December 4, 2009

"The Obama administration’s ranks are filled with people, fresh from the academy and the think tanks, who talk about the need to manage American decline..."

"... and even boast about how much more sophisticated they are than the Bush people on this score. They do say all this off the record, however. Perhaps they know that many Americans would not applaud them for their sophistication. Let’s hope the man in the Oval Office knows it, too."

Robert Kagan.

90 comments:

jaltcoh said...

"It seems to me that Obama deserves even more credit for courage than Bush did, for he has risked much more."

Scott said...

Very slightly OT: John Stossel, in writing about Obama's jobs summit, has a great take-down on the kind of people the POTUS picks for advice.

His think tanks are echo chambers.

Arturius said...

"It seems to me that Obama deserves even more credit for courage than Bush did, for he has risked much more."

Such as?

PatCA said...

"Obama could lose everything."

Not really. Even if he is a one-term president, or the Reps take over in 2010, he will have established legal and regulatory schemes that will ensure his party's ideology will dominate for a generation.

hdhouse said...

Well Scott, you nailed it ya'betcha. Echo chambers like the Heritage Foundation rah rahs that Bush/Cheney trotted off to at every turn? Not.

Kagen doesn't get it nearly right. Afghanistan is Bush's war poorly fought and wretchedly planned. 7 years of hopelessly confused leadership sits now on Obama's desk and rather than just neglecting it like Bush/Cheney did, he is forced to deal with it.
Perhaps he is right and although I disagree about more troops and not pulling out, he is stuck between a rock and a hard place of the Bush team's making and now he takes the time to think his way through it and sanction a plan to get us out of there and the Cheneys of the world go nuts.

The right wing in this world seems to be off its historical rocker.

William said...

For the greater part of its existence, thinkers predicted the fall of the Roman Empire. Legionnaires, however, had different views than Juvenal on the viability of the Empire. An empire, like a religion, fails when people no longer believe in it. America will be in trouble when people like the Palins lose their faith.

edutcher said...

PatCA said...

"Obama could lose everything."

Not really. Even if he is a one-term president, or the Reps take over in 2010, he will have established legal and regulatory schemes that will ensure his party's ideology will dominate for a generation.


Don't count on that. For the first time, there are those uttering the magic word, repeal, as in, if we win, we'll repeal a lot of this dreck.

hdhouse said...

Well Scott, you nailed it ya'betcha. Echo chambers like the Heritage Foundation rah rahs that Bush/Cheney trotted off to at every turn? Not.

Kagen doesn't get it nearly right. Afghanistan is Bush's war poorly fought and wretchedly planned. 7 years of hopelessly confused leadership sits now on Obama's desk and rather than just neglecting it like Bush/Cheney did, he is forced to deal with it.
Perhaps he is right and although I disagree about more troops and not pulling out, he is stuck between a rock and a hard place of the Bush team's making and now he takes the time to think his way through it and sanction a plan to get us out of there and the Cheneys of the world go nuts.

The right wing in this world seems to be off its historical rocker.


No, you're just whistling past the graveyard. Lefties do that a lot.

Roost on the Moon said...

Robert Kagan and Althouse are boasting about their sophistication every bit as much as the administration is, otherwise their argument would be that nothing actually is in decline.

Instead we get this condescending pussyfooting about what the American people would hypothetically applaud.

Arturius said...

Afghanistan is Bush's war poorly fought and wretchedly planned. 7 years of hopelessly confused leadership sits now on Obama's desk and rather than just neglecting it like Bush/Cheney did, he is forced to deal with it.


I can certainly feel his pain. Although I should point out that Vietnam was poorly fought and wretchedly planned under Kennedy/LBJ and dumped on Dick Nixon's lap.

The right wing in this world seems to be off its historical rocker.

I distinctly recall Senator John Kerry referring Vietnam as 'Nixon's War' so as the saying goes, facts are funny things.

I'm not sure why there isn't one halfway smart person in DC that can't point out that we, for all intents and purposes, defeated the Taliban in 2003 with a few Spec Ops guys and a few million in suitcases. It may go against conventional wisdom but some solutions aren't that complicated. Distasteful perhaps but not complicated.

