    • Hidan

      2050 I believe is the date, when the price of oil is 2x3x4x what it is today, China and other countries have invested in alt resources while the U.S. kept the status quo and probably after another unfunded war that further plunges the U.S. into more debt and claims the only way to cut is it to take from the least among us. As well by that time more rights in china would had been granted and people would have already started to exploit cheap labor in africa cause the cost of labor in china would have increase. Because of Globalization companies based or created in the U.S. have no reason to be/remain loyal and will suck up as many resources and breaks an town,state, fed government gives them than leave when ask to pay something back.

      I say 2050 cause by then many more tax cuts would have occurred to the point that there really nothing to cut. While this decline occurs we will have our media and intellectual’s telling us everything is doing great,

    • AC

      i’m inclined to agree, & expect a lot of bashing and ‘hopeful’ negative lists to post today. But I remember right after 911, how people came together. I think when it’s important, we still are a united country….

      • notafeminista

        Tsk.  Jingoism and war/fearmongering whipped up white men trying to marginalize “the other.”

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Interesting swing of your usual positions on matters!

          • notafeminista

            3T, it was sarcasm.

          • Modavations

            He”s why I invented the concept of “J”.They don’t get any lamer then this guy.By the end of the day he will have a reply to every post.In one day he creates “War and Peace”

      • Gregg

        And then after we came together politics got so nasty people accused Bush of bringing down the towers. Obama told Republicans to sit down and shut up. He told the poor their troubles were due to the rich. He recently said Republicans wanted dirty air and water. We can’t criticize Obama without being called racist. And on and on.

        I really would like to think you are right but I think we are more divided than ever.

        • Anonymous

          Bush exploited 9/11 as a false premise to invade Iraq which has turned out to be a huge drain of our military and economic resources. 

          The Republicans might not want dirty air and water but they oppose spending money to prevent it or clean it up. 

          • Gregg

            That’s crazy.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Was the U.S. Millitary running an ‘Exercise’ on 9/11, of the scenario that actually happened, as I have received?
             WHY would ANYONE run such an exercise, on a date KNOWN to be special to someone that means us harm?  Wouldn’t it have been FAR smarter, to be on more alert status?
             If the elementary school knows that there is going to be a fire drill, on a given day, they are going to act as if it is a drill, even if it is a fire!

        • TFRX

          “More divided than ever” is the mainstream media’s chant whenever a Democrat somewhere starts making noises about taking their own side in a fight.

          The most crazy wingnut righties are front and center and leading the parade. They are the right wing’s tastemakers.

          Your attempt to paint the 911 truthers as representative of the left in particular, the left overall, or their leadership, is pathetic.

          • Gregg

            I painted no one, I just pointed out the division.

        • mary elizabeth

          Your distortions of the  truth of what Obama actually  said  are revealing of the right wing appeal to always play the victim even if it is a lie.
          No President  has reached out, compromised with the   opposition more  than Obama. WHEN did he tell the poor that their troubles were due to the rich? WHEN  did he say that the Repubs wanted dirty air.?
          Your incessant  negative  commenting causes this participant to turn off    due to frustration with the  amount of  energy you take up. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

    Many reasons why America is in decline:

    1. American consumerism was based on debt.  The US debt orgy  is pretty much over.  The US is no longer the essential consumer for foreign resources and products and Americans will soon learn to live like their intellectual equivalents in the 3rd world.

    2. The American dollar has been exposed as just paper fiat money that the Fed produces at will.   Its value is supported only by its military might.  That Federal Reserve ponzi scheme is almost over.

    3.  Since Vietnam,  America’s advanced trillion dollar military technology has been matched by assymetrical warfare around the globe.  Rightious dudes in flipflops carrying AKs, RPGS and IEDs communicating with runners and smoke signals.

    4.  Outsourcing, automation, advanced technology has rendered millions of workers idle and despirited.  Lower paid women and recent college graduates are the preferred hire.  The official  rates do not reflect real unemployment.

    5.  The American family has been decimated.  The courts have effectively removed the father figure as head of households, weakening family units. The wive’s are just doing their thing, while most American kids are lost and without essential guidance.

    6.  America is no longer the recipient of global brain drain.  At best its only temporary.  Foreigners no longer want to live here permenantly – only to gain experience and money.

    At recent swearing ceremonies in Boston,  the largest group of new citizens come from Haiti and Dominican Republic, which are amongs the poorest countries in the world. 

    7.  Twenty years ago, 1 billion Arabs actually admired Americans.  that has turned into hate.   In its fight against the ubiquitous “terrorism”,  America and Israel has become the biggest menace to peace in the world, according to a majority of the people in the world American are the terrorists.

    8.  I could go on an on with other points, but if you can’t see decline in this, you are in a fantasy world.

    • Cory on the Oder

      Good stuff.  Very thoughtful.

  • AC

    i’m noticing people posting as to why do we need to be #1? I don’t think that’s how we should view it; I look at the ‘honor killing’ convictions going on in Canada right now & I think, this is why America was such a good idea to begin with, this ability to live peacefully & not to have illogical rules forced upon us. Why isn’t that what we focus on?

  • http://www.facebook.com/vlpoirier Vernon Poirier

    Many great points made, on both sides of the issue, and I would probably add little.  My thinking is that the American people are this country’s greatest asset.  If and when there are greater opportunities elsewhere in the larger world (or outside of it), Americans will go there to avail themselves to those opportunities, thereby spreading “American Spirit” where-ever they go.  Frankly, I would love to be a part of that!

    • AC

      I agree. The angrier the post, the more difficult i find it to believe they have ever left this country. I’d like to see such commentary allowed in say…more than half the planet!

  • Hidan

    Welcome to the united snakes
    Land of the thief, home of the slave
    Grand imperial guard where
    the dollar is sacred and proud
    Smoke and mirrors, stripes and stars
    Stollen for the cross in the name of God
    Bloodshed, genocide, rape and fraud
    Written to the pages of the law, good lord

    The cold continent latch key child
    Ran away one day and started acting foul
    King of where the wild things are, daddy’s proud
    Cause the roman empire done passed it down

    Imported and tortured the work force
    They never healed the wounds or shook the curse off
    Now the grown up Goliath nation
    Holdin open auditions for the part of David, can you feel?

    Nothing can save you, you question the rain
    You get rushed in and chained up
    fists raised but I must be insane
    Cause I can’t figure a single goddamn way to change it You don’t give money to the bums

    On the corner with a sign, bleeding from their gums

    Talking much, you don’t support a crackhead

    What you think happens to the money from yo’ taxes

    Shit the governments an addict

    With a billion dollar a week kill brown people habit

    And even if you ain’t on the front line

    When the master yell crunch time you right back at it

    You ain’t look at how you hustling backwards

    And the end of the year add up what they subtracted

    3 outta twelve months your salary

    Paid for that madness, man that’s sadness

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OO18F4aKGzQ

    • AC

      do you really believe this or is it an affectation of angst that just sums up your overall dissatisfaction?

    • Four Elements

      Strangely, you have articulated the dirty truth beneath the glossy, Madison Avenue surface.

      • notafeminista

        Half of it.  Or do you allow your fellow humans no positive attributes?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1816544 Dan Trindade

    [But I remember right after 911, how people came together. I think when it's important, we still are a united country....] I couldn’t agree more. I hope it does not take another terrible and tragic event to bring us together again..

    • TFRX

      We were “together” for a few months, until someone in the Bush II White House decided to not waste the crisis and invade Iraq. Then came the Freedom Fries and all the other crap.

      I thought Shrub had something worthwhile when he made that speech at Ground Zero on the rubble. He proved me wrong in a matter of months.

  • Socrates

    The U.S. flourished during the 50s and 60s when taxes on the rich were the highest. Until we are fair for all, we will continue to decline into the oligarchy we have started towards down the road.

    • notafeminista

      And we were the only manufacturer on the block. 

  • Mike Smith

    The traditional Cold War superpower role is no longer necessary, nor was it ever sustainable. America drove the only other superpower into economic ruin by virtue of its superior economic footing.
     
    The world became dependent on America filling the role of superpower during that period and Americans began to see themselves as occupying that role forever. Its simply not possible for one country to do it all.
     
    What we are seeing is the gradual realization that the remainder of the world needs to step up and engage as a group in the activities that were historically ceded to the United States, whether that be military, humanitarian, economic, or educational.
     
    So yes, the United States is declining as a traditional superpower, but that is something that has to happen, and while some Americans may see that as a problem, it is actually an opportunity for the rest of the world to step up and engage in addressing the issues that face us as a whole rather than deferring that responsibility to one country.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Look what happened to the British Empire after World War II. Was it out of humanism that African colonies were unleashed one by one, or enlightened self-interest? 

    We seem to be moving into the age of alliances; consider how easy to control is the Israeli machine, with political gridlocks of their own.  Are we in lock step, as the president says, or does that ally put its interests first even when they conflict with ours?  Do we get blamed and dragged into who knows what?  

    The art of international alliance pretty much puts a lot of hegemony out of reach of common understanding.  Post World War II, Americans, it seems to me, had a firm grip on what we could do and why and were ready to pull together, confident and willing.  We had an enemy to hate and to motivate us, and we STILL think the USSR’s threat exists, for instance, in Sweden’s government, or Denmark’s.  (Ahem!)

    But after the kinds of international shenanigans of the financial sort, who are we to pretend we understand, who are we to come together and help out?  On the sly, the smoke and mirrors are working against us.  We are the serfs of the international big boys, and are close to electing one of them who boasts he knows how to play the game.  Say what?

    • notafeminista

      Don’t know about “enlightened”, but it darn sure was out of self-interest.  Great Britain was a pile of rubble!  There was no sustaining those colonies and they knew it.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Are we democrats at home and tyrants internationally?  Is that our special identity?

    • Gregg

      Other nations win wars and conquer land. We don’t. All we ask is for a little real estate to bury our dead. There is no example in history of a nation using such power for such good.

      And for the translators out there (not you Ms. Dibble), I did not say we were perfect or that we have never done wrong so please don’t go there.

      Who is more just?

      • Anonymous

        Well that’s not quite true. We went to war with Mexico and failed to conquer Canada in 1812. People forget that Mexico’s borders went through much of the South West and California. We fought a war with Spain (Spanish-American war) and took control of the Philippines, Cuba, Guam, and Puerto Rico. We still have Puerto Rico and Guam.

      • Cory on the Oder

        Puerto Rico, the Phillipines, Hawaii, Iroquois, Sioux, Seminole, Cherokee, Remember the Maine, WMD’s in Iraq…

        • Modavations

          Europe,Korea.Japan

      • http://www.facebook.com/NewtonsBob Bob Kavanagh

        Mexico War? Texas, California, Arizona, New Mexico and on & on. Please learn history before you post. You make yourself look very foolish, at best

    • Ray in VT

      At times it has been.  This author has written quite a bit on the subject of how we have acted internationally:

      http://www.amazon.com/Thank-God-Theyre-Side-Dictatorships/dp/0807847739/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1327934544&sr=8-1

    • notafeminista

      Marshall Plan certainly a sign of tyranny.  Photos of U.S. soldiers handing out candy and playing soccer with children–despots all.  Throwing out only the very worst of the wretched refuse  (and usually failing at that) while we argue what “open borders” means and what constitutes ‘a citizen’ – malevolent dictators are we.

      • Cory on the Oder

        Fire bombing Dresden and Tokyo, nuclear obliteration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, MiLai massacre, Abu Gharaib prison…  I can name a “tit” for your every “tat”.

        • notafeminista

          As can I yours.   Wanna take bets?

          • Terry Tree Tree

            I’m looking forward to you two carrying this out some!

        • Terry Tree Tree

          This will get interesting, if you two carry through with it!

  • Terry Tree Tree

    Which other nation maintains 11 Nuclear Aircraft Carriers?
       Which other nation maintains a fleet of Stealth Bombers?
       Which country, besides the U.S., has near the fleet of Stealth Fighter Aircraft?
       Name the other countries that have the number of active, effective drone aircraft?
       The U.S. Marine Corps is inferior in fighting ability to which fighting force?
       Decreasing the size of the biggest and best, will make the U.S. Millitary inferior to whom? 
       We will still be biggest and best! 

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

      And like the USSR before it collapsed, we’re being crushed under the weight of our “defense” spending.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        AGREED!  That’s why I was pointing out that if our Millitary gets decreased, it will STILL be the biggest!

  • Anonymous

    Superpower?  Awful word, awful concept! If I had a “super neighbor,” I’d want him or her to be super-interesting, helpful, happy, generous, fun, prosperous and a super addition to the community.  Honest, I wouldn’t feel easy if she had two Apaches parked in her yard, and a gun emplacement in every window, along with front yard signs with insults for Muslims, elites, and French fries.

    Give me America, the good neighbor, every time.

    • notafeminista

      Until someone showed up to steal your car and/or television.

    • Cory on the Oder

      They’d also declare you had WMD’s in your basement, stage a home invasion, and drain all the fuel oil from your basement tank…

  • Yar

    I don’t want to listen to another hour of political polarization on the question of decline.  I hope for some new ideas that lead to action to stop (or prevent) decline and build an economy based on sustainable levels of consumption.  Reducing our dependence on fossil fuels is essential.  Reducing our total energy usage per person is also necessary. 

    • Ellen Dibble

      Personal energy usage is considered “the” definition of existence in America today, if you look at Facebook postings.  There is even a map on the timeline so you can visually encapsulate your distances covered.  If you want a post that gets attention, go someplace.  As a last resort, go to the mall.  But better, go to a resort, or a cultural center, a special restaurant, a sports event.  Or buy something, something with energy built into its production and distribution.  Has anyone else noticed?

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Facebook has too many privacy and choice problems, for me to consider! 
           I had food for lunch yesterday, and I’ll probably have food for lunch today.  Isn’t that enough info, unless something is FANtastic, or dangerously bad?

