When one lives in a madhouse, it isn’t prudent to speak with too much sense. When one lives in a banking house, it isn’t practical to make any sense at all. In that vein I proffer the Must-Bust-Boom Theory of extricating America from its moribund economy.
As of 2011 only 8% of the American economy is engaged in non-agricultural manufacturing. This is from approximately 13.5% in 2000, 16.5% in 1990, 21% in 1980, and 25% in 1970. In the past decade alone, the United States lost over 42,000 factories and more than 5.5 million manufacturing jobs. (The vast majority had health coverage, retirement pensions, and other benefits. The few that returned did so minus these accoutrements and at lower pay rates.) We don’t make anything anymore.
This can be solved, as Patrick Buchanan and others have put forth, by an increased tariff. But that will never happen. There are too many powerful aligned interests which benefit too greatly from the current system. These parameters cannot now be altered, and there will be no rise in the tariff. Perhaps there will not long be a tariff at all.
But if the basic assumptions upon which the global system currently operates will not be modernized to meet the new reality, they can be manipulated. The very mavens who forbid restructuring to ensure a steady supply of cheaply produced items must be aware that there is less cash to purchase such trinkets.
This is a real problem. Although we do not care to make things any longer, we still relish buying them.
The American economy is now largely predicated on its people purchasing items (generally of little to no intrinsic value) and then purchasing more on credit. Nearly 70% of US economic activity is predicated solely on consumer spending.
There can be no rehabilitation until there is more money to put toward obtaining more objects. Without a job one cannot acquire flat-screen televisions, front-loading washing machines, and Italian luxury-discount goods. The “housing crisis” will not abate until there is money for the down payments. We might have a “jobless recovery,” but we simply cannot have a “cashless recovery.” All of it hinges on having something to trade, but Americans no longer make anything worth trading.
We need cash to climb out of the quagmire and begin buying again. How do we obtain it?
The best solution is to make it Europe’s problem. Aye, we must ruin the euro. With its crippling, capital will frantically flee even France and Germany’s relatively healthy economies.
And where is this liquid wealth to find its new happy port? The Orient? While despotic regimes are good places to steal profits, they are seldom wise choices for safeguarding them. To England? Possibly, but unlikely. In the wake of riots in their own capital city which the police seemed unable or unwilling to quell and taxation rates that pilfer ancestral seats from their rightful owners, Great Britain looks not so swell. The Swiss Alps? A haven, to be sure. Yet a small nation surrounded by a large continent in near-apocalyptic economic turmoil would not seem the place to settle down.
Nay, the answer is America! With billions upon billions unto untold trillions unleashed from the Old World with nowhere to retire but the New World, its shores would be a sight to behold.
With such a wave of new money coming in, all the old woes would be washed away. Tidal currents of capital would come through the stock market into America’s supposedly safe confines. People (that is to say, American people) would suddenly feel richer. Soon they (Americans, still) would be purchasing again as never before as the fresh cash rained down. Housing crisis? Automotive bankruptcy? Near quarter-population unemployment? All gone and forgotten…for a while at least.
With enough unrest in old lands it is even possible that America could pick up some of the manufacturing slack from Europe. More likely, they could pick up some of the manufacturing companies, strip them bare, and ship their components to less “rights-restrictive” nations to set up shops to send things back here to home again.
Even if we don’t begin producing again, we should at least have a whole raft of European refugees to which we might employ our natives to sell and serve things. Thus, a whole cycle of renewal is born.
Everybody (who is American) wins!
Only Old Europe and others holding their now-worthless colored euro-bits would be the losers (though possibly also several of those “Cash for Gold” kiosks one sees so often nowadays).
All that need be done is a little covert work by the world’s best disinformation peddlers (a particularly talented industry which the Americans would never dream of offshoring). A few well-placed rumors, a finely tuned computer mass-selling glitch, or an old-fashioned orchestrated panic would take matters to a profitable conclusion.
There are always unforeseen repercussions. European ethnic strife, wide-scale violence, and the emergence of certain authoritarian regimes would all be likely. Yet what is this compared to purchasing a new automobile that can parallel-park itself?
The best way to save the American economy? Destroy the world economy. An opiate addict’s fantasy, perhaps. Yet do not laugh. It has been done before…twice.
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