For many many years, the U.S.A. has prided itself on being unique. Uniquely rich, uniquely powerful, uniquely smart, uniquely well-governed, and with the unique Almighty Dollar as our currency. These dreams are fading but the great shattering of these delusions hasn’t yet come. By now, however, I’m afraid I expect to see that shattering sooner rather than later.
The U.S.A. has several severe problems other developed countries do not: Racial and class divisions, now exacerbated by severe income inequality which is worsening rapidly; over-reliance on fossil fuels; crumbling infrastructure; expensive mis-allocated health care without universal coverage; expensive military; dysfunctional political system; poor news media choices; widespread disrespect for science and government. Several of these problems arise from the great power we’ve given to the super-rich. (I was amazed by the title of a recent SDMB thread “What would a U.S.A. plutocracy look like?” I never bothered to click, because the answer was obvious: You’re already looking at it.)
It may be the nature of such problems that crisis manifests itself most clearly in finance. Yet the shattering of Wall Street’s delusions in 2008 was ignored: Wall St. was in effect asked to keep doing more of the same. :smack:
The dollar already has lost much value, and will lose much more. (The Euro has doubled against the dollar over the past decade or so, despite Europe’s own problems.) U.S. Treasury debt, once proudly called the safest investment in the world, has been put on notice of downgrade.
Yes, the U.S. deficit is a big deal. A very big deal.
The problems are not insolvable. But will “hard choices” be made?
Republican proposals call for a big reduction in income taxes on all but the poorest Americans, elimination of capital gains and estate taxes, and reduction of corporate taxes. If the problem were budget surplus then these ideas might have merit.
Instead we’re reaching a point where rationalists will stop pulling their hair out and pleading for sanity, and just treat the U.S.A. as farcical entertainment.
Sorry if this is little help.