Maguro said...

I have to disagree. Obama hasn't exactly decided to fail, but he doesn't really seem determined to succeed either. His lukewarm leadership doesn't inspire confidence in our allies or strike fear in our enemies. We're setting our troops up for failure with absurd Rules of Engagement. A bad scene all around.

vbspurs said...

Let’s hope the man in the Oval Office knows it, too.

Kagan jests. The man oozes unctuous superiority to his fellow man in every pore.

"It's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

This is the real Barack Obama, and all like him.

vbspurs said...

Let’s hope the man in the Oval Office knows it, too.

Kagan jests. The man oozes unctuous superiority to his fellow man in every pore.

"It's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

This is the real Barack Obama, and all like him.

rollingdivision said...

The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for
Social Policy by Thomas Sowell

vbspurs said...

One of the best books ever written, Rollingdivision. Dr. Sowell is my hero.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Biden and the wise men

Hee.

rollingdivision said...

Intellectuals by Paul Johnson examines the terrible results of liberal ruling elites throughout history.

Montagne Montaigne said...

Hey! What if we are moving towards a world in which no nation dominates any other? Or needs to? If that were possible, would it be desirable?

There are certain inescapable modes of human interaction, but I don't think nation states, or any mode of organizing societies above the clan level, need to be.

Montagne Montaigne said...

p.s. I speak for myself-- I think Obama clearly believes in American exceptionalism. If you'd listened to the content of his West Point speech, and not the "vibe" or whatever, you would know that... AHEM

"Since the days of Franklin Roosevelt, and the service and sacrifice of our grandparents, our country has borne a special burden in global affairs. We have spilled American blood in many countries on multiple continents. We have spent our revenue to help others rebuild from rubble and develop their own economies. We have joined with others to develop an architecture of institutions - from the United Nations to NATO to the World Bank - that provide for the common security and prosperity of human beings.

We have not always been thanked for these efforts, and we have at times made mistakes. But more than any other nation, the United States of America has underwritten global security for over six decades - a time that, for all its problems, has seen walls come down, markets open, billions lifted from poverty, unparalleled scientific progress, and advancing frontiers of human liberty. " --Obama

Arturius said...

Hey! What if we are moving towards a world in which no nation dominates any other? Or needs to?

We, as in the USA or any nation?

If that were possible, would it be desirable?

Of course. But then many things that are impossible tend to be desirable.

Triangle Man said...

What if we are moving towards a world in which no nation dominates any other?

This is an impossibility when dominance is redefined to include "cultural imperialism". Our MTV is killing their authentic culture!

Arturius said...

I speak for myself-- I think Obama clearly believes in American exceptionalism.

Well I speak for myself and I think Obama's past and present associations and stated beliefs tend to contradict his supposed belief in American exceptionalism.

But speeches are always written to the targeted audience so his speech in praise of America to a room full of young men and women sworn to defend it is hardly surprising. No more so than his apology tour to Europe or the much needed ego boosting words to the Muslim world.

The Drill SGT said...

If they are right and America is declining, then what is the reason for the decline? Our population is larger, our resources still nearly boundless, perhaps we need to think about what it takes to be free and proud Americans. Rome didn't fall because it was attacked from the outside. It fell because Romans no longer believed in Rome and were not willing to make the sacrifices needed to maintain Rome.

A nice qute from a piece of recent fiction sums it up:

“Centurions were the guardians of Rome. At the height of the Roman Republic there were over five thousand qualified Roman Centurions in the Legions. To be a centurion required that, in mostly illiterate society, one be able to read and write clearly, to be able to convey and create orders, to be capable of performing every skill of a Roman soldier BUT teach teach every skill of a Roman soldier. Becoming a Centurion required intense physical ability,courage beyond the norm, years of sacrifice and a total devotion to the philosophy which was Rome. When Rome fell to the barbarian invaders, there were fewer than five hundred qualified Centurions. Not because Rome had fewer people but because it had fewer people willing to make the sacrifices. And the last Centurions left the shields in the heather and took a barbarian wife.”

Roger J. said...

