Americans are too gloomy about the future of our country. Inflation is appearing to be stubbornly persistent. The political parties have a difficult time cooperating. Covid just won’t go away. Our super-power status is challenged by the rise of China. Is there any good news? Well, yes there is. Consider:
- Democracy is thriving at home. The two political parties are almost evenly matched in strength at the national level. There is vigorous competition for the control of both the House and the Senate in the upcoming November 2022 elections. The two big issues are the rise of inflation and abortion restrictions in some states. Which issues will weigh most heavily with the voters? We will soon find out!
- Democracy is also thriving abroad. Ukraine wants to be free and independent and the Ukrainians are willing to fight and die to resist the Russian invasion. The whole world is watching as the Ukrainians repel the Russians with the help of military supplies from the U.S. and its allies. The Russian leader, Vladimir Putin, has become an international pariah. This strengthens the forces of democracy around the world.
- China is stumbling. China’s zero-covid strategy has led to massive lockdowns in cities including Shanghai. And China has additional huge economic problems resting on Mr. Xi’s pivot to the state by unleashing a crackdown on the property and tech sectors. If China is foolish enough to invade Taiwan, the U.S. and it’s allies will again come to the rescue of democracy.
- Global warming. The world temperature has risen 2 Fahrenheit since pre-industrial times and this means more evaporation into the atmosphere and more rainfall around the world. This is likely the reason for the massive current flooding in Pakistan. Global warming can be addressed effectively by focusing on de-carbonization rather than de-fossilization.
- Inflation and debt. The annual inflation rate in the U.S. is now hovering above 8%. The Federal Reserve is serious about raising interest rates as high as necessary to bring inflation back down to the desired level of 2%. This may cause a recession as well as dramatically increase interest payments on our massive and out-of-control national debt. There is only one good solution to this problem: fiscal restraint by our national leaders. This will cause some pain for Americans and require courