Is This The End of the American Century?

This site features updates, analysis, discussion and comments related to the theme of my book published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2008 (hardbound) and 2009 (paperbound).

The Book

The End of the American Century documents the interrelated dimensions of American social, economic, political and international decline, marking the end of a period of economic affluence and world dominance that began with World War II. The war on terror and the Iraq War exacerbated American domestic weakness and malaise, and its image and stature in the world community. Dynamic economic and political powers like China and the European Union are steadily challenging and eroding US global influence. This global shift will require substantial adjustments for U.S. citizens and leaders alike.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

I.O.U.S.A. Video On the Toxic Mix of U.S. Debts

The Peter G. Peterson Foundation has produced a documentary video about the roots of the financial crisis in the U.S., entitled "I.O.U.S.A.: One Nation, Under Stress, in Debt". This link takes you to a 30-minute "bite sized" version of the documentary for viewing online.

Pete Peterson, former Republican Secretary of Commerce, published the book Running on Empty in 2004, which pointed out the toxic nature of the unprecedented "triple deficits" bedeviling the U.S. economy: the budget, trade and household deficits. This film dramatically and powerfully illustrated these deficits and shows how much worse they have gotten in the last eight years. The budget deficits, as a share of the economy, are nearing levels not seen since World War II. The U.S. trade deficit (importing more than we export) is at record levels, and is the largest in the world. And household debts are the worst since the Depression.

As the moderator of the show says at the beginning, the most serious threat to the U.S. is not terrorism, but "our own fiscal irresponsibility."

As I have pointed out on this site, and in my book, these economic problems are the starting point of The End of the American Century, but they are only part of a much bigger set of problems. Pete Peterson and his video say that we have to raise taxes and cut spending. This is probably true. But how do we do this during an economic crisis, and when we face monumental problems--with education, health care, the environment, infrastructure, poverty--that require more resources, not less?

The video is worth watching, and very sobering.

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1 comment:

ArcAnge1M said...

What can replace this system? Is there a good place that synthesizes the vision of a viable replacement?