Monty--rightly or wrongly nation states seem to have emerged as the primary actors, so we have to deal with them. As to your question, depends, I think, on your beliefs about human nature. Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau all speculated on our condition in a "state of nature" and came to dramatically different conclusions based on their beliefs about human motivations. Your question seems to me to be a state of nature question replacing individuals with nation states.

Arturius said...

If to further my point Montagne, envision Obama giving that section of the West Point speech in France, or Belgium or South Korea and be honest in your assessment if his international stardom would take a mortal hit.

Montagne Montaigne said...

Actually, on Kagan's last point, I would wager Obama doesn't care what people think, because he believes that by doing the most pragmatic thing he is doing the best thing, for them and the country. There is little ideology there.

WV: supho. intra-lobbyist greeting

vbspurs said...

Obama giving that section of the West Point speech in France, or Belgium or South Korea

But Arthurius, he didn't have to intone that speech in Germany to get Der Spiegel to notice and write up a disgusted article on the topic.

It's 2009. Addressing one's fellow Americans live means addressing the world live too.

Arturius said...

A nice qute from a piece of recent fiction sums it up:

I will say that is one of the first Ringo books I thoroughly enjoyed but I'll confess to a weakness for post-apocolyptic narratives.

My only critique was he tended to go a bit overboard with the intricacies of the science of agriculture. It started to remind me of glazing over portions of Clancy's works when he delved a bit too much into the inner workings of sonar or some other hi-techy gizmo.

vbspurs said...

Oops, ARTURIUS! Sorry about that.

traditionalguy said...

Is this analogous to the help Judas gave Jesus in managing his decline from Palm Sunday's glorious entrance into a Jerusalem that would have made him King if he wanted it, and Good Friday six days later? If so, then follow the money.

Arturius said...

But Arthurius, he didn't have to intone that speech in Germany to get Der Spiegel to notice and write up a disgusted article on the topic.

It's 2009. Addressing one's fellow Americans live means addressing the world live too.


Honestly, it is rather difficult to see what was really bothering the author. Was it the escalation or the promise of an 18 month bug out regardless of the outcome?

Joan said...

I don't think Obama believes in American exceptionalism. This quote from the West Point speech reveals it: The United States of America has underwritten global security for over six decades

Underwritten? Underwriters work for insurance companies and calculate odds. The USA does not underwrite global security, we create it. This sounds like someone first wrote "has insured global security" and then got all fancy with the thesaurus, not realizing that "underwrite" has way different connotations than "insure." In short, this was a stupid thing to say. It puts the US in the passive role of financial backer when in fact we are the primary actor in global security.

Just another example of the hackish amateurs running amok in the Obama administration. Can't even write a speech that doesn't insult the country.

ContraMan said...

If you don't believe the truth of Kagan's statement, you need look no further than David Brook's column today in the NY Times. Brooks, himself a long ago neutered conservative, praises Obama for his thoughtful thumbsucking intellectual approach. He concludes the column with the following words in praise of the academic style:

"It is in Obama’s nature to lead a government by symposium. Embrace the complexity. Learn to live with the dispassion."

If Churchill had led with such a style we'd be brushing up on our German before our next trip to the UK.

Sofa King said...

not realizing that "underwrite" has way different connotations than "insure."

Or, for that matter, than "ensure."

LarsPorsena said...

"The Obama administration’s ranks are filled with people, fresh from the academy and the think tanks, who talk about the need to manage American decline.."

Manage American decline? Bullshit! They want to speed it up.

mccullough said...

Which academy did Obama's people go to? West Point? Annapolis?

Rahm went to Sarah Lawrence College, which is a women's college.

Axelrod went to the University of Chicago, which is worse than a women's college.

Obama is a pussy who surrounds himself with pussies.

They are not presiding over American decline, they are American decline.

jaltcoh said...

Such as?

Kagan explains this very well, right after the sentence I quoted. I recommend reading the article if you're interested.

Arturius said...

Kagan explains this very well, right after the sentence I quoted. I recommend reading the article if you're interested.

I'm sorry, I thought you had something additional to add rather than practicing cutting and pasting skills.