        • Modavations

          I’d curious.What color panties are you wearing today.What a hoot.NPR’s # 1 Busy body.Do you intend to comment on every post issued today

          • Terry Tree Tree

            More Moda perversion?  Are you a Catholic priest or clergy? 
               Count my comments, and the total number?

        • Ellen Dibble

          This came up, it seems, as a reply to my post, though it doesn’t show on the screen.
             No.  On Facebook, you boast and you complain.  You act like an entertainer for the adolescent group, serenading about the highs and lows of life today, giving it shape, with this reference or that.  I’m still working out what it means for those like me who have pretty much flat-lined in terms of that sort of thing.  Last time I bought some Killer Sudoku books at Amazon I thought of “sharing” that, since some of my “friends” might not know about that.  Once I did not, and it took two visits to zero in on that online, and the bookstores won’t help.  But did I share that?  No.  I decided it would come across as a cross between promotional and a sort of intellectual flashing.  There is a kind of art form, though, that seeks what can be done in that guise, different sorts of relationships, different sorts of signaling with a random and varying audience. Plus it’s a pretty good base for messaging people, but whether that gets erased or not is questionable.

  • Ellen Dibble

    I heard a Republican saying that Obama congratulating us on our importing less oil as similar to congratulating a sick person on losing weight.  
       I think the American notion of progress, meaning generating more CO2, is self-destructive, and we have to get that definition of progress and success under control before we talk about standing on top of the world in any sense.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Personal energy usage is considered “the” definition of existence in America today, if you look at Facebook postings.  There is even a map on the timeline so you can visually encapsulate your distances covered.  If you want a post that gets attention, go someplace.  As a last resort, go to the mall.  But better, go to a resort, or a cultural center, a special restaurant, a sports event.  Or buy something, something with energy built into its production and distribution.  Has anyone else noticed?

  • Modavations

    I’m far more worried about what the Left has done to our schools and their black chattel.The fight,as always, is between Free men and Communist-Socialists.I worry about the Putsch(?)

    • Cory on the Oder

      Wha?

    • notafeminista

      Gotta keep ‘em poor and stupid so they neeeeeed you.

      • Dave

        Shhhhh. Don’t give up the Fed playbook! 
        Pump, Consume, Bust; Pump, Consume, Bust….. 

        • notafeminista

          Don’t forget innovate, educate and motivate!  God bless Henry Ford :)

          • Anonymous

            Ford paid his workers enough so they could afford his products.

          • notafeminista

            Because they weren’t unionized.

          • Modavations

            Eztremely righteous

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    The 1% have gotten richer and richer faster and faster by selling out the US.

    While the right wear their patriotism proudly on their chests, their money goes to where ever they get the best returns.

  • Gregg

    Ray in VT:

    Sorry, I can’t read your response. Please repost, but I’ve got to step away and when I get back I fear there will be hundreds of comments. But I can scroll.

    • Ray in VT

      Hi Gregg,

      That’s annoying (not what you said but how threads get squashed like that).  I can’t find it when I scroll down.  Anyways, my comment was just about how often items too close to an event don’t have the the advantage that sometimes come with distance from an event and the facts that later come out.  I disliked your characterization of more recent reports as merely revisionist history, and I said that I saw the patriotpost link, but the domain name told me their position.  It reminded me a bit of home sometimes a name can tell you  a groups position, like Patriot Bible University.  That name has always struck me as funny.  That bit wasn’t in my original post.

      • Gregg

        Thanks Ray. He would have been court marshaled or lost his pension if not for the extenuating circumstances. I have followed it closely and I do think things become cloudier over time. You did not provide sources and if you do I will be happy to comment on them. Otherwise, given my research, I think dismissing them is a rational move. I cannot comment on something I have not read.

    • Ellen Dibble

      I tried to copy that post, apparently by Ray in VT, in case he isn’t paying attention, and I come up with this:  “It is too bad, though, that often materials that come out too close to the events suffer from their own sort of bias.  I saw the patriotpost link, but the domain name told me their position.  I dislike your dismissal of contradictory sources as merely revisionist history to be discouraging, but it is certainly your right to do so.”  (at ONE letter per line!)
      Actually I think I read the same post in regular form, so maybe he reposted it already.

      • Ray in VT

        I tried to find it so that I could copy it, but couldn’t find it, so thanks.  I tried to mostly get the original and then added a bit more, as you probably saw.

  • Cory on the Oder

     “…but the United States is going to be one of those poles, and almost certainly the strongest of them, for many years to come.”

    That really isn’t the question though, is it?

    Let us compare the US today to the US in 1950, shall we?  We were the sole nuclear power in the world, and the sole remaining industrial power left undamaged by the second world war.  Millions of returning soldiers were using their GI Bill to get college degrees.  Unions were strong, and a high school education could easily net you a middle class, family supporting industrial job.

    60 years later…  The US is in massive debt and owes much of it to nations like China, which clearly view us as a rival/enemy.  Many nations posess nuclear weapons, and some of them are not our friends.  We stand at the beginning of the dogfight known as globalization.  Remaining industrial jobs pay little, and unions are in full retreat across the country.  The social safety net is being dismantled, and the wealth gap is approaching levels not seen since the gilded age.

    If this isn’t decline, then what would be?

  • Chris

    It’s only declining for 99% of it’s people

    For the top 1% criminal rich it’s TO THE MOON BABY!

  • john in danvers

    Obama: “…doesn’t know what they’re talking about!”

    Ahem, this is the language of a bully.  If it were true, why speak so?

     

    • BHA in Vermont

      My guess is he is responding to the Republican presidential candidates who claim everything is rosy, America is and will always be, and must always be, the most powerful country in the world.

      Unfortunately he seems to be drinking from the same Kool-aid jug. Instead of facing the facts and presenting a plan to improve things, he is doing a “me too”.

  • Chris

    America is back????????!!!!!!!!!!!!  

    Tell that to the 25 million people without jobs.

    Tell that to the 4 million on food stamps.

    Tell that to the one of four kids living in poverty.

    Tell that to the 8 million who lost their homes.

    Tell that to more than half the population who lives paycheck to paycheck.

    Tell that to anyone but the criminal elite and they know you are lying.

    • Chris

      46 million on food stamps

    • notafeminista

      When the United Way says a family of four with and income of 46,000 is living in poverty, I tend to suspect an agenda.

      • Modavations

        A poor guy in the US is considered the Ultra Wealthy in three quarters of the world.

        • notafeminista

          Yup.  More than 1/2 the world’s population lives on less than $2 a day, but the guy here in the US with a car and an air conditioner is poor.

          Perspective is a tricky thing.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Show us that you can live well here, on $2 per day, for ten years!

          • notafeminista

            Why?  So you can move the goalposts after I do?  (and I will)

          • bellavida

            I’d like to see you show us all how we can live on $2 day. 

          • notafeminista

            You didn’t answer the question.

  • BHA in Vermont

    As much as the presidential candidates are screaming that anyone who says America is in decline is un-American and wrong really should get their heads out of the sand.

    Our debt is soaring, few can afford a college education and don’t get sick because most can’t afford medical expenses. The poor and middle class have had zero real income growth for a decade or more.

    • Dave

      Ron Paul isn’t pandering with that message.

      Our pending bankruptcy/dollar collapse is the #1 security threat.

      We can destroy the earth 10 times over with our current weapons.

      Walk softly and carry a big stick needs to come back. Only Paul is saying it.

      • BHA in Vermont

        True, I lumped them all together and I apologize. I guess it was because he isn’t at all likely to be the chosen Republican candidate for the general election.

  • Ray in VT

    Isn’t a part of this conversation perhaps not so much how we have fallen, but how others are rising?  That is the argument that Fareed Zakaria makes.

    • Modavations

      Fareed is a Dem.Rump Swap of the highest magnitude.Who knew that MIT is now 51st rated Technical school.I guess Stanford is 52 and Harvard 53.

      • Ray in VT

        Hey, don’t get mad at me because U.S. News and World Report says that Harvard is ahead of MIT in global rankings.  Why don’t you bombard them with some of your b.s.

        • Anonymous

          How did BC rank?

          • Ray in VT

            #349

          • Modavations

            You ask someone who thinks MIT ranks 51st in Technical Institutes.Ray from the mean streets of Johnson,Vt is a two bit propagandist

          • Ray in VT

            And when did I say that exactly?  I said that MIT was behind Harvard in global rankings from U.S. News and World Report.  You, from wherever you are from, are, based upon your postings here, are such a petty, simple-minded fool that I wonder how you ever made it out of high school, if you did in fact do that.

          • Modavations

            Wind Mill Story.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Guppy raised it 2 points, personally?

        • Modavations

          Mean Streets.My humblest appology.I thought you called MIT 51st best school,not 5.I will self-flagellate,but hope you understand why I took umbrage

  • Dave

    Great Show.

    I hope there is mention of Ron Paul’s Foreign Policy, essentially strong Defense, knock of the Offense, Policing and Military Industrial Complex status quo pandering.

    Such a policy, a new Walk Softly and Carry a Big Stick, would garner much more support in the world, and might even save the “empire” from bankruptcy.

    Americans are ready.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    The 1% have run up our tab to the point we will collapse – and their going to walk away and stiff us with the bill.

  • S.C. Listener

    Tom, turn on the fan… this is all smoke and mirrors.

  • BHA in Vermont

    Median income comparison between the USA and China is MEANINGLESS.

    What are their PERSONAL health care costs?
    What are their food costs?
    What are their housing costs?
    What are their PERSONAL education costs?
    What are their ‘product’ costs?

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Aren’t we seeing other nations join the modern economy, which means that research and development will happen all over, not just in a few countries?

    • BHA in Vermont

      No, because only American’s are smart enough to invent anything, haven’t you been listening?  ;)

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    About the “American” firms and corporations they are going on about – it’s a myth. All of them are global entities and their only allegiance is to their own profits.

  • Chris

    90% Chinese PHDs stay here? 

    Ever think about them being spies?

    • Modavations

      I know a lady that had to pay the Govt.100,000.00 to leave.

      • BHA in Vermont

        Leave where?

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Why?

  • RB

    Not only is the US in decline, the world is in decline. Our resources are running out. We are acting desperate.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    The Patent Laws, and fees have been changed to HURT the independent inventor, called ‘small entity’, while making it FAR EASIER for rich, or big corporations to effectively steal the creativity of those that they cannot emulate!
       ‘Citizens United’, gave SUPER-citizenship to corporations, foreign or domestic, which GREATLY reduces the citizenship of ACTUAL U.S. citizens!
       Flag-waving corporate Billionaires export jobs and companies, to become Trillionaires, which hurts the country who’s flag they wave!

  • AC

    I’m agreeing with this guest so far – if you travel, you’ll see….

  • Dave

    Tom let’s be clear, or at least explore, that Ron Paul, absolutely from the Republican Candidates, if not both parties, speaks most honestly about this problem and the foreign policy/economic solutions.

    • Anonymous

      Ron Paul is a cult leader not a serious candidate.  His solution to every problem is less government.  Occasionally that is the right solution but most of the time it is unrealistic.

      • Dave

        That show’s a poor understanding of his positions and vision.

        The relationship between the Federal Reserve, the Wall St Banking sector, the Military Industrial complex, our financial crisis, our wars, and our pending bankruptcy/dollar collapse is as clear as day, to anyone willing to leave the 2-party kool-aid behind and pull their head out of the stand.

        What makes Paul able to challenge that status quo, is his principled defense of following the Constitution, with Government limited to Constitutional boundaries, Sound money, and an understanding of Rule of Law, vs. Discretionary Rule, which is what we have had for so long, allowing the elite banking/political class to remain above the law, and have unlimited funding to pander with.

        Until you can explain how your party or candidate specifically addresses these issues in a sustainable way, your knee-jerk generalizations and criticism of Paul hold no water.

        • Anonymous

          I’ve already responded to your usual list of Ron Paul phrases.  Whenever I mention his position on civil rights you just change the subject.  I might have missed it, but did you respond when I posted the link to the ACLU scorecard that did not show him with a higher rating that Obama? Also unless Ron Paul runs as an independent, why are you exempting him from the “2-party kool-aid” as he is running for the Republican nomination (albeit not very successfully).

          • Dave

            “why are you exempting him from the “2-party kool-aid” as he is running for the Republican nomination (albeit not very successfully).”

            Because he has a completely different message than the status quo of either party? The name doesn’t matter.

            I’m not going to take the black hole bait of proving to you that Ron Paul doesn’t support racism or denying anyone their rights.

            But I think the issues I raised, and my charge that nobody else in the 2 parties addresses them (Ralph Nader supports Paul on many such issues), needs to be answered.

            But I would ask that the response takes into account the notion of Classical Rule of Law, and Sound Money, and how that relates to everything.  If you don’t know what those things mean, or how they might relate to our economic and military policies, I can’t force you to do the work of investigating and contemplating.

            But I do appreciate your commentary.

          • Anonymous

            I’m not going to take the black hole bait of proving to you that Ron Paul doesn’t support racism or denying anyone their rights. — He does not support protecting against racial discrimination on a national level.  His states rights position is the same as George Wallace.

          • Modavations

            The Dependency Party is guilty of the soft genocide of American Blacks.One in three black males are in prison,parole,or probation.The first act of Pres.Obama was the ending of the D.C. voucher program.He consciously destroyed 500 lives

          • Dave

            Nice race card name dropping, but last I checked, anyone who’s constitutional rights have been infringed are free to sue for recourse, setting precedents that go forward and help to shape our legal universe. Now that’s progressive.

            You are simply arguing that we need affirmative government.  That we need the government to pre-empt all bad things or bad luck that might befall us.

            I am arguing that the government needs to be there (courts, and defense of our system/nation) so that we can sue if we are wrongfully harmed.

            The pre-emptive model, whether economic “justice” or GWs war on terror, are an unsustainable over-reaching of government that ultimately only divides and bankrupts us.

            The joke is that the power elite already know that and continue to laugh their way to the bank as they dangle their utopian solutions in front of our nose for a fee.

          • Dave

            The “fee” is in excess taxes, inflation, and financial swindling, that we all pay for the opportunity to play their big little game.

          • TFRX

            Are you just another white guy who’s never had to worry about a different black traffic cop pulling him over every single day?

          • Anonymous

            The solution is probably some nonsense like: If we only had private roads paid for by merchants and not taxes there would be a private police force on it and the black driver could chose not to patronize that merchant as surely some other merchant would want his business and build another road. 

          • TFRX

            Yep. But we need a better name for it, the way that “lynch mob” can be massaged into “outsourced translegal justice task force”.

          • Dave

            I guess you guys are the sick minds you are protecting us from. Your utter disdain and mistrust of you fellow citizens, and desire for the “right” people to make sure we all act the “right” way, is disturbing.

            In a civilized society we jail people for hurting other people or infringing on their rights. 

            What more do you want? Total mind control? Shock collars to be sure nobody is rude or offensive? You guys are the type that would take recent advances in Neuroscience showing brain regions/activity that correlate with crimes, and pre-emptively throw them in jail.

            Benevolent Dictators.

          • TFRX

            Pfft. Your lack of history is laughable, and your “remedies” are meaningless.

          • Anonymous

            The all white juries in the South would not have protected civil rights.  More proof that Ron Paul’s simplistic ideas don’t work in the real world. 

            Shouldn’t citizens have a right to have their representatives draft the laws that govern them and not have it determined by court precedents?

            How is Ron Paul’s vision of government not as unrealistic as any other utopia?

          • Dave

            Supreme court if you have to go that far.  I don’t think Paul is against the Supreme Court.

            Courts interpret the law as it relates to our Constitutional rights.  Our Constitutional rights trump the tyranny of the masses should it occur. We should celebrate that.

            If you would quit stringing me along and investigate/reply to the systemic issues I keep highlighting (Fed, Debt, Economic Bubbles, Banking cronyism, War, Inflation, 2-party complicity) then the PRAGMATIC nature of Constitutional Government and Sound Money as per the Constitution (not “Paul’s vision”), as opposed to the Utopian dream of omniscient and non-corrupt management of everything, speaks for itself.

            I can’t do the reading/thinking for you.

          • Anonymous

            I agree that the courts should protect individual civil liberties.  Why aren’t individuals entitled to federal protection of those rights?  Why does he oppose the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade protecting a woman’s right to reproductive choice?  Was Brown wrongly decided?  You can’t dismiss the totality of Ron Paul’s positions and only defend those you agree with if you are proposing him as the solution. 

  • Terry Tree Tree

    The Patriot Act, the Homeland Security Act, the Defense Authorization Act signed in December, are a few increases of the decline of the U.S.!

    • Modavations

      I laugh at the party of Big Govt., worrying about Big Brother.

  • Gisscottheron

    Apple Computer has a 79 billion dollar cash hoard that has not been distributed to average Americans meanwhile the everyday cash flow to the Average American is in decline and has been since the 1970′s

  • TFRX

    Did we have a show about “America’s decline” when Shrub was president?

    He lied us into war, then got tired of looking for OBL, and failed to submit a balanced budget during a ~5-year expansion during which median income changed about squat.

    There’s a reason he ended up the least popular (approval-ratings) and worst-regarded (historians) president in over a century. Too bad nobody in the mainstream press narrativized it.

    • AC

      heehee.
      ‘shrub’
      I was wondering who that was for 2 whole seconds….

  • Akfaka

    A nation is no different from a cooperation. Cooperations like Kodak, AOL, Microsoft, GM… hold on to their pass successes, and talk tough. But they forget time has changed, when a cooperation is in denial of its downfall and fails to re-invent itself, that’s when it drives to its own demise.

  • Anonymous

    Were we in the loosers ranks in test taking during the cold war?
    Problem solving requires not just critical thinking, but awareness and knowledge of fact, phenomena, tools and limitations of approaches and materials; command of some of these facts is based upon knowledge of them and test scores are a reflection of this knowledge base.

    One indicator of decline has been the move of university administrators to replace tenured professors with adjunct professors who are paid very, very poorly i.e. 3-4k per course.
    While the cost of education rises beyond economic sense, bloated self-serving administrators give themselves raises while squeezing the educators. What kind of pause for concern should this give us?

  • http://www.facebook.com/NewtonsBob Bob Kavanagh

    The guest only measures ‘greatness’ by material produced or owned.

  • EJ1858

    Maybe ’cause they keep telling us how our salaries have been stagnant since the 70′s (well for most of us anyway!)

  • Jasoturner

    When did Obama say our nation is in decline?  Romney is just making crap up.  I would prefer a candidate who does not do that.

  • Dave

    Lets just be sure not to take a “If we can’t beat em’, join em’” approach with China.

    https://www.montpelerin.org/montpelerin/documents/Toby%20Evans.pdf

    “Examine whether authoritarian capitalism is a viable alternative to its Western liberal version, to promote long term economic growth and development.”

  • Still Here

    Obama is solely responsible for the decline of America.  Voters will have a chance to reject his unprecedented efforts to weaken the country. 

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

      The biggest reason for decline in America is the uncanny ability of Americans to believe in things that are completely devoid of facts or reality.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Ten years of war in Afghanistan had NOTHING to do with decline?
         Eight years of war in Iraq had NOTHING to do with decline?
         ‘W’ acknowledged the Budget Surplus, and promised to make it BIGGER!  Was it BIGGER when he left office?

  • George T in Dedham

    before your guests say how they DISagree, PLEASE have them say specifically what they AGREE on (especially, in terms of data).  this could apply to almost all your debats.

  • TFRX

    “Our president thinks America is in decline”, per Mitt.

    1) Really? Tom, can someone start fact-checking those pep rallies?

    2) You can tell Mitt is the “sane one” because he didn’t call him a KenyanFascistCommunistUsurper. That’s what passes for “high minded” to the GOP today.

  • Joe in Idaho.

    Hmmm, Perhaps the data may say that we as a whole country are not in decline but it sure feels like as an individual workers we are in a state of decline… No raise in years, etc, etc.

    So, is someone peeing on my head and telling me that it’s just raining?

    • BHA in Vermont

      Only if you are one of the 99%

    • JustSayin

      That’s the trickle down from Reaganomics.

  • Wally

    America in decline? Politics as usual. JFK won the 1960 election on a theme of ‘Getting America moving again.’ The disturbing trend of the past four decades is the common notion of entitlement, and reliance on the government as the solver of all problems. 

  • Terry Tree Tree

    MUCH of the equipment of the U.S. Millitary, is bought from other countries!  Some of these countries are the ones that we are being told that we should fear!  Some of these countries have many attributes that are repugnant to the citizens of the U.S.!

  • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

    I think the rest of the world is at a different stage, maybe, but we are all in decline.  A growth economy was always a fantasy and now it is becoming a nightmare.

    We all have to start thinking about a steady state economy, and we must reverse the global climate chaos that we have triggered, before we really decline.

    Did you hear the story just this morning about the huge cadmium spill into a 60 mile stretch of a Chinese river?  They are screwing up as fast or faster than we did.

    Neil

    • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard
    • notafeminista

      Time to ban cadmium.

      • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

        I think it is used to tan leather — at least it is “less expensive” than the old-fashioned methods.  It would be great to avoid all sorts of poisons…

        I wonder too, about the wisdom of just dumping in another chemical to “counteract” the cadmium.  Like the dispersants used on the BP oil spill, the cure may well be worse than the illness?

        Neil

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Some used to make Nickel-Cadmium batteries?

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            Maybe, but nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries are much better, and lithium is better still.  Lithium is non-toxic.

            Neil

      • Terry Tree Tree

        DDT was banned over forty years ago.  It is still produced and used.

        • notafeminista

          And with good reason.  It’s cheap, effective, and (gasp!) the science was wrong.  How many million dead sub-Saharans 3T?

  • Anonymous

    I notice that today we’re objecting to Cuba drilling for oil off its coast because of possible environmental damage.  In case you were looking for your first-of-the-week example of American hypocrisy.  Do we even see what we have become?

    • BHA in Vermont

      No because WE never make mistakes, everyone else is inept.

    • Nvcasneeded

      right on Priarie_W!    It takes courage to confront and deal honestly with hypocrisy.  We all know that.  The path of a nation’s becoming is not very different from the personal path of becoming.  Let’s LEARN from our experience of hypocrisy!!!

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Isn’t this an example of Cold War thinking–the world divided into two poles, with one winner and one loser?  We now have a playing field with many teams on it.  What’s needed is a way of understanding how to function in the new environment.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    We’re moving to join many other countries – where a handful are rich, a handful are middle class, and everyone is poor.

    The US is doing great – it’s the US middle class that is evaporating.

  • Still Here

    The foodstamp president is doing all he can to weaken the resolve of the American people, creating a dependency mindset that will take generations to overcome and leave us vulnerable to the whims of stronger nations.  I understand his children are learning mandarin at school, perhaps he is preparing them for our new overlords. 

    • BHA in Vermont

      Where is the “ignore” option on this forum??

      • Anonymous

        The flag button is there, but it’s useless.
        I’m now thinking that ignoring people like this chap are more productive.

        • Anonymous

          Don’t censor. 

        • Modavations

          The Book Burners have arrived.Don’t say this,don’t think that.

          • TFRX

            Immediate Godwin loss. Nice to see you can back up your bloviating, Foghorn.

          • Modavations

            Absolute infantile riposte.You empty your magazine,throw your pistol,wet your panties and start with the names.Black crows sitting on a Telephone wire.Caw,Caw,Caw

          • TFRX

            You went Godwin, chump. The sign of someone who can’t own their shite.

  • Tim

    America is quickly comming to the point where the nation will cease to function as anything but a ‘going out a buisness sale,’ for the Boomer generation. People like myself in our 20′s see little hope in an economy where our parents don’t have enough to retire on, our children will see worse schools and services than we have, and our employment prospects have been flattened by the Great Recession.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Look at what Israel has done over the last decade or so.  They’ve carved out an information technologies niche for themselves, despite being a tiny nation.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      MUCH stolen from the U.S. ‘ally’!

    • Chris

      Easy to do when America pays for their defense.

    • Anonymous

      Of course, we pick up the tab for their defense spending. 

  • Still Here

    I used to be proud of my country but three years of constant deterioration has evaporated my pride.  I still hope for a strong America but it is fleeting.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      Three years of constant deterioration?

      • BHA in Vermont

        Starting in 2001 and followed by 5 more years of deterioration. :)

    • Anonymous

      Oh please, try growing up already.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      The various and serious U.S. declines during ‘W’s admin., didn’t bother you?

      • Modavations

        Turn around and face the future.Bush derangement syndrome at it’s worst

        • Terry Tree Tree

          ‘W’ actually increased the Budget Surplus, as promised? 
             ‘W’ actually created MORE jobs, as promised?
             ‘W’ actually made you feel SAFER on 12 Sept. 2001, than when he promised he would, in 2000 campaign?
             B.C. education at its Best?

  • Mark from Vermont

    Is America in decline is a poor question.  The US is an adolescent in the bigger evolutionary picture.  Our relatively short history of strength and dominance is experiencing challenge. Like a strong, “successful” young person moving into adulthood, choices about the experience of conflict and loss must be dealt with honestly and wisely.  Historically, this period of development confronts all living beings and cultures.  The US inclination to try to go backwards and bulk up and prepare for another “fight” is understandable but mistaken.  That is the “sign of DECLINE”. All Decline is an opportunity for New growth and development. The path to cultural and social adulthood as a nation will come from our common wisdom.  Wisdom is the integration of my strengths AND WEAKNESSes.  Wisdom as a culture, like all living things, is gained thru pain and suffering.  America is deciding who it is by the way we think about our current frustrations. We can cower in decline OR we can decide to be people who recognize that there is something much richer and precious than being the toughest kid on the block.

    • Four Elements

      The US is a cultural adolescent; economically, it is a seriously sickened adult.

  • Still Here

    Obama has literally declared war on the American public, obtaining new powers to monitor and kill opposition.  It is no wonder that our country’s stature is in permanent decline.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Forgot the Patriot Act?  Forgot the Homeland Security Act?  Forgot that ‘W’ was authorized to use force AFTER all other options were used?

      • Modavations

        The Party of Big Govt., worrying about Big Brother

        • Terry Tree Tree

          What?  Guppy, Moda’s playing in the mercury again?

  • Chris

    Energy. We are in decline. 

    But the politicians and the media tell us we have plenty of energy. Enough (100 years? ha ha ) for those alive today to screw the next generations forever.

  • Curt Peterson

    While the rest of the world is working on their economies and improving their lifestyles, we are pouring all our resources into building our military strength in obsolete ways, and supporting obsolete industries. We need to stop trying to dominate the world with guns, bombs and drones, invest cash into our own economy and steer it toward the future, not mire it in the past. “There is more opportunity created by change than by trying to sustain an obsolete past.”

  • Alison

    What about our country’s declining health? How can we have a bright and
    competitive future when our children are becoming obese and diabetic in
    alarming numbers?

    We’ve put the short-term concerns of businesses above the long-term
    well-being of our citizens. As long as we keep doing that, we should
    expect a future of overall decline.

  • Dave

    Everybody loves Ron Paul’s message, unless it’s coming out of his mouth.

    Baby, bathwater, and lack of understanding the relationship between the Constitution, Sound Money, Economics, Military Industrial Complex, Federal Reserve, and the Classical Liberal concept of Rule of Law, not arbitrary discretion.

    Such an understanding would demand restraint in our reckless and utopian economic and military adventurism.

    Takes an open mind and dumping allegiance to parties, however.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Recall that the Roman Empire fell only in the western half.  The Byzantine Empire lasted for another thousand years.  Had it not been for a plague during Justinian’s reign, Byzantium might have retaken the whole Mediterranean.

  • S.C. Listener

    Your guest just mentioned America’s fundamentals.. I don’t know about your local town or county, but mine is being dismantled, sold away, and sold out to the local “good ol’ boy” system. 

  • Nancy in Vermont

    Tom,
    China is our cheap labor source for manufacturing almost all of our goods. The products are owned,though, by American companies. The missing part of the US economy is manufacturing, here–it’s gone. I have a small US company and am trying to manufacture in US. It is not easy. We expect goods to be cheap, cheap, cheap (made in China) and then we complain that the manufacturing is gone. US shoppers need to look for Made in US goods preferentially–but those goods are almost invisible now.
    I don’t have answers, but will try to produce my goods in US anyway. An ethical choice.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      What goods do you produce?

    • BHA in Vermont

      Yes, it is sad. I went shopping for a frying pan recently. Almost all made in China. Bought the ONE brand that was made in USA. Brought it back without even using it. The handle was so heavy that it would not sit on a gas burner. The same can be said of many of the China made products that cost twice as much. Just building them to the design specs of the company outsourcing to them I guess.

      In the end I had to go with one made in China that WAS balanced.

      Is it SO hard to make a GOOD product?
      I guess so. Think twist cabinet latches. There are many in the house we recently bought. The OLD ones (probably close to 100 years old) are made with sturdy cast parts that fit together well, slide smoothly and have ORIGINAL beefy metal springs. The new ones are all broken. Cheap metal with a piece of plastic bent into a sharp V shape for a spring.  That ‘spring’ has broken on all of them.

      • Dave

        …..and we Bail out GM, with “good intentions”.

        GM was the ultimate crappy frying pan.  For crying out loud, let failure fail so we can move on.

        Composting Happens!

        • Terry Tree Tree

          The ‘Financial Sector’, that produced a bunch of scams that they called ‘Credit Default Swaps, Derivatives, and other Financial Instruments’, created the Ulitimate crappy frying pan!

          • Dave

            Impossible without Greenspan, Rubin, Summers, Paulson, Geithner, Frank, Raines, Clinton, Bush, Bernanke, Amendments to Community Reinvestment act telling the market what to buy and, head turning (Discretionary Power) by the unaccountable agencies instead of fierce rule of law.

            That was not the free market. That was pigs feeding at the trough, a lot of it in the name of good intentions.

            These unfortunate truths that speak to “bipartisan” power cannot be ignored.

            Our recent decades have been a fart in the sweep of history.  To think suddenly that we are so advanced and altruistic, that we don’t need the Constitution, that we don’t need to live in a Rule of Law system, and can handle arbitrary rule of men, is sheer lunacy, and we fell for it, with both parties at the helm.

            To make this an argument about markets or capitalism is a distraction, when its an issue about raw power of an unaccountable elite firmly entrenched and protected by both political parties, and even in our own subconscious, as we look for the next  D or R savior, but can’t bear to think through and look more deeply into the kinds of things Ron Paul talks about.

            The only defense against tyranny of any stripe- political, financial, etc, is a system that protects individual liberty, and puts that before the power of organized groups, be them capital or government.

            We have to get over ourselves and take responsibility again for self-governing and re-establishing rule of law.

            http://www.capitalismwithoutfailure.com/2011/12/capitalism-without-failures-realistic.html

    • Still Here

      So wrong it’s pathetic, see recent study by San Fran Fed citing Chinese good imports represent 2.7% of consumption.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Nancy, I try to buy ‘Made in U.S.A., what are your brand names, and lines of products?

  • Still Here

    Obama’s sheep or operatives are here trying to stop the truth-speakers, another sign of America’s decline.  The cult of Obama has created a populace of dependents and lazy thinkers, lulled into inaction.  We must continue to speak truth to power!

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      What are you going on about?

      • BHA in Vermont

        same old, same old. Anything Obama does is bad. No “ignore’ button though so we have to just skip his posts.

    • TFRX

      Turning the knob up to 11 and breaking it off?

      You were much more fun when you could at least pass for eloquent and undecided. Now all I can picture is a Glenn Beck wannabee.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    A bigger question and more global one – it took decades for communism (or what was being sold as communism) to prove itself unsustainable and collapse. Maybe our current model of capitalism, although it lasted longer, is also not sustainable? US and Europe are unraveling (who is China going to sell to?), maybe the whole thing is headed toward collapse?

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      To be replaced by what, in your view?

      • BHA in Vermont

        Perhaps a capitalist economic system whereby the citizens have the right to own the means of making money and to keep that money while equitably supporting the government financially to provide for the common needs of the country that are not reasonable to provide individually.
        …..
        Without the greed of the current system where PROFIT is the only thing that matters and those at the top of the food chain are entitled to whatever they can take from the rest.
        - Where CEOs don’t make 400 times what the person actually making the product or providing the service the company sells is paid.
        - Where people can not pay < 15% income tax on money they 'made' doing NOT A DAMN THING while those who work 40 – 60 hours a week make 1/500 as much money and pay a higher rate.

        • TFRX

          Oh, that actual “profit” were the goal, the outcome for every captain of industry. So much of what is reported today breathlessly on CNBC is just glorified paperpushing.

          I know that this is not a new thing but the financial sector’s “size” and “profits” have increased greatly in the last quarter century and have distorted the economy as a whole.

          It’s difficult for the people in the real world (manufacturing, shipping, agriculture etc) to compete with “mark to market accounting” when they’re stuck with actually moving things around for money.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

        Who knows? We work off the assumption that there is a system that is sustainable – maybe there isn’t.

    • Dave

      Crony, Fed-funny-money-funded, State Capitalism, where the Fed pumps un-sound money into the hands of pandering political “leaders” to chase promises of perfect security, be it military or economic, is indeed failing.

      Let’s be clear that is vastly different that simply, Capitalism or Free Markets.

      It’s a game manipulated by a Banking/Political Elite.

      • Anonymous

        Where, and when, did your vision of Capitalism and Free Markets ever exist in the real world?

        • Dave

          I’m not the one arguing for more of the same, that’s alot of you.

          It exists in all free commerce between people that isn’t perverted by Fed funny money or price-inflating subsidies or other. Probably see that locally around you in some cases.  Evil isn’t it.

          And weren’t we lucky to have the Federal Reserve around to protect us from those mysterious bubbles that the faulty free market is always creating…..

  • Barbara moore

    It’s a disingenuous comparison to cite GDP in China and India in the 19th century alongside England with a small GDP to demonstrate that GDP doesn’t count.  In the 19th century China and India were colonies of Britain.  The loss of empire made for a huge change.

  • Ellen Dibble

    If other countries, bolstered by American corporations and consumers, are becoming a bit more like us, more energy-hungry, more opportunistic, and even more answerable to its populations, isn’t this a termite-type way of progress for the American way of being?

    • BHA in Vermont

      Ah, pull them down to our level!

  • Bill from Nashville

    As wealth and education accumulate in China, an educated, empowered class will form.  Not only will it demand expensive things like political rights, labor laws, minimum wages and retirement benefits, but it will find a conscience that insists that the destitute agrarian class be treated better.  Domestic “growth” will result in factories over sweat shops, and developed China will be a less threatening partner at the fore of the industrialized world.

    • BHA in Vermont

      Why should the educated, empowered class in China care about the lower classes any more than the empowered in this country care?

  • BHA in Vermont

    The stagnant income of the lower and middle class dates back to the seventies when…

    Ronald Reagan was president and gave us “trickle down economics”. Of course to suggest now that it isn’t working and has never worked for MOST of the citizens of the USA is un-American and anti-capitalist.

    • Ray in VT

      People are going to jump on you for seeming to state that Reagan was president in the 1970s.  I agree with your general point, though.

      • BHA in Vermont

        True, sorry, most of the eighties :)

      • BHA in Vermont

        True, sorry, most of the eighties :)

  • Ellen Dibble

    Maybe Korea, for instance, flexing its muscle, is more like Texas, flaunting its strength and talking about secession.  In terms of values, you can almost feel our influence by feeling the blow-back (think bin Laden).  In terms of military policeman, the defense industry profits aside, collaboration seems to be the important element for the future.

  • aaa

    I see a parallel of the US decline to a failing marriage.  You see the signs, you know something is wrong, but focus on the positives and choose to ignore the cracks in the foundation, the trends downward.  One day you wake up in divorce court and ask yourself how did we get here.  You know the answer, and it was obvious all along.

  • Anonymous

    We (US) has gone terribly down hill regarding enforcing and having rules and regulations for corporations and regarding democracy for ALL of the people not just the 1% with the most money. In other words listen to the 99% who are the Occupy Movement and enforce what is so easy for us to see.  Alexander Hamilton’s 11-point Plan for American Manufacturers (see pgs. 3-9  in Thom Hartmann’s book Rebooting the American Dream.) are still what we need, especially rule # 1 “Protecting duties (import taxes, now called “tafiffs”) or duties on those foreign articles whichh are the ivals of the domestic ones intended to be encouraged.”!

    • BHA in Vermont

      Ah, but protectionism is anti capitalism!

      • Ellen Dibble

        You want to protect those that have already “made it,” those people and corporations, and in case you don’t “conserve” that on their behalf, they will lobby and campaign-fund and make sure to protect their own interests on their own behalf.  That is capitalism.  Protect those who are already entrenched.  Don’t you value the jobs they provide?  Don’t you value the taxes those employees pay?  
           Anyway, this is NOT the primrose path to a rising future; it could be defined as the path to decline.  Why?  Because America’s strength has always been its breakthroughs, its upstarts, its new beginnings, not its Joshua trees like AT&T that seem to go on forever.  There is a reason that young people (and old people) nowadays are looking for “jobs,” i.e., ways to participate in an industry or enterprise that is Already Established, versus hoping their education and training lets them establish something new.  I think the Obama administration understands this, because I get phone calls from them every few months offering to help me expand my business, with loans and advice and so on.  And I’m thinking, oh, automatic voice (that sounds a bit like Romney), you have No Idea the kind of headwinds I’m facing.  And I’m thinking you also Don’t Really Want to Know.  Call me back in about five years, and Never Mind that I’ll be 70 years old then; I’ll still be in startup mode.  The conservatives can make it a 50-year project to maneuver onto the launching pad; it’s in their best interests.

  • Travis Stalcup

    I’m one of Chris Layne’s students and I’d like to ask this:

    If we accept that the U.S. will grow relatively weaker, is
    it possible to maintain our preeminence by developing some sort of large scale
    security alliance that leverages the anxiety of China’s neighbors?

  • Ellen Dibble

    We talk about GNP and greatness, but couldn’t global warming (floods, coastal washouts, population displacements, droughts, etc) — the problems with food supply, the problems trying to maintain stability through broad-based calamity — I think that will transcend GNP and consumerism.  Or there is a good chance of that.

  • Dave

    Tom, Can you ask your guests, Why is “Walk softly and Carry a Big Stick”,  strong Defense, but reducing the 
    Offense/Policing, as Ron Paul speaks about, not an acceptable power level?

    What is the level of power we seek? Total Domination?
    Are we asking if our Domination is in decline? Is that bad?

    • Modavations

      Busy body!!!!

      • Modavations

        Sorry that was directed at Terry Tee Pee

        • Terry Tree Tree

          You reply to Dave, wit a comment directed at me?  Guppy mix your meds up again?

          • Modavations

            You wanted war,you got war

          • Terry Tree Tree

            WHEN did I want war?  Your delusions have taken you over completely?

  • Ed

    We’ve had a moral decline for sure.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      Yup, letting women vote, letting black people vote and enjoy other freedoms, banning child labor, and on and on–how could we have let that happen?

      Sarcasm off.

      • Dave

        Strange, I thought that stuff was protected by the Constitution, and that people fought the prejudices and corruption of the day to prove that and advance us toward the ideals of our founders.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Catholics CONDONING Child-Molesting? 
          Catholics CONDONING  Child-Abuse?
          Homosexual Molesting Catholics obsessing about consenting adult homosexuality?
         ‘Religious’ leaders moving morally defunct priests where they can continue their morally corrupt perversion?

      • Modavations

        Don’t forget the Greedy,Greeeeeeedy rich.People who talk about this stuff incessantly,turn out to molest their own children.Guys who tell us 50,000 times that they are Volunteer Fire Fighters are often Fire Bugs.The fake Indian professor we spoke of was Ward Churchill.Does your passport read Terry Tree Tree?

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Moda’s Boston College math skills, making 20 into 50,000 to a zillion?

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Your passport reads ‘Modavations’?

  • Mugume

    The western world has been driving for a longtime and its now sleeping on the wheel. Look people if you want to see China and its power at the moment, go to any country in Africa. China is every where and if a single country is positioning itself to control such amount of resources, in my opinion its bound to become the hegemony.

    • Ray in VT

      I think that in many ways both the U.S. and the West has become complacent.  Some have come to believe that we are on top because we’re special, and that we will stay on top because we’re special.

      • Dave

        Our system of Self-Government, values, and Constitutional backbone is what was special, and is what those who use the word “exceptional” mean, whether or not knee jerk liberals want to smear it to mean some personal arrogance kind of thing.

        We have/had a Rule of Law, Constitutional Blueprint to follow, so we didn’t have to follow Men. The rest of the world peoples, if not their governing elites, admired that, and there is nothing wrong with that.

        We as citizens who need to be vigilant and understand our system, have become complacent, lazy, materialistic boobs. 

        Voila. Decline.

      • Anonymous

        The weird thing, Ray, about thinking one is special is that it’s a clear sign that one is especially out of touch with reality! 

        We’ve been going through a phase for several decades — as individuals, not just as a nation — of thinking we’re special.  It developed as kind of a fad, telling Each Darlin’ Schoolchild, Honey You’re Special.  And so they grew up thinking they’re special…

        It’s hellacious, isn’t it!, growing up and realizing that we’re all in this lifeboat together and no one is automatically “special.” All of us — individuals and nations.

        • Ray in VT

          Do you watch 30 Rock?  Will Arnet’s character voiced what you’re onto in last week’s episode when talking about his education.

          • Modavations

            No,and I sure as hell don’t watch South Park.When was the last time you saw a black in Johnson,Vt.Mr.Mean Streets

          • Ray in VT

            I’m sorry, was I supposed to care what you watch?  You don’t like those shows?  Fine.  Who gives a rat’s ass?  I see way more minorities now than I used to.  Time’s are always a-changin’.  I’m quite happy to live in an area where I don’t need to lock my doors.  Jealous?

          • Modavations

            Mean Streets just spotted a “Black Moose”.Give me a break

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Do you entice crime by telling the world that you have $ Thousands in cash, in one part of your house?  Do you publicly call people names like ‘stalker’, for pointing out to you, that this is enticing crime?
               Do you then claim that playing with lead and mercury had NO detrimental effects on you?

          • Modavations

            Yes Terry someone who follows you around all day saying Guppies,meds,,mercury,Lead with no intellectual risposte is a stalker.When you were youngbyou were a Pri-ck,now you’re an old embittered,pri-k.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Moda frequently gets gender-confused about himself and others?    Along with grandiose statements about buying a million incandescent lights, and his own Stealth F-22 Raptor?

          • Anonymous

            Ray, I don’t have TV which means I don’t know half of what’s going on (!).. Oops.

          • Ray in VT

            It’s good.  He said that he went to an experimental school where the students taught the teachers and the teachers taught animals.  He then majored in confidence at Northwestern.

        • TFRX

          But when I hear that decried in the ordinary media or on  conservative media, it’s always the liberals’ fault.

          Where does the Rugged Individualism Wing of our political being get this trait? Are they simply that helpless against the onslaught of left-wing childcare mindset?

          (Here I have to mention I’m being hyperbolic or the usual morons will pre-de-contextualize my words.)

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Each individual child IS special, at least to someone! 
             The problem comes from telling them they are more special than any other child, with NO proven special gift or talent in the area of praise!
             Each individual , whether autistic, ‘mentally challenged’, ‘physically challenged’, or other ‘challenges’, has special characteristics, that makes them unique, and therefore special from a point of view.
             Proper planning and consideration, could enable EACH individual to be a productive, valueable member of society, in their own special way!

          • Anonymous

            Of course, Terry, they’re special to someone — or should be.  But not to themselves. As grownups and nations, we should be in the business of recognizing first the “specialness” of others, not ourselves, don’t you think?

          • Terry Tree Tree

            VERY MUCH SO!

      • BHA in Vermont

        Very Narcissistic, no?

      • Gregg

        We are not special but our system of government is. We get our unalienable rights from “our creator”. Everyone else gets them from government. This fundamental difference gives us more liberty, even atheist.

        • Anonymous

          We took them from the English.  We didn’t get them from a creator. 

          • TFRX

            To my ear, Gregg is differentiating himself from those who wish to warp “endowed by their Creator” into “without Almighty Religion–my particular Christian version–we’d all still be subjects of the king, if they weren’t religious sorts, the Revolution would never have happened.”

            Apologies if off; correct my interpretation as necessary.

          • Gregg

            I am not a Christian so I have no “version”. The main thing to me is the notion we are born with certain freedoms and they don’t come from government. It is just an aside that credit is given to “our creator”. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Buddha, Yahweh, space aliens or whatever terrestrial source you choose. They are not the governments to give. Laws are one thing but life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are another.

          • Anonymous

            So the creator is an American Exceptionalist too?  Why didn’t he give these freedoms to the rest of the world too?  Why did he wait to give them to some of us in 1776?  Why did women and blacks have to wait longer?

          • Gregg

            Everyone on earth is born with the same unalienable rights, it’s just that we acknowledge it in our Constitution.

            BTW, it could be “she”.

          • Anonymous

            The rights appear to not be so unalienable in many countries.  If they aren’t exercised, they lack value.

            BTW, it doesn’t exist. 

          • Gregg

            That’s my point John. Our constitution does not inhibit the exercise thereof. That’s why we are exceptional.

          • Anonymous

            The Constitution grants them.  Our rights come from the Constitution.

          • Gregg

            “Our rights come from the Constitution.”

            That’s not what the Constitution says.

          • Gregg

            Oops, I meant Declarations of independence which as Santorum says is the “why”. the Constitution is the “how”.

          • Anonymous

            It says they come from the people, but the instrument that defines them is the constitution.  It doesn’t mention a creator. 

          • Gregg

            The framers fretted over the difference between “inalienable” and “unalienable” because the former suggest man can granted them.

          • Ray in VT

            Nice exchange guys.  I enjoyed reading your back and forth.

          • TFRX

            Agreed. I didn’t mean to imply you had a “version”.

            As an aside, having grown up during some of the Cold War, it was so common to hear talk about battling the “godless enemy” that it barely registered as meaningful. It was almost background noise that the Soviets were godless.

            Contrast that to the idea that our Founding Fathers were rebelling against the divine right of Kings, were taking up arms against someone who was basically considered more godly / religious than they were, by most everyone in the empire. That contemplation is a necksnapper to some overly religious sorts.

          • Gregg

            Interesting comment.

            I guess it all depends on how you define religious.

        • Ray in VT

          As an atheist, I especially love the idea of the freedom to believe, or not, what I wish regarding religion.  I am quite aware that in ages past people who displayed my lack of faith were liable to meet an untimely end.

          I think that many Americans fail to understand how revolutionary our government was at it’s founding.  Ideas like the freedom of religious conscience was something that was really special for us.  I think that there the Founders learned some of the lessons of history regarding the dangerous consequences of the state siding with one religious Truth over another.

          I chafe at how some people speak about our rights being given to us by “our creator” in this sense.  The way that some people speak about rights, like our freedom of belief, is that they were awarded to us by some higher power.  In that matter of speaking it seems that people leave out of the discussion that those freedoms were fought long and hard for.

          I know that we seem to disagree on just about every topic upon which we have “spoken”, but I do find you to be generally thoughtful, and you do seem to put a very decent amount of thought into your statements.

          • Gregg

            Thanks Ray, backatcha’.

            I should clarify my belief. I am not an atheist, I am agnostic. Atheists usually consider agnostics as fence-sitters. As an agnostic, my position goes farther than just “I don’t know”. I don’t think it is possible to know so I don’t spend much time worrying.

            The thing about the founders is many did believe as I do and as you do. They still acknowledge we are born with the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. If we are born with those rights then they came from our creator. I see no contradiction.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    Keep in mind the decline is for some – the 1% is making money faster than it ever has before. When you take that into consideration and the fact that our government is for sale to the highest bidder, and it’s obvious why the rest are not doing as well.

    The US is cannibalizing itself to benefit a few.

    • Tim

      Pretty much. However, given the political involvement and political literacy of most citizens I’d say “you get the government you deserve.”

      • Ellen Dibble

        But are the powers that be depreciating the citizenry till they are desperate, sickly, mentally imbalanced, easily pushed into cultish convictions, or into financially questionable deals (like mortgages with small print)?  How could you do that?  Make sure public education creates robots, repeaters, people afraid to challenge authority or ideology.
            Um.  We seem to have PLENTY of that compared to the 1950s, by the way.

    • Anonymous

      You are correct.  I only had the opportunity to hear the first few minutes, but both guests, one talking about “average” Americans, and the other about GDP, agreed that all the gain and value created by our economy over the past 3 decades has gone to an increasingly smaller number of our citizens.  In fact, their benefit has been so great that the “average” American is better off even though the benefits accruing to 90+% has been stagnating or declining over this period.

      America is not in decline.  But a lot of its citizens are.

  • Eileen Koesy

    Am I the only one seeing this obvious discussion?  Your defender, supporting Obama’s State of the Union address, is giving us real facts of what has been done and what is being
    measured.  Your “decliners” are projecting all kinds of doom and gloom on future “speculation”.  

  • Jmc

    biggest problem that most economists fail to factor in speculating our current state is that our system and the firms or goverment follow the rules.

  • Ron Gaykema

    It is pretty obvious that the era of greatest American power coincided with the “New Deal” policies having its lasting effect. Now we have a Gilded Age mentality and selling our nation, its government, out to private multinational (!) corporate interests that do NOT align with the nation’s interests. The revenue declined, our giant debt load emerged and we have shackled ourselves as subservients to the corporations and foreign lenders who are stepping in to compensate to our own refusal to pay our own way as we did in the 1940s 1950s 1960s and 1970s.

    • Dave

      Can’t we just print more money and all get along?

  • Dave

    Our system of Self-Government, values, and Constitutional backbone is what was special, and is what those who use the word “exceptional” mean, whether or not knee jerk liberals want to smear it to mean some personal arrogance kind of thing.We have/had a Rule of Law, Constitutional Blueprint to follow, so we didn’t have to follow Men. The rest of the world peoples, if not their governing elites, admired that, and there is nothing wrong with that.We as citizens who need to be vigilant and understand our system, have become complacent, lazy, materialistic boobs. Voila. Decline.

  • modavations

    there’s only one type of person who would even consider this country to be in decline…you guessed it, a liberal

    • Modavations

      Ultrax Stalk me thinks.Or should I say Hundie Watts stalk.Use your real names.Quit hiding behind your womens skirts

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Talking to yourself, playing both parts?

        • Modavations

          You wanted war Mrs.Fire Bug,you got war.Yesterday Terence had to correct another poster who thought he was a hysterical woman.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Your repeated incorrect comments about me being a firebug, and a hysterical woman, even though you don’t know me, are proof of your delusions and/or hallucinations from the lead, mercury, and other dangerous substances.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1060260532 Scott Nicolson

      And when did it become a crime to be a *gasp* liberal?

      I’m so tired of “liberal,” “progressive,” and “socialist” being thrown around like they’re dirty words. They’re not dirty words just because you disagree with our ideas or don’t see the world in the same way that you do.

      • Modavations

        Liberals gave us Slavery and succession.They gave us Jim Crow and Robert Byrd.Through their Capos they ministrate the heinous ghetto.What’s more dangerours the South side of Chicago or Bagdad?
        Internationally they gave us Mao,Stalin,Hitler,Il Ducci,Pol Pot,honneker,Cucescu,Tito,Hoxha,Fidel,Hugo C.

        • Gregg

          …and Obama.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1060260532 Scott Nicolson

          Modavations, you truly sadden me with this reply. To suggest that liberalism is equal to Mao/Stalin/Hitler/et al. is a disgusting and crass ad hominem attack. It is a horrible thing to say. It is also ridiculously incorrect.

          But I know I’m probably wasting my time telling you all that. I’ve little doubt that you don’t care at all. By rights, I should probably just flag your reply for moderation – it certainly isn’t worthy of “On Point” or NPR. 

          But instead, Modavations, I am issuing you a challenge. It’s pretty simple: if you’re so sure that people on the political left are a threat, then you should kill me. That’s logical, isn’t it?

          I confess to my “crimes,” Modavations. I am a democratic socialist. My “crimes” against the people of the United States include:
          *Writing to the President, my Senators, and my Congressman advocating for “leftist” programs/proposals;
          *Voting exclusively for liberals;
          *Reading liberal / progressive / socialist books by “vile fiends” like Naomi Klein, Paul Krugman, Barbara Ehrenreich, Thomas Frank, etc.; 
          *Learning about politics and economics through a wicked socialist institution called a “public library”;
          *Writing blog posts and comments that nobody reads from a “leftist” perspective;

          and

          *Signing meaningless petitions in favor of “leftist” programs/proposals or against “Real American” (i.e. conservative, libertarian, Republican, Christian) programs/proposals

          So given all that, it’s clear that I’m a “major threat” to the United States. You would be a hero to millions if you “executed” me. And I admit I’m a “criminal.” I will accept your punishment.

          Please contact me as soon as possible to make all the necessary arrangements.

  • Terry from Franklin

    I am tired of hearing “American Exceptional ism” used as an excuse to not change.  To not look at how other people do things.  In business this is called “Not Invented Here”.  In business it takes form in arguments along the line of “we are so different from other companies that …”  

    We are spending more on defense now than we spent in World War II.  In the current election Obama is being attacked for wanting to slow the rate of increase in defense spending.  We provide major parts of the defense for our economic rivals, except China.  We defend Europe, Japan, Korea.  China spends much less than we do.  Who are we worried about?  Is our defense spending just corporate welfare to the defense industry.  Was Eisenhower right?

    • Dave

      Our system of Self-Government, values, and Constitutional backbone is what was special, and is what those who use the word “exceptional” mean, whether or not knee-jerk liberals want to smear it to mean some personal arrogance kind of thing. 
      We have/had a Rule of Law, Constitutional Blueprint to follow, so we didn’t have to follow Men. The rest of the world peoples, if not their governing elites, admired that, and there is nothing wrong with that.We as citizens who need to be vigilant and understand our system, have become complacent, lazy, materialistic boobs. Voila. Decline.

      We need to stop looking for magical answers, magical politicians, magical Federal Reserves, magical wars to give us all we can imagine, and get back to vigilantly participating in and living the best system of governance and economic freedom that we have yet seen.

      Our founding ideals, EVEN IF NEVER/NOT YET FULLY REALIZED, and the Constitutional map to get there are the best we have. History has shown there are no political or economic short cuts.

      The founders reflected on world history, power, and human nature, and put together a wise and prudent system of keeping ourselves in check.  We should try it again.

      • Dave

        Sorry, there is an economic/political shortcut: Tyranny.

    • Dave

      Of course Eisenhower was right.  Our power elite, with their tentacles into everything economic and military around the globe love their position. We need to be clear-eyed about bringing them back to earth, and distributing the power back to the people. The Constitution and Rule of Law and an informed, voting citizenry is the path.

      Our debt is our chains, and keep us in servitude to them. 
      The Feds manipulation of the “Business Cycle” to suck us in and then suck us dry en masse, is our chains. 

      • Anonymous

        Should lke have not built the national highway system? 

        • Dave

          What does that have to do with our Debt, Wars, Economic Ponzi scheme and the pandering political parties that support them?

          Why would I take the red herring bait on Interstate Highways? Something that would be very easy to argue for within Limited Government?

          This kind of distracted thinking is what is keeping us from tackling the big power problems and corrupt system we are now facing.  

          Following the Constitution and its limits provides a template.  Trusting the “Discretion” of Democrats and Republicans is just more of the self-destructive same.

          • Anonymous

            What national infrastructure improvements does Ron Paul advocate?  Shouldn’t the states alone build roads?  Every example of something Ron Paul opposes that you can’t defend, you dismiss as a red herring.  His opposition to the civil rights act is a red herring.  His opposition to reproductive rights on a national level is a red herring.  His opposition to FEMA is a red herring . . . 

          • Dave

            Using your logic, you can come up with an infinite list of what Paul is against. If you are honest, you would look up what Paul says about those issues you are skeptical about, and report back what you find, and then dispassionately explain the pros and cons to the idea.

            You like the trees, but refuse to think or comment about the forest in terms of the big issues I raise RE: The Fed, our debt, our crony state capitalism, the military industrial complex and our pandering 2 party politicians that keep the charade going.

            If we don’t want more of the same, for fear of decline, or simply for sake of self-preservation or dignity, we have to pull the plug.

            Our Debt-Money system funds and leverages all the corrupt and utopian schemes that the power elite use for their benefit.

            This is the problem of our times, not where do highways come from.

            Rule of Law vs. Discretionary power of elites.

            It’s not that hard to understand, and not very radical. Its notions of our founding.  The fact that folks are ashamed of it, and don’t understand these issues today is very disturbing, and IMO at the heart of our Decline.

          • Anonymous

            The current system is corrupt but Ron Paul’s simplistic anti government ideas and out-dated economic policies aren’t the solution.  The following reforms wouold be a good start: simple majority is sufficient for senate votes except where specified in the Constitution, corporations are not people, money is not speech, address the debt long term but spend money now on infrastructure to spur the economy.

            I brought up the highway as an example of Ron Paul’s theology as being incompatible with the complex modern world.  To use your analogy, every time a tree is mentioned, you dismiss it as unimportant and eventually there will be no forest (especially after Ron Paul eliminates the EPA).

          • Dave

            Using your logic, you can come up with an infinite list of what Paul is against. If you are honest, you would look up what Paul says about those issues you are skeptical about, and report back what you find, and then dispassionately explain the pros and cons to the idea.

            You like the trees, but refuse to think or comment about the forest in terms of the big issues I raise RE: The Fed, our debt, our crony state capitalism, the military industrial complex and our pandering 2 party politicians that keep the charade going.

            If we don’t want more of the same, for fear of decline, or simply for sake of self-preservation or dignity, we have to pull the plug.

            Our Debt-Money system funds and leverages all the corrupt and utopian schemes that the power elite use for their benefit.

            This is the problem of our times, not where do highways come from.

            Rule of Law vs. Discretionary power of elites.

            It’s not that hard to understand, and not very radical. Its notions of our founding.  The fact that folks are ashamed of it, and don’t understand these issues today is very disturbing, and IMO at the heart of our Decline.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          The National Defense and Interstate Highway System, has been used FAR more as Interstate Highways, Which helped with commerce!

        • Modavations

          As if he could have stopped it.Who built the railroads

          • Dave

            Good answer, less words.

            If manufactures want to sell their goods bad enough, and consumers willing to pay the cost, the producers would build roads to distribute and pass on the cost.

            Transparent, and honest pricing reflecting reality. Heavens No!

          • Modavations

            Righteous.Someone went to university I see.Govt.gives us the Hubble telescope with it’s fuzzy focus

          • Anonymous

            They fixed it.

          • Modavations

            Keep spinning my propagandist of the State

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Nice Dream?

          • Anonymous

            The Chinese and the Irish.

          • Modavations

            And they were hired by whom.What a propagandist.There are two types in this world….Those who prey at the alter of the state and those who trust the individual

          • Terry Tree Tree

            The U.S. Government contracted the railroad, and gave Land Grants, and right-of-ways, to get it built.  You missed that part of U.S. History, or did the lead eliminate it from your memory?

          • Modavations

            Dear lady.The steam engine was invented by J.Stevens(?) and he suggested the idea of railroads to the govt.Union Pacific-Central Pacific did the work.Pullman invented the luxury car.Quit kneeling at the alter of govt.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            My history book claimed that James Watt invented the steam engine, and he was in England.    Robert Fulton was credited with inventing the steamboat.
            Since the government gave the Land Grants, and commissioned the railroad, I give them credit for hiring the contractors!

        • Terry Tree Tree

          The National Defense and Interstate Highway System, has been used FAR more as Interstate Highways, Which helped with commerce!

    • Anonymous

      When questioning “American Exceptionalism,” I don’t see how it’s at all constructive to further perpetuate it with the myth that our forces “defend Europe, Japan and Korea” as if there were no serious burden sharing costs for countries like Germany, Japan and Korea to house US Forces and as if the US did not profit billions in annual arms sales to these countries. We still lead the world by a wide margin in arms development and sales and this is indisputable. As you’re tired of the “American Exceptionalism” hubris, I likewise am tired of the suggestion that US subsidizes global security out of benevolence. It’s simply not the case and this mode of thinking has been outdated for the past 20-30 years. Sorry if this sound condescending but people really need to get current. 

      And in previous decades following WWII and the Korean War when indeed the US paid a large share of the cost burden to US military presence, the “Made in the US” label was at its peak whereby the security of the German, Japanese, South Korean, Taiwanese…markets were critical to US exports that provided secure jobs and helped propel and sustain the US as a hegemonic empire.

  • Jasoturner

    When self-interest replaced idealism in our “leaders”, the game of decline was afoot.  Listen to our current political class.  There are no deep thinkers or idealists in the lot.  It’s all triangulation in a quest for power, influence and, ultimately, money.

  • Dave
  • Modavations

    The mindless mob.Soro’s “useful idiots” of Oakland.The Storm Trooper Unionists,that’s what I fear.To quote Michael S.,Liberalism is a mental disease

    • Ray in VT

      It figures that you would quote Michael Savage.  I have yet to hear a more deranged voice on the radio.  Having said that, though, I did like it when, from time to time, he would say that he was sick of politics and just tell his listeners to call in and tell him a story about something, maybe the first car that they owned.

      • TFRX

        I have yet to hear a more deranged voice on the radio.

        Now, Ray, there is some competition for Michael Weiner. But you’re a better man than I to subject yourself to that search.

        • Ray in VT

          Oh, there is competition in the market, but my polling does lead me to conclude that Savage is the most extreme.  At least he was when I used to tune in a couple of years back.

          • Modavations

            Polling?Is that like snooping,monitoring,making lists!!!!

          • Ray in VT

            Yes, that is what George Soros pays me to do all day.

          • TFRX

            So you’re the one who got selected over me for this gig.

            You are a worthy hire, sir.

      • Modavations

        I listen to NPR,Rush,Laura,Howie Carr,Savage,Hannity,Move On,Aclu,.I read NYT,the Wall St.Journal;.Free speech doesn’t scare me Mean Streets.But where I really learn politics, my parochial man,is Wash.Journal 7-10:00 AM.

      • Modavations

        I listen to NPR,Rush,Laura,Howie Carr,Savage,Hannity,Move On,Aclu,.I read NYT,the Wall St.Journal;.Free speech doesn’t scare me Mean Streets.But where I really learn politics, my parochial man,is Wash.Journal 7-10:00 AM.By the way,your comments on the Oakland mob is?

        • Ray in VT

          Free speech doesn’t scare me either, and I see no reason why it should.  If true, then I commend your variety of sources.  As for Oakland, I despise violence.  I believe in protests and rallies, but I do not condone the destruction of property.

          • TFRX

            I also condemn those Oakland protesters, lo those many weeks ago, assaulting the cops’ billyclubs with their stomachs.

            But let’s not remind Moda about that part of the incident.

          • Modavations

            Bull squared

          • Modavations

            Bull

  • Eileen

    In the future, please be more conscious of re-directing back to the original focus of the issue.  You let people….usually the fast and long talkers…re-define the issue because they don’t want to honestly respond to the facts.  

    • Michele

      Eileen

      I agree with you!  Most of the discussion is a recycling of the same tired conversation by the same players who never change their position and don’t really consider others’ viewpoints.  They’re just “talking” past each other.

  • Modavations

    When I hear the roar of Ameriacn Jets,I think Freedom!!!

    • Anonymous

      From what?

  • Dave

    “Recent history of US Economics: 1. Rampant fraud and reckless mismanagement in the financial sector, 2. Bailouts of the worst actors in the financial sector, 3. Overwhelming debt and liability imposed on taxpayers, 4. Reckless hair-of-the-dog monetary policy aimed at recapitalizing insolvent banks, 5. Promotion of business leaders and policy-makers who are chronically compromised, 6. Conglomeration of Systemically Dangerous Institutions into a more empowered menace.”

    http://www.capitalismwithoutfailure.com/2011/12/capitalism-without-failures-realistic.html

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Hey Dave!  I AGREE with you here!

      • Dave

        Cool, check out the reading list on that page….

  • Gregg
  • Still Here

    The decline in Japan’s trade surplus suggests they will not be the buyer of US Treasuries that they have been.  Think about that.

  • Anonymous

    China’s defence and military R&D budget do not need to match America’s to achieve regional parity because they would be contesting on their own turf to push back US hegemony, they do not have the same layers of bloated rent-seeking contractors manipulating expenditures, and they have the luxury of not having to navigate the inefficient layers of democracy (e.g. sourcing components in all fifty states to raise political support). As for technological development, the Chinese have been very able at stealing our technology without having to expend on developing it and our own corporations have been transferring technology wholesale in traitorious trade deals.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      WELL SAID!

  • Gregg

    Sorry to go off-topic but I live in NC and the radio and TV are saturated with Newt ads. We don’t have our primary until May 8th. I usually don’t get to vote because it’s already settled. I voted Hillary in 2008 because McCain had already won.

    Why would Newt be spending resources in NC? No one else is that I have heard. What’s happening in your State? Just curious.

    • Ray in VT

      The CBS affiliate in Vermont gets pretty heavily saturated because it covers a lot of New Hampshire, so we’re already past at this point.  I don’t think that either party really bothers to air ads for our primary, given how small we are as a state.

      Newt has been saying that he’ll fight all of the way to the convention.  Maybe he thinks that he’ll still be in the game in May.

    • Worried for the country(MA)

      Newt’s super pack had a positive and negative ad on today in MA during the Laura Ingraham show.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      WOW!  You get 3 1/2 months of convincing of your already picked candidate?  Enjoy?

      • Ray in VT

        Does anyone else have ads up, or is it mostly just Newt?

        • Terry Tree Tree

          You’ll have to ask Gregg, I live in East Tennessee.  He was talking about ads in N. Carolina.

          • Ray in VT

            I was open to either of your views.  What’s the ad blitz, if there is one, like in Tennessee?  I see that you’re also up to bat on “Super Tuesday”.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            So far, I’ve missed them, if they’re here.  No tv.  NPR, Oldies Radio channel, mostly.
                Since it would take a combination of a few good ideas from each of the Republican candidates, that each have a LOT of BAD ideas, or qualities, I probably will tune them out, when exposed to them, mostly.

  • Dave

    Ron Paul; “The system is biased against the middle class and the poor.”

    Listen, and rebut with reason.

    http://www.ronpaul.com/2011-10-06/ron-paul-the-system-is-biased-against-the-middle-class-and-the-poor/

  • Four Elements

    A spectre is haunting America ― the spectre of decline. All the powers of old America have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre: economists, politicians, business leaders, financiers and academics. But this decline is comprehensive, ineluctable, persistent, pervasive and permanent. It is evident across the entire social, political and cultural spectrum. It encompasses tangible affairs such as America’s economic power, international influence, technological advances and military strength as well as less concrete matters like political, private and corporate morality, educational standards, and general manners, kindness and generosity.

    The most difficult decline to accept, however, and the one that no individual can evade, is the decline in living standards. Across America there is a gut feeling that the future will not be as prosperous as the past. In giving themselves a better life than their parents and grandparents, these generations have ensured a worse life for their children and grandchildren. This is the age of the downwardly mobile. Like water lazily going down the drain, the economy circles in a sluggish death spiral, and each time we check, it has receded a bit more. Somewhere, a plug has been pulled. Officially, the country cannot admit this truth ― and, in fact, is in desperate denial. Indeed, no politician who speaks truth can be elected. Like a spoiled, petulant monarch, the electorate calls for the death of the messenger. Truthsaying is labeled unpatriotic defeatism, and the public will only elect those who tell it comforting lies. Yet no meaningful measures can be taken unless facts are faced. The past is no longer prologue. The fact that America has bounced back from past crises is no guarantee that it will overcome this one. Something is different.

  • Four Elements

    The Four Declining Fundamentals

    There are four declining fundamentals that make any return to the “good old days” impossible. They are:

    1. The disappearance of Frontiers
    2. The decline of Future
    3. The failure of Faith
    4. The exhaustion of Fortune

    These four developments are all in the nature of natural economic and physical laws that are as impossible to deny as the law of gravity.

