Investment in Decline

As the young year progresses, the dominoes of American decline continue to fall. From a White House soiree with Red China to President Obama's "investment"-plugging State of the Union to the Administration's response to Egypt's uprising, a rudderless America is on full display. If 2010 was the year of national legislative suicide (Health care, START, Wall Street regulation, Don't Ask Don't Tell, etc.), perhaps 2011 is the year when the tangible consequences of American mediocrity become more apparent.

To watch an empire decline is like witnessing a car accident at 1/1000th speed, we can see it happen, we can even explain why, but to stop it seems impossible. It will take volumes of thick-spined books to fully explain America's road from superpower to whatever we're turning into, but we can encapsulate America's descent as a rejection of the attributes that made us great in the first place. America grew and thrived on a foundation of personal freedom and willingness to defend that freedom against both foreign and domestic threats. As we depart from those principles -- at recently accelerated rates -- America fades into background.

Unfortunately, one of the greatest domestic threats to personal liberty resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  President Obama's State of the Union was a 6,800-word sales pitch for one initiative after another (wind power, electric cars, high-speed rail etc.).  Obama's investments are basically pricier-than-normal earmarks -- promoting the "bridge to nowhere" from a political embarrassment to a national economic policy.  Two years and several trillion dollars later, it's more obvious that ever that pinning a nation's economic hopes on bridges to nowhere eventually leads a national economy nowhere.

Undeterred by the persistently high unemployment rate and slow economic growth, Obama pledges to invest tall stacks of money on "infrastructure." This includes such cutting-edge investments as additional paved trails in local parks -- presumably to ignite the sure-to-boom pedestrian path market. This from the man who also plans to prescribe pain pills instead of covering expensive medical procedures. Basically, in 21st century America we will meander through the world's most intricate system of hike-and-bike paths in a drug-induced daze until we accidentally fall into the abyss. Except it won't be the abyss, just a large hole left from another public works project that was left unfinished because the nation's finances fell into the actual abyss. This is what Obama means by "winning the future."

The future, as it turns out, is expensive. As long as Obama runs the world largest Ponzi scheme, he needs cash. With his American Taxpress card maxed-out, lavish state dinners for rapidly militarizing, human rights denying regimes become necessary. Our dependency on China (or any other country) is just the next step in the process of de-individualizing America. The government that did not trust its citizens to solve their own problems in energy, education or economics, can no longer pay for its own solutions. Once individual independence declines, collective independence is close behind.

China appears happy to pay the bills, and not just for the good food at state dinners. As author Mark Steyn points out: "If Beijing continues to buy American debt at the rate it has in recent years, then within a half-decade or so U.S. interest payments on that debt will be covering the entire cost of the Chinese military." China finances American decline while America's finance payments pay for China's rise. Obama's reception of the President Hu Jintao felt less like the standard diplomatic indulgence and more like a victory party, thrown by the loser on behalf of the winner.

It's important to note, however, that while China may become the winner, it is not the conqueror. We've saved that title for ourselves. There is little any country could do to overtake the United States if we remain true to our values. Like past world powers, America will only fall after hollowing itself out.

In other words, America did not become great by out-planning other nations, but by carefully avoiding central control. If we embrace government direction of the economy, we willingly surrender our greatest asset and confront our competitors on their own terms.

The unfortunate truth is that willing surrender is the new normal these days. Obama surrendered one of his strongest Mid-East allies within days of the Egyptian uprising. But that's the point. Why worry about foreign threats to America's way of life when the centerpiece of your presidency is the domestic dismantling of America's way of life? Push President Mubarak to abruptly step aside? Sure. Invite the Muslim Brotherhood to help form a new government? Why not? We've got high-speed rail to build!

It's fitting that as we just celebrated the 100-year anniversary of Ronald Reagan's birth, he would help provide the key to a successful American future. The former president was often criticized as for his veneration of the Founders and previous American generations (not unlike today's tea party). When his detractors accused him of over-active nostalgia, Reagan responded, "I do not want to go back to the past; I want to go back to the past way of facing the future." If Americans can halt decline -- if halting decline is even possible -- it will be because we remember our roots and face the future as we faced the past.
As the young year progresses, the dominoes of American decline continue to fall. From a White House soiree with Red China to President Obama's "investment"-plugging State of the Union to the Administration's response to Egypt's uprising, a rudderless America is on full display. If 2010 was the year of national legislative suicide (Health care, START, Wall Street regulation, Don't Ask Don't Tell, etc.), perhaps 2011 is the year when the tangible consequences of American mediocrity become more apparent.