Cedarford said...

William - An empire, like a religion, fails when people no longer believe in it. America will be in trouble when people like the Palins lose their faith.

An Empire cannot survive on a faith-based belief that it is an Empire with excellent systems and vast treasure and vast manpower resources to fuel it's imperial reach.
It actually HAS to be those things, or it falls.
The Soviets and the Brit Empire had their own true believers to the bitter end.

America has to heed Gibbons and others who wrote of decline and fall of civilizations. That decay came from complacency, denial that anything was wrong, adament refusal to discard draining ovvereaches aboroad, or any effort had to be put into reversing decline.
The image I always have is what the literate elements of the barbarians wrote as they sacked Rome. Citizen after citizen yelled at them in consternation: "You can't do this, this is Rome!!"

Well, the American exceptionalism must be bounded in reality - and the reality is that we cannot "outproduce and outcompete" any nation and "do anything and go anywhere to advance freedom and democracy to the global masses". We can't afford to be the free 911 Service to the planet, nor keep all sealanes safe. We cannot afford to invade and occupy endless nations in endless treasury-draining wars. We actually "don't have" the One Perfect Sacred Parchment of a Constitution that other nations CRAVE to have...
We now have a nation of able, adept people handcuffed by lawyers, parasites who have the vote who contribute nothing but fecund spawning of additional parasites, and an ossified legal structure and paralyzed system of institutions where nothing gets done.

We should recognize our decline, embrace that fact, and work to fix the things we can and shed the responsibilities that harm us more than benefit us.

Perhaps we should look to a symbol of our decline as a nation, and to the symbol erected nearby that that showed we were once a can-do nation.
The symbol of our decline is the WTC Pit. 12 billion spent on Victimhood, endless orgies of mourning, 8 years of planning debates lawsuits....and all we have to show for it is about 810 9/11 Memorials scattered across the country and a Pit.
A few miles away is a skyscraper, the world's tallest, built from scratch to finish in the Great Depression. The Empire State Building happened because America was free then to go full steam and blow off any lawyers, their courts, various victims groups and the few gov't regulator agencies that stood in the way.

Cedarford said...

It took 14 months from breaking ground to the time tenants moved into the opened Empire State Building.

somefeller said...

Nothing quite like making an argument based on off the record comments one supposedly heard.

Bruce Hayden said...

"The Obama administration’s ranks are filled with people, fresh from the academy and the think tanks, who talk about the need to manage American decline.."

One of the major problems of filling the Administration with the academy is that for the most part, they are clueless as to how the world works.

A week or so ago, volokh.com had a blog showing a graph of what percentage of an Administration had real world business experience. Most Administrations, even including Clintons, ran somewhere around 70-80%. Obama's? Maybe 25%.

No wonder they are clueless about how the economy works, and why their "stimulus" plan has failed so miserably. Staffed with a bunch of people who have never met a payroll, or really worried about putting dinner on the table. No wonder they fell into a Chicago style Keynesian economics that was guaranteed to fail as an incentive, but succeed as payoff for contributors.

I think that this also extends to national defense (how many of them have had any military service?) and, in connection with this, international relations.

traditionalguy said...

We go from hiding the decline to managing the decline in two weeks time . The decline will not be reversed without a Leader who stands her ground and and points out doable targets of ascent to volunteer followers. The current Teleprompter is broke because it scrolls Lies and an imitation of a Leader's words...sounding just like Bush...while he arranges for scuttling and abandoning of the ship we all sail upon. His smoke screen is something about re-distributing the cabins on our ship until the point no one is willing to fight any longer to save our ship. Chris Mathews said it out loud...The West Point duty, honor, and country attitude that will fight to the death to save our ship really is Obama's #1 enemy.

ricpic said...

As an American the scales fall from your eyes when you go overseas. Then it is brought home to you that you are exceptional, and if you are at all healthy you thank God that you were not born into any one of those hidebound lands.

Freeman Hunt said...

Hey! What if we are moving towards a world in which no nation dominates any other? Or needs to?

Right. And in this fairy world, tell me, shall we all wear gossamer wings?

AJ Lynch said...