    1. We are running out of frontiers. The opportunity to expand into a sparsely inhabited, weakly defended and resource﷓rich continent with a temperate climate (while protected by oceans on both sides) will never come again for any nation at any time. Any competition for this treasure house from other advanced societies was relatively ineffectual and of short duration. America’s impressive growth sprang from the efficient exploitation of a land expropriated from the original technologically inferior inhabitants. Right or wrong, such an event was a one-time opportunity that can never be repeated. This is so huge that it seems to have gone largely unnoticed.
    2. We are running out of future. The rise in living standards of recent decades has been powered by debt-fueled spending ― in other words, credit. It has not been due to real broad-based wealth creation, which springs from the expansion into a class of frontier that no longer exists. It took America about two hundred years to fully develop its potential to create wealth, an arc that peaked around 1950. Whatever problems the country had then, it was optimistic about its future. But it has not seemed to notice that it has outbred and outgrown its greatest resource ― the continent itself. Slowly but surely, there was a transition to borrowing against the future, at a time when that future seemed limitless. Wealth is now created out of thin air by the simple act of creating money by lending it. Now the economy is a faltering, sluggish beast, swollen with debt-driven consumption and spending, waddling obesely to its doom. Even if there were still frontiers, the inevitable unwinding of the debt glut will erode living standards.
    3. We are running out of faith. It is often said that negative thinking is a self﷓fulfilling prophecy, that if we only expect progress, somehow wealth can be created. But there are very good reasons why faith is disappearing. The accounting term “credit” was based upon the Italian “credere”, which means, “to believe”. We have a credit crunch because people do not believe that they will be repaid when they lend money and because banks need to retain cash to balance toxic receivables ― in which they have no faith even as they carry them at full value on their balance sheets. On the other side, loan demand is contracting as firms become reluctant to weaken their financial positions in the face of decreasing expectations. The credit crunch is a faith crunch.
    4. We are running out of fortune. We are living in an age of wealth destruction, not wealth creation. The broad-based sort of wealth creation that expands the middle class is derived from frontiers that are disappearing year by year and from the kind of faith in a promising future that inspires the extension (and seeking) of credit. There is an economic tide that is irresistibly receding, and a receding tide lowers all boats. Year by year, America is becoming poorer. With GDP growth not keeping up with population growth, more and more people have less and less fortune.

    • AC

      “The Way to see by Faith, is to shut the Eye of Reason…”
      B Franklin

      • Gregg

        When one looks to the sky and contemplates infinity it’s a no go. When one speculates on life after death it’s just that, speculation. When one uses science and reason to form theories like the “Big Bang” the same reason cannot reveal what is on the other side of the edge. Karmic results are hailed as gospel by heathens everyday.

        Reason goes only so far, then it’s faith.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Since we cannot travel back in time, we have to take religion on faith, as we do the Big Bang, for the same reason!

    • Worried for the country(MA)

      No Frontiers?

      Haven’t you heard of the new idea for a 51st state on the moon?

  • Jcastator

    Our past is not our future.  The end of communism has changed the world economy forever.  America will not continue to enjoy the advantages of an artificially suppressed world economy.  We need to stop focusing on our previous situation and think about how our economy can be competitive in the future.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      I AGREE that this needs to be done in a way that is NOT the race to the bottom of wages, and worker conditions!

  • Modavations

    The Nlrb is demanding all companies hand over the names and addresses of all employees so the unions can contact(coerce)them.Remember Card Check.Trumpka wanted to eliminate the secret ballot.The enemy is within,abetted by the sorry excuse, called the 4th estate.The 5th column is more like it

    • Terry Tree Tree

      The companies ALREADY have the names of the employees to intimidate, and the paycheck to intimidate with!

  • Panzerfaust

    the NSF budget now, is less than the year end bonus of Goldmann-Sucks. that speaks loud about the decline of science research in US.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Therefore, the probable decline of the U.S.?

  • Modavations

    Under Kennedy the defense outlay was 50% of the budget,under Reagan 30% ish.Today about 20%.That whoosh you hear when one of our jets streak across the sky, is the sound of freedom

    • Anonymous

      Well, the thunder I heard when the F-22 raptors that cost us $67 billion felt awesome but still was a total waste of funds. The best fighter ever built was so good that there was really no application as we found out in Kosovo. That’s why they were cancelled and we’ve instead invested hundred billion more on the F-35 program. That’s a lot of wasted “freedom.”

      • Modavations

        457 billion is the interest we will pay on the debt this year alone.That’s a lot of freedom 

        • Anonymous

          Your initial point, which you felt compelled to double post, and to which I replied was about the preservation of current defense spending levels. Now you want to make some strawman point about a national deficit which our profligate defense spending (something you support by the way) helped exacerbate?

          If you should have a point, make it clearly. The adults in the room are trying to address a national problem.

          • Modavations

            compelled my a–.I don’t even know what F1,F2,F3.Before hanging with you guys,I’d never heard the term Troll,except in the sense that normal humans use

          • Anonymous

            Says the troll. I’m done addressing you with a modicum of decency. I’m actually done wasting my time on you and your daily childish rants. Now, kindly bugger off.

          • Modavations

            you’re sweating son.make a point

          • Anonymous

            That you’re not worth the effort.
            That was the point.

          • Anonymous

            You’re wasting your time. This guy thinks Hitler and the nazi regime were all socialist. Claims to have a degree in political science from BC, (apparently missed the days when the rise in fascism in Europe was the topic) and loves to rant in run on sentences.
             

          • Modavations

            Now your clairvoyant?I dropped out after 2 and a half years.Just like Jobs,just like Gates.NAZI=National Workers Socialist Party.And your excuse for Stalin and Mao is what?Hitler was a ligjht weight compared to those monsters

          • Anonymous

            So I guess you missed the class on European history from WW1 to 1939.

          • Anonymous

            Yeah, I regret having wasted the time and effort. Not sure if he’s choosing to be a moron for the sake of trolling or if he’s really a moron – I’m guessing the latter actually – but this board would be made much more insightful and readable with an ignore feature. There are too many of these imbeciles calling everyone else out for being shills in defensive posturing.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            You think Moda might be good enough to play that dumb?

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Shows you what a Boston College education is worth?

          • Terry Tree Tree

            You, the self-proclaimed world traveller, and owner of a million 100 watt lights, had never heard of a trolling motor, or trolling for fish?
               You admit to a  chink in your knowledge?

          • Modavations

            Reread ,”I’d never heard the term Troll ,except in the sense that normal humans mean.I’ll go back to “J”,NPR’s lamest of posters.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            You have promised the “J”, for months now, and KEEP forgetting it?  What, in your past could cause memory loss?

      • Modavations

        Usual bull from my comrad friend./A stealth Raptor costs 150 million.I paid 125 million for mine.I’m a businessman,we haggle

        • Anonymous

          Comrad friend, eh? No wonder people call you a troll and stupid. Anyway, I’m obviously referring to the total cost of the F-22 program and NOT cost per unit of that program.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Out of your imaginary zillions?  Could you have made a more assanine statement?

          • Modavations

            Proud of you lad.You figured it out without a “J”

      • Anonymous

        Also the
        F-22 is defective, pilots have tendency to pass out.

  • Anonymous

    I really wish Tom would take Michael Beckley’s talking point replies to task. Absent that, it’s an exercise in patience. Example paraphrased: we shouldn’t train test-takers but instead educate problem solvers. Well, duh. Problem is, this mode of thinking has led to an imbalance where in reply to a shortage of high skilled manufacturing base, the likes of Samsung, Taiwan Semiconductor, IBM and so forth have pledged to invest $10 billion plus to retool industry to accommodate their future needs and offer more high tech manufacturing jobs so long as the State of NY invest funds in their university to properly train enough engineers and laborers. The problem solving in this case is clearly to train more “test-takers.”

    Beckley also notes how we’re retaining US trained Asians with Ph.Ds in the US as professionals. Well, considering I know five off hand who couldn’t find jobs here in the US despite two having done post docs at Tufts, I really haven’t a clue what he’s talking about. Try going to any Asian ethnic church, the Cambridge Korean church in Central Square as well as the Brookline church in the village would sort things out in a hurry.

    These items can go on and on. We need to recognize that there is a problem in order to address it and solve it. Pointing to China to say “see they’re worse off than we are so we don’t have a problem” is utterly dishonest.

    We might begin with hammering home the notion that economic growth isn’t infinite and that our post-world war attitudes need serious adjustment.

  • Modavations

    Newt says 800 billion is wasted in defensive medicine.GAO says we blow 200Bill per year in redundant programs.Dr.Berman said waste and fraud in Medicare could be 130billion per annum and on and on.That’s a whole lot of Freedom ,my defender of the Welfare state,

  • Michele

    The inverse of 8% unemployment is 92% employment.  Additionally, this whole discussion is basically whining over the fact that the US will not be the single hegemonic power in the World.  America needs to grow-up and learn to play in the sandbox with all the other players.  We need to grow-up period.

    • Worried for the country(MA)

      If you measure underemployment and discouraged workers who have given up working, academic studies show the unemployment rate is about 20% and is much higher in minority communities and the young.

      • Still Here

        Where are the jobs for babies Obama?

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Confusing President Obama with Newt?

  • Lpoubelle

    take into account that our test scores are lower because we test EVERYONE.  Other nations only test their very top tier of students.  We still come out way ahead for universal education,

    • Anonymous

      Sorry, but as someone who was tested every quarter for grueling day long tests as were all my peers of 50 per classroom, you have no idea what you’re talking about.

      • Modavations

        To this guy no one knows what their talking about.Typical Politboro stuff.Why don’t you give us the feigned indignationa and sign off in a huff.No need to reply,I’m off to the gym

        • Anonymous

          SoRRY.I hAVE no life.No one likes me so I troll all day long everyday on point website because i am intelectuial and know everythign their is to know.If you disagree with me, it is because your a nazi and lier.Maybe both.

          • Ray in VT

            Well, I would be willing to believe that statement up to the word website.  Except for sorry.

          • Gregg

            Jerk.

          • Anonymous

            duplicitus scum.u and everyBody here Knows why.

          • Ray in VT

            Gregg and I disagree on just about everything, but surely name-calling doesn’t belong here.  I at first read your tag as Modavations, and I just assumed that the post was just him being snarky and sarcastic.  Can’t we all do better?

          • Anonymous

            namecalling is rampant in this forum.pay atention nd not sletive atention. 

          • Modavations

            hundie-Ultrax

          • Gregg

            It’s an imposter but at least this time he/she changed the spelling up. It’s a “cl” instead of a “d”. You missed the drama a few months ago when this jerk didn’t change the spelling and posted under my name and others including Modavations. He/she made vile, perverted, homo-erotic comments about bestiality. It was relentless.

            I am very careful to not be personal or uncivil but in this case I stand by my comment.

          • Modavations

            Dec.2 is where to “week in review”.Lefties are a strange species.

          • Anonymous

            “He/she made vile, perverted, homo-erotic comments about bestiality. ”  — Rick santorum really shouldn’t post under an assumed name.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Yes, that was a BAD time, with NO value that I could see.  I was accused, along with many  others.  I hope that they just stop!

          • Modavations

            Hundie and Ultrax stalk

          • Anonymous

            Well, that didn’t take long.

          • Modavations

            Ultra-Hundie impersonation

        • Anonymous

          You have no point other than a personal attack.

        • Modavations

          The real me.What’s with you guys and your phantom personages

  • Roymerritt19

     It has long been my conviction that the naysayers are wrong about the inevitable decline of the United States.  it has long been the nation where migrants and intellectuals are desirous to settle down.  Our culture is now so preeminent that it has virtually become the culture of the world.  All this consternation about the rising power of China is an exercise in paranoia.  China itself has problems of their own.  The peasants in the countryside will eventually demand the upward mobility their brethren in the cities are enjoying.  And consider if you will that the increasing middle class in that nation will eventually demand the freedom that the western world has had so many years.  Tinnamenn Square must still be fresh in their minds and as well the carnage their government was willing to commit against its citizenry to maintain the power they possess.  Their problems with the Muslims within their borders are undeniable.  A recent report of numerous self immolation by dispirited Tibetan has come to light.  Peasants have staged demonstrations in the countryside and their have been attacks on remote police constabularies.  I fore see unrest in the near future there and the whole of Chinese society demanding an end to communism and embracing democracy.  By contrast our political squabbles look mediocre.  The greatest danger facing us and our allies is the reaction of the communist government there when they are facing the possible loss of that power and too the reaction of their client state the Hermit Kingdom of North Korea when they see the only friend they have is about to collapse.  Therefore we should be ever vigilant militarily while at the same time willing to assist them when the transition from communism becomes a reality.  It is freedom that is inevitable not the decline of America that so many have for reasons of their own subscribed to.

    • Telleha

      Actually Roy our greatest danger facing this country is
      coming from within.  We don’t have to
      worry about terrorists when we are doing a great job of it ourselves.  It comes from everyone feeling we are better
      than people in the rest of the world.  It
      comes from our insatiable greed, and a total disregard for our fellow human
      beings. 

       

      Our current diminished position in the world can be
      attributed to many reasons of which here are some of the following:  the citizens of this great country in allowing
      religion to have an influence on our political system and how government is run,
      which by the way was not the idea of the framers of our Constitution, they knew
      better; the deregulation of our financial institutions to stimulate growth,
      wealth and the well being of its citizens with no central government overseers to
      hold it in-check, which directly attributed to the latest financial meltdown debacle
      of our banks, Wall Street, mortgage companies, savings and loans, credit card
      companies, which not only affected this country but every other country as
      well, and the list goes on; income tax changes were in-acted by the rich in
      both houses of Congress to reduce the taxes of those wage earners and
      corporations that were making the highest incomes for “what the legislators
      said was going to help stimulate jobs, growth, and increase income across all
      income levels”; that decision accounted for a giant loss of income to this
      government because, note:  GE pays no corporate
      income tax and Mitt Romney pays 13.9% .  I
      pay more than Mitt and GE.  Maybe I
      should incorporate and do the same. 
      Income tax needs to be scheduled according to income level, be that it
      is individual or corporate, according to income levels.  That means that everyone in this country pays
      their FAIR share.  WOW is this
      unique – Everyone pays their fair share.