To watch an empire decline is like witnessing a car accident at 1/1000th speed, we can see it happen, we can even explain why, but to stop it seems impossible. It will take volumes of thick-spined books to fully explain America's road from superpower to whatever we're turning into, but we can encapsulate America's descent as a rejection of the attributes that made us great in the first place. America grew and thrived on a foundation of personal freedom and willingness to defend that freedom against both foreign and domestic threats. As we depart from those principles -- at recently accelerated rates -- America fades into background.

Unfortunately, one of the greatest domestic threats to personal liberty resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  President Obama's State of the Union was a 6,800-word sales pitch for one initiative after another (wind power, electric cars, high-speed rail etc.).  Obama's investments are basically pricier-than-normal earmarks -- promoting the "bridge to nowhere" from a political embarrassment to a national economic policy.  Two years and several trillion dollars later, it's more obvious that ever that pinning a nation's economic hopes on bridges to nowhere eventually leads a national economy nowhere.

Undeterred by the persistently high unemployment rate and slow economic growth, Obama pledges to invest tall stacks of money on "infrastructure." This includes such cutting-edge investments as additional paved trails in local parks -- presumably to ignite the sure-to-boom pedestrian path market. This from the man who also plans to prescribe pain pills instead of covering expensive medical procedures. Basically, in 21st century America we will meander through the world's most intricate system of hike-and-bike paths in a drug-induced daze until we accidentally fall into the abyss. Except it won't be the abyss, just a large hole left from another public works project that was left unfinished because the nation's finances fell into the actual abyss. This is what Obama means by "winning the future."

The future, as it turns out, is expensive. As long as Obama runs the world largest Ponzi scheme, he needs cash. With his American Taxpress card maxed-out, lavish state dinners for rapidly militarizing, human rights denying regimes become necessary. Our dependency on China (or any other country) is just the next step in the process of de-individualizing America. The government that did not trust its citizens to solve their own problems in energy, education or economics, can no longer pay for its own solutions. Once individual independence declines, collective independence is close behind.

China appears happy to pay the bills, and not just for the good food at state dinners. As author Mark Steyn points out: "If Beijing continues to buy American debt at the rate it has in recent years, then within a half-decade or so U.S. interest payments on that debt will be covering the entire cost of the Chinese military." China finances American decline while America's finance payments pay for China's rise. Obama's reception of the President Hu Jintao felt less like the standard diplomatic indulgence and more like a victory party, thrown by the loser on behalf of the winner.

It's important to note, however, that while China may become the winner, it is not the conqueror. We've saved that title for ourselves. There is little any country could do to overtake the United States if we remain true to our values. Like past world powers, America will only fall after hollowing itself out.

In other words, America did not become great by out-planning other nations, but by carefully avoiding central control. If we embrace government direction of the economy, we willingly surrender our greatest asset and confront our competitors on their own terms.

The unfortunate truth is that willing surrender is the new normal these days. Obama surrendered one of his strongest Mid-East allies within days of the Egyptian uprising. But that's the point. Why worry about foreign threats to America's way of life when the centerpiece of your presidency is the domestic dismantling of America's way of life? Push President Mubarak to abruptly step aside? Sure. Invite the Muslim Brotherhood to help form a new government? Why not? We've got high-speed rail to build!

It's fitting that as we just celebrated the 100-year anniversary of Ronald Reagan's birth, he would help provide the key to a successful American future. The former president was often criticized as for his veneration of the Founders and previous American generations (not unlike today's tea party). When his detractors accused him of over-active nostalgia, Reagan responded, "I do not want to go back to the past; I want to go back to the past way of facing the future." If Americans can halt decline -- if halting decline is even possible -- it will be because we remember our roots and face the future as we faced the past.