McCullough:

No one could say it better than you just did in your 12:49 comment!

Freeman Hunt said...

That is so obviously not the state of the actual world that I wouldn't believe you typed it if I wasn't looking at it typed out in black and white.

We may someday reach that world, who knows? But we are not even to a place where we can see it on the horizon.

AJ Lynch said...

Obama is arragant not pragmatic.

A pragmatist would not ignore the laws of human nature that govern the motivation and incenting of the average person.

Alex said...

C4 - you forgot to mention that America's greatness will be restored once we throw off the shackles of Likud neo-Zionism.

edutcher said...

Interesting points. I recall seeing some part of the old Eisenstien movie, The Battleship Potemkin, and, of course, as in the French Revolution, the guys in the gun turrets (streets) felt the people in charge weren't looking out for them anymore and went after them. The military has known who its political enemies are for 40 years, but the revelations of PC infecting the upper echelons following the Hasan shootings, and its inmplications for the average grunt (swab, jarhead, etc.) give one pause.

What if there's a revolution in this country, not to overthrow the Constitution - what the Lefties have been doing since Woody Wilson, but to overthrow the "ruling class" - as the Lefties see themselves - and to save the Constitution? If such a situation ever takes place (and I wouldn't laugh it off), and if the military takes sides, like Eisenstein's swabs, revelations like this might be later viewed by history as the moment when it began to germinate.

Granted, Chrissy Mathews has been a left wing hack all his life, but when even one of the most slavish Obamatrons refers to West Point as enemy territory, lines would appear to be in the process of being drawn in a lot of places.

(I know the DrillSgt will, rightly, remind us of the apolitical nature of the American military, but I'm talking an extraordinary circumstance - after all, we did have a Civil War in which American soldiers did the exact same thing.)

peter hoh said...

Here's some funny phrasing from Kagan: "But when Bush finally wriggled himself free from the disastrous strategies of Donald Rumsfeld. . . ."

Kagan makes it sound as if Bush reported to Rumsfeld.

The Drill SGT said...

(I know the DrillSgt will, rightly, remind us of the apolitical nature of the American military, but I'm talking an extraordinary circumstance - after all, we did have a Civil War in which American soldiers did the exact same thing.)

I don't think you could get actions by the military, and by that we are really talking about the ground forces (Army, National Guard and Marines), from a standing start, no matter how much abuse they get from the Chris Mathews, or Obermans, or Code Pinks of the world.

However, it could happen in a US that was the subject of a plague, an EMP event, or a mega-volcano. Something that would cause civil order to break down and require the military to step in and restore some level of order and normalcy. In that situation, you might get a situation like the one posed in "Last Centurions" or "Starship Troopers" where the military begins to feel that they are the last preservators of civilization.

rememeber that the underlying premise of "Starship Troopers" was not the Bug War, but that society was civil, the military was not in control, but only veterans could vote. And by veterans, I mean veterans of a widely used national service process, not just the military. Why? As explained, not because they were smarter, but because the veterans had proven that they were willing to sacrifice for the common good and put society in front of self.

LarsPorsena said...

To MM - I don't think you'd like the clan-based world. I am pretty sure my clan has more guns. You may have more food, but we're just gonna take it from you."

As the say in Somalia:
Me against my brother.
My brother and I against the family.
My family and I against the clan.
My clan and I against the tribe.
My tribe and I against the nation.
My nation and I against the world.

Apropos of nothing.

Andrea said...

"Hey! What if we are moving towards a world in which no nation dominates any other? Or needs to?"

That's sweet. Have the other nations on Earth received this memo?

jeff said...

"Well Scott, you nailed it ya'betcha. Echo chambers like the Heritage Foundation rah rahs that Bush/Cheney trotted off to at every turn? Not."

and this is what passes as logic in your world? Bush fucked up, so Obama should be allowed to fuck up too. How about someone actually doing the job? Well the republicans ran things into the ground so now the democrats should be allowed to run it into the ground farther? Really? THAT'S your defense for this nonsense?

John Lynch said...

We had some decline in the 70s. We voted for Reagan.

Decline is as decline does.