       

      Now I keep hearing that government is too big to make good
      governing decisions and that the central government’s imprint is too large and
      it should be reduced.   Reduced to
      what?  I ask.  Should our central government be reduced to something
      in the land of the Lilliputians?   Our
      legislators come from the land of the Lilliputians.  Oh, I’m sorry I wrote that too quickly.  The Lilliputians were lovely little folks who
      never hurt anyone.  I couldn’t, with
      justice in my heart, ever send our legislators to go ruin their lives like they
      have ruined ours.  I feel that I voted
      for my congressmen and senators both in Washington and Tallahassee to do one
      job.  Govern this country and govern this
      state and stop the self serving horse shit. 
      They should all go home and we should start all over again with new
      people.

       

      I don’t ever want to hear about lobbyists again.  They are dangerous to our country and to our
      constitution and should be outlawed if found to have broken the law – imprisoned
      along with any of our representatives who were caught associating with
      them. 

       

      Now since I’m on a roll how do we get more money back into
      the coffers of our central government?  One way of doing this is to stop paying to support
      two languages in this country.  This is
      an English speaking country.  How many
      billions does it cost to support English and Spanish?  Find out and it will make the hair on your
      head stand up.  Is it necessary to the
      well being of this country?   Everyone, until the last ten to fifteen years,
      has moved to this country, studied English, received their green cards, applied
      for citizenship and become citizens.  I
      no longer want to press, 1, 2, 3, and 4 on any phone for any language at any
      time regardless if we have 1 billion Martians move to this country.  It makes no difference and look at what it
      cost us.  Who voted for this?  Did this represent a Hispanic vote that some
      legislator needed to win in some section of our country?  How, pray tell, could I think that any of our
      legislators would stoop to do this to enhance their chances or the chances of
      their party for victory.  Oh, how
      insensitive of me.         

       

  • Charlie

    I’d rather live in the USA today than in the USA 100 or 200 years ago.  So would most all people, I think, if they realized how much better off we are today.  What difference does it make how we compare with others?  If it’s that important to be “number one”, are we saying that the rest of the countries in the world are somehow living in an undesirable state? 

    • Ray in VT

      I think that often we do fail to realize how much better off than we used to be, as well as how much better off we are than most places in the world.  That is not to say that there are not ways that we can improve upon our lot.  There are definitely places in the world that are undesirable.  There are some 400 Somali refugees living in northern Vermont these days.  I’ve met a few of the young men, and they are very happy to be here, even on days when it is 10 below zero.

      • Anonymous

        That is not a good comparison, Somalia
        is a failed state. There are few places in the world that aren’t better.

        • Ray in VT

          I wasn’t necessarily trying to make a comparison.  They just happen to be the locals that I know who came from a bad place.  Still, by just about any measure we have it pretty good.

          • Ray in VT

            Before the Somalis we actually had several dozens Vietnamese refugees settle here in the 1990s.

        • Anonymous

          Right, so maybe a better question to ask is what country is the preferred destination for emigrants. Canada, OZ and western Europe are now thought of as favorably if not preferred over the US given their social safety nets, quality of life, human development and upward mobility potential and I question whether the US still holds its place as the most preferred destination as it had been until the 90s. Except for low waged migrant workers and asylum seekers that is.

  • Golden Doc

    One very important aspect of this discussion that has been overlooked is the documented decline in the health of the american people.  All of the degenerative diseases are on the rise and are beginning sooner in life as well.  Cancer, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, obesity, alzheimer’s – just to name a few are pandemic.  Without a healthy population, how can we expect a healthy economy?  From our leaders to our children, we need a re-evaluation of our national health, before we experience the disappearance of the “red-blooded american”.

  • Anonymous

    I think the US is in decline, the currect economic problems remind me a lot of the the 3rd century.

    • Telleha

       I agree Killerbee256.  Look back in history and you will see our future.

    • Anonymous

      While it’s interesting to do comparisons to the Roman Empire and it’s fall, one has to remember that we are not ruled by Emperors, who in most cases were pretty sick human beings. Read Robert Graves The Twelve Caesars.  

      • Anonymous

        Well I agree the roman government was different but there were a lot similarities to what happened as the west and later the east (byzantine) and to what is happening now. For instance the Roman army started to use more and more Germanic and other mercenaries, which is reminds of the US’s use of companies like blackwater. In Rome these mercenaries are the ones who finally over threw the western empire. Also I think from the 3rd century on the large roman land owners began to get more and more power over the central government, they hired their own private armies; these people’s descendents would become the feudal lords of the middle ages. Which in my mind is a lot like the corporations are beginning to have more power then governments, more directly the way CEO’s of those companies live in rich gated communities
        with guards, isolated from the common man. The Roman Empire had a long history; nearly 500 years in the west and 1000 in the east, the caligulas and Neros belonged to just one era of that history.

        • Anonymous

          Interesting analogy. However I don’t see any similarity between someone living in a gated community with some security guards and feudal lords with armies. If we started down the path of countries such as Guatemala or Argentina with death squads and military take overs I would say that would be similar. CEO’s are not hiring small armies nor could they even come close to matching the firepower of a few Blackhawks.
          Mind you the drone technology is getting cheaper and better so you never know.

          This is not the 3rd century, I’m more inclined to think mid 20th and the rise of fascism as a closer analogy. 

          • Anonymous

            The Roman Empire continued in the west until 475 and the
            eastern empire until 1453, the third century was just that started of a course
            of events lead to its fall. Of course there are not exact parallels; the
            “banana republics” of the 20th century are closer example due to
            cultural relatedness between Rome and Latin
            America, and today Latin America is getting
            better so you never know what can happen. I bring up the land owners and CEOs
            as an example of the “haves and have not” it took awhile for them to morph into
            feudal lords. The common roman citizen lost rights while the land owner gained
            more power. I don’t know much about Chinese or Persian history but I’m sure at
            the history of those areas you see the same types of decline when dynasties and
            governments in those areas fell.

  • ChrisA

    I think this discussion needs to define what we mean by “decline”, what does it encompass? For sure things are changing every moment in the world scene and some of the “power” the US has or has had in some aspects changes continually.

  • Admiralzeka

    America is in decline. We have state of the art medical technology, yet we let our citizens die even though they’re more than willing to work for their keep. We deny people marriage and employment because of who they are. It’s not too late though. I still believe in America’s potential. If we start making right choices we can still be not only the land of the free, but of the prosperous too.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      How right you are!

    • Telleha

       This is a wave the flag – pie in the sky attitude and has no apparent bearing on the subject of American decline.  In addition our state of the art “medical technology” is behind that of Cuba’s and many other countries.  We are not making the right choices because were too greedy.  Don’t look ahead for too much prosperity.

    • Observer

      We don’t let our citizens die. Nice try.

      • Anonymous

        No we bankrupt them if they can’t afford it.

        • Four Elements

          THEN we let them die

  • Kevin Cahill

    The cost of living in China is about one-third of that in the US.  So their currency may be much more undervalued than we think.  I’m not sure how this fact affects today’s debate.

  • Montmartre

    It has been twenty years since I read Paul Kennedy’s The Rise and Fall of Great Empires and I will comment from my deteriorating memory. I though that Kennedy made the point that military expansionism has costs.  It cost men and money to project, maintain,and protect the expansionists borders and spheres of influence.  Sometimes the costs are more than the benefits and therefore they take away from the infrastructure of the homelands. At some point you hollow your own core.  When someone asks to define decline I would say that after ten years of war, with undefinable benefits, at a cost of trillions of dollars, (not counting future costs for veterans, more munitions, etc) you only have to read the paper to see how we have declined.  We need expenditures of hundreds of billions for tangible infrastructure repairs and modernization, we have educational institutions that are less accessible to many people in our society, there are debts of trillions of dollars owed to foreign countries in which the repayment will mean less investment in our own country.  We have stagnated our standard of living and enhanced and strengthened the military industrial complex that Eisenhower warned us about.  

    My only issue with this discussion is why didn’t this happened at least five years ago.

    • Observer

      Too bad Obama never talks like that. Sounds more like Ron Paul

  • Me

    America sold itself out!!

  • Danielosuman

    great show!!!

  • Pingback: Michael Beckley on American decline | Belfer In The News

  • revolve

    Beckley says that Chinese come to America and stay in America–he said we are essentially skimming of the brightest people in China.  This is fundamentally untrue. 

    Living and teaching in China for 6 years I can tell you , that the only the wealthiest go abroad…very few ‘bright’ students are going–unless they have money.  Furthermore, I would ask him to look at the date more deeply.  He claims his data shows Chinese staying n America even after they graduate.  Go back and see how long they stay.  i would contend tha tmost will return to what they call the “motherland”.  If they are staying in America for a time it is so they can ge the expereice and skills required to take back to CHina.  They are very proud of ther country, and very tied to family.  They will return.  i would aslso contend that as most of them ar ein engineering and sciences–they are staying to work in order to ‘borow’ gain, steal technology and ideas–to bring back to China.  Also because in china they will enjoy great prestige and politics aside authoritarianism is what they know, and understand–they accept it, and often praise it. 

    There many many bright people in China.  They just don’t have the institutions or culture that fosters ingenuity.  But they can be innovative and will obey the government.  They will do everything in their power to improve China.  Don’t be fooled by a fe years of internship in America.

    And the military is not a good measure of society–it is a poor one, shows how morally inferior we are as Americans.

  • revolve

    There are more than a billion people in China.  They have great buying power.  The middle class is as large as the entire population of America.  That’s a lot of people buying, spending, and living comfortable lives.  The cost of living is also very manageable for this massive middle class.  Also the 1% in China is extremely wealthy.  We too have a powerful elite in America–the only people doing well financially in America–so it is hardly a means to measure prosperity-even tho it is they who wield the very powerful military and wealth in global corps.  The common people suffer, and struggle to put food on the table.  Not in China.  Food is in abundance; cost of living is low.  A low cost of living allows people to focus energies on other things that really matter, if they want to…

    China is not without problems–a huge capitalist population with consumer dreams is just not sustainable.  It could cause an implosion and it could unbalance the entire world, and set in motion a chain of events that will bring the worlds biosphere to the brink of annihilation.  A consumer society is not sustainable.  Americas desire for power is not sustainable–it only goads immature, uninformed billions in China to pursue the same disastrous dreams. 

    The question should be–Is the world in decline, and can we ever recover under the status qou?  We need a complete se change in economics and culture.  If we fail to do this the world as we know it will come down like the trade center.  When, is the question.  methane geysers in the poles.  Oceans dying.  world wide extinctions.  massive pollution.  Climate change.  And no sign of caring…

  • Anonymous

    Superpower? Hollow?

    Now it doesn’t mean moral superpower, does it. Does Super refer to appetite or volume of carbon discharged or number of people killed by our military… which we no longer count?

    We do have a great history, and a great constitution. We have a great land, and some wonderful people.

    But where are we now, and where are we going? We are visionless if we listen to ANY of the people vying for the presidency. The Moon. Big Industry. Oh my.

    Invision a 21 hour work week. Exploring and making art. We don’t need more stuff but more awakeness.

    A six point plan will not save us. That is what Occupy is all about. Money, accounting and standing armies all go together. Is that our future?

    Will Rogers said America has two great friends, the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Can we feed ourselves
    and pull back the 900 military bases in 130 countries?

    Yes. But can we talk about it, No. Not with a press which is funded not by the people but by the corporations that control enough money to buy the law to make themselves persons. So can we get out from down the rabbit hole? Yes. If we citizen fund our press.

  • Fredlinskip

    Arrogance-
    the superpower killer.

  • http://www.biltekakademi.com/ Bİltek Akademi Bilgisayar Kurs

    good nice site

  • Rdcooper101

    This isn’t a new phenomena, we’ve been in decline for nearly 45 years and it started with the 60s counter culture.  Many young adults may be clueless but it’s very obvious to anyone over 35.  As recently as 1980 we were the largest creditor nation in the world and we dominated the majority of industries.  At one time our educational system was the best in the world and we attracted people from all over the Western world.  All nations rise and fall and the signs of America’s decline are everywhere.  The trillions of dollars in debt, the dumbing down of the population, the changing demographics, the loss of patriotism, the cultural rot, the moral decay, etc.  It’s too hard to ignore.

  • Ace

    Answer this-why is China investing so heavily in the  U.S.?  Best investment on the planet.  Follow the money.

  • G Montufar

    An anecdotal way I know that America isn’t in decline is by our cultural exports. Apart from our military dominance, most people still want to speak English. Our music and movies are sought out and copied by billions of other folks. Our social media have made speaking out en vogue, the world over. No empire ever lasts…but we’ve got centuries to go. Read your history. When empires are inclusive, and offer benefits to the vanquished, they roll on for a long time. When they are brutal and vindictive they’re isolated and ushered out. I know for a fact, that many people benefit from the Pax Americana. Sorry to break you heart…but we won’t be seeing true American decline in our lifetime.

  • Pingback: » Quick – Start an E-Learning Export Business

  • Pingback: For The Good Of America, Finding A Balance Between Triumph And Decline | Cognoscenti

ONPOINT
TODAY
Jul 29, 2014
The U.S. Senate is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 16, 2014. (AP)

The “Do-Nothing” Congress just days before August recess. We’ll look at the causes and costs to the country of D.C. paralysis.

Jul 29, 2014
This April 28, 2010 file photo, shows the Colstrip Steam Electric Station, a coal-fired power plant in Colstrip, Mont. Colstrip figures to be a target in recently released draft rules from the Environmental Protection Agency that call for reducing Montana emissions 21 percent from recent levels by 2030. (AP)

A new sci-fi history looks back on climate change from the year 2393.

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Jul 28, 2014
U.S. Secretary of War Newton D. Baker watches as wounded American soldiers arrive at an American hospital near the front during World War I. (AP Photo)

Marking the one hundredth anniversary of the start of World War One. We’ll look at lessons learned and our uneasy peace right now.

 
Jul 28, 2014
This June 4, 2014 photo shows a Walgreens retail store in Boston. Walgreen Co. _ which bills itself as “America’s premier pharmacy” _ is among many companies considering combining operations with foreign businesses to trim their tax bills. (AP)

American companies bailing out on America. They call it inversion. Is it desertion?

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