AprilApple said...

Obama says:
"Jobs plan will 'jump-start' hiring."

Sure.

The democrats do not understand economics. Until they promise and delivery real tax cuts (not tax "credits") (& real tax cuts for the rich, too...) the economy will continue to stagnate and toilet bowl.

How sad for us.

vbspurs said...

His think tanks are echo chambers.

Yes, Scott. And speaking of chambers, did you know the US Chamber of Congress weren't invited to yesterday's job summit, where they discussed how to make businesses hire more people?

Incredible. Or maybe not, from this clueless President.

Comrade X said...

doesn't the obama cabinet have lowest level of private sector experience in the history of the republic?

Titus said...

Personally, I think "think tanks" are crap.

What do they contribute to this country?

Policy Papers? Whoopty Fuck Da Doo.

They don't make any money but rather are supported by "financial backers".

I say to all those "think tank" wimps, get a real job!

bagoh20 said...

Sophistication is a salve for parasites on a builder's back; a salve that sooths the parasite, not the host.

Bruce Hayden said...

doesn't the obama cabinet have lowest level of private sector experience in the history of the republic?

I am not sure that you can make that case for the entire history of our country, but apparently, at least, for the last 50+ years. But it isn't just that they are so naive in that respect, but also that the difference is so marked, including as contrasted with even the Clinton and Carter Administrations.

Njal said...

Cedarford

"That decay came from complacency, denial that anything was wrong, adament refusal to discard draining ovvereaches aboroad, or any effort had to be put into reversing decline."

I'm particularly interested in "refusal to discard draining over-reaches abroad" - I think a pretty good case can be made that one of the things that directly contributed to Rome's military collapse was its failure to deal decisively with enemies across the Rhine (Germania), in the Balkans against the Goths and others, and in the East, against its timeless enemy, the Persians.

traditionalguy said...

The Marxist-in-Chief needs to invite today's Communist Chinese economists in to explain how the the free market works to create industry and jobs. Columbia and Harvard never permitted such politically incorrect truth to be mentionned when the Marxist Obamas learned the game.

Cedarford said...

holdfast said...
A lot of C4's points are apt, but why "embrace"? After recognizing, why not commit to reversing it, or at least arresting it?


Holdfast, one of the most critical steps in turning around a life, a business, or a nation is for them to embrace the fact that they ARE in decline.
The natural reaction is to DENY they are in decline - because - dammit - change is hard.

That is followed by "we can'ts" and bargaining that real decline is not happening but things could be better but "improving those things" entails a long list of untouchable things..the "I/we can'ts".

Such rationales are common. We've all likely heard them:

I can't just give up spending 3,000 at Christmas on family - even though we are 16,000 in debt and paying 670 a month in interest...
Way yous git me offa welfare is to give me enough, that I don't needs it soon..And git off my kid. He's a good kid, even if he did dropout and has an arrest record. Send him to college, free!

We can't just pare the workforce and modify the pensions..no matter what happens...we'll get through this somehow without making any painful changes.

We can't revise The Sacred Parchment! We can't stop helping 3rd Worlders who demand the US fix theie messes! Free Trade is a holy, inviolate part of American exceptionalism - even if we lose all our industry, it is a sacred principle!! If we stop wars of choice - we will be weak. We can't be weak!!

edutcher said...

Or economic collapse.

In any case, Sarge, that was my base premise. Sorry if I didn't spell it out more clearly.

Titus said...

I work in Biotech and we are booming.

Added 500 plus jobs this year and adding another 1000 next year in my company. Job security here folks.

We also make a product that actually saves peoples lives. That is pretty cool.

I also make over 200k and I am under 40. That's cool too.

Titus said...

I hate my job though.

I could go on in consulting and make more money but I would be doing the same shit.

It is boring as hell.

OMG Amanda Knox is guilty of murder-how sad.

The Drill SGT said...

Titus said...
I say to all those "think tank" wimps, get a real job!


I'm not a huge fan of Titus's lifestyle :)

But I suspect that Titus is a fan of private sector initiative and growth and thinks that those Government drones should get out of the way and let the private sector grow jobs. What is needed is for government to not muck with things, allow investors and business owners to feel safe investing and the economy will start growing. It is the fear of uncertainity that is killing the economy.

madawaskan said...

Dude.

You could at least try to-

save.

Gucci, Prada-merde I guess the "girls" in the gay world care about that crap.

Carry on.

madawaskan said...

Plus when has titus ever flushed a tank...

That's something he hangs on to-and erh, saves for the memories.

garage mahal said...

We can't revise The Sacred Parchment! We can't stop helping 3rd Worlders who demand the US fix theie messes! Free Trade is a holy, inviolate part of American exceptionalism - even if we lose all our industry, it is a sacred principle!! If we stop wars of choice - we will be weak. We can't be weak!!

This.

LOL.

Penny said...

"We need to manage American decline."

I know it feels just plain wrong to speak these words, but if we are honest with ourselves and care for our country, we will not continue to ignore that our middle class is disappearing.

One in five Americans is unemployed, underemployed or just plain out of work. One in nine families can't make the minimum payment on their credit cards. One in eight mortgages is in default or foreclosure. One in eight Americans is on food stamps. More than 120,000 families are filing for bankruptcy every month. The economic crisis has wiped more than $5 trillion from pensions and savings, has left family balance sheets upside down, and threatens to put ten million homeowners out on the street or living with family or friends.

Something BIG needs to change

I'm all for tax cuts and private business incentives, but does anyone really believe that will be enough to bring us back this time?

Deborah said...

"Hey! What if we are moving towards a world in which no nation dominates any other? Or needs to?"

That's sweet. Have the other nations on Earth received this memo?

It was delivered in 1951 by this guy.

bagoh20 said...

The world will never be at peace until it is a cold dead rock in space, and even then only until another world on an arrogant path collides with it, glorifying both their destructions.

Nothing about the world is in harmony. All of nature including us is constantly at war driven to change, but without direction. The survivors have only won the day, but it is better than losing it. If you will not fight for what you fight for, then you will be gone or assimilated into the winners' world as they want you.

We will never all get along, nor should we until all are in agreement that change is natural but not always better. The only things worth sacrificing all else are FREEDOM, WISDOM and LOVE. Those alone have any hope of standing until that drunken world meets ours.

The battles are with those not so focused. They hold other things higher which can never stand; things like: equality, fairness, diversity, control, and most dangerous of all, peace.

On guard!

Jeff said...

Of course it never occurs to Obama that Washington management is causing the decline.

Penny said...

"Washington management is causing the decline."

I doubt the unemployed think too much about that when they collect their unemployment and food stamps.

Mike K said...

If government were to get smaller, even slowly, you would see a renaissance in our economy that you would not believe. Unfortunately, the rent seekers are firmly entrenched in Washington.

Bruce Hayden said...

One in five Americans is unemployed, underemployed or just plain out of work. One in nine families can't make the minimum payment on their credit cards. One in eight mortgages is in default or foreclosure. One in eight Americans is on food stamps. More than 120,000 families are filing for bankruptcy every month. The economic crisis has wiped more than $5 trillion from pensions and savings, has left family balance sheets upside down, and threatens to put ten million homeowners out on the street or living with family or friends.

Something BIG needs to change

I'm all for tax cuts and private business incentives, but does anyone really believe that will be enough to bring us back this time
?

Yes. But only if tax rates are actually cut. None of this one time giving tax refunds to people who don't pay income taxes and calling them tax cuts. That really isn't much different than giving school teachers around the country raises and calling it "jobs saved".

The Obama Administration and the Democrats in Congress have done pretty much everything wrong in terms of the economy:
- paid off constituencies with "stimulus" money calling it Keynesian stimulus.
- supported big companies "too big to fail", that should fail.
- raised taxes when they should have been cutting tax rates.
- threaten to raise them significantly more, for: ObamaCare; Tax and Bribe (aka Cap and Trade); Death Taxes; War taxes. Worse, all these additional taxes are designed to hit the working rich, who are the ones who create well over half of new jobs coming out of a recession.
- increased uncertainty in corporate borrowing and the "rule of law" by favoring unions over secured creditors in automotive bankruptcies.
- Raise of minimum wages during recession
- ObamaCare also signicantly increases the cost of hiring marginal (i.e. new) workers and the uncertainty thereof.

Small business (where the Administration has the lowest experience in our lifetimes, in comparison with other Administrations) need a couple of things in order to invest and hire:
- reasonable tax environment so that they can actually keep some of their money, should their investment of time and money be successful,
- A stable tax environment
- A stable legal environment.

bagoh20 said...

Can You imagine an America which starting 1/1/2010, had the lowest business taxes in the world, construction starting on 200 state-of-the-art nuclear power plants, loser-pays tort reform, real and pervasive alternatives to public education, and part time legislatures in all states and Washington D.C. combined with term limits.

I know that violates deeply held principles for many including me but, addicts need to give up stuff to live productively again.

Imagine how that country would grow, employ, educate, innovate and inspire. We have far too many of our people spending their energies telling the rest of us how to live and too few of us living. We need a vast reduction in the political class's power. With that we can do amazing things. This is my faith or just history and common sense.

The decline talked about here seem to me to be the result of those civilizations getting to the point where the political baggage born of long successes finally became too much for the worker bees to carry. That's where we are today.

WV: "morter" That's who I'm talking about.

DADvocate said...

of the Bush team's making

hdhouse continues the echoing of the left, "It's Bush's fault. It's Bush's fault. It's Bush's fault..."

Of course, if the left had any substance, they'd figure out how to solve a few problems rather than make empty excuses for failure.

bagoh20 said...

Our country needs more than anything to get back to the natural filter of MERIT in all things.

People should be hired paid and promoted based on what they do and nothing else. When they stop doing it, they need to go and convince someone else that they are the best available for a new job. This goes for everyone: auto workers, teachers, politicians, doctors, lawyers and gardeners. Most importantly it goes for those in power, Congressmen, C.E.O.s, loan officers, cops and prostitutes.

This is the cancer of our society; failure and mediocrity are not being culled, but promoted.

DADvocate said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
g2loq said...

Soon we'll clean the environment but not in the way they envisioned.

We'll decline Democ.rat households, one at the time.
It's happened before. Read contemporary history for Spain and Chile ...

This:
Presidential Science Advisor Wants to Reverse American Development
http://tinyurl.com/mwfns5

I am the de-developer and I am coming for you ...

Hyphenated American said...

I don't think we should worry that much about Obama. I wrote this letter on my blog a few days before presidential elections, and so far, the predictions seem to be holding up pretty well:
http://hyphenatedamericans.blogspot.com/2008/11/i-can-live-with-obama_02.html

Hope and Change, gentlemen....

AJ Lynch said...

Bagaoh20 wrote:
"Can You imagine an America which starting 1/1/2010, had the lowest business taxes in the world, construction starting on 200 state-of-the-art nuclear power plants, loser-pays tort reform, real and pervasive alternatives to public education, and part time legislatures in all states and Washington D.C. combined with term limits. "

That is 100% common sense and brilliant at the same time. How come I can't find such smart talk from the talking heads or Congress or a President?

peter hoh said...

Bagaoh20 wrote:
"Can You imagine an America which starting 1/1/2010, had the lowest business taxes in the world, construction starting on 200 state-of-the-art nuclear power plants, loser-pays tort reform, real and pervasive alternatives to public education, and part time legislatures in all states and Washington D.C. combined with term limits."

And what part of this could not have been done when the GOP held Congress and the White House earlier in the decade?

AJ Lynch said...

Peter:

The vision was non-partisan, I think.

Skookum John said...

To MM - I don't think you'd like the clan-based world. I am pretty sure my clan has more guns. You may have more food, but we're just gonna take it from you.

Come now, there is considerable overlap between the "clan" with all the guns and the "clan" that puts food in the mouths of all the parasites. If push comes to shove, the parasites will have a mighty rough go of it.

RebeccaH said...

2010, people, in order to stop the decline. After that... 2012.

amba said...

After reading Kagan's piece, I wonder why you didn't put the "Obama is like Bush" tag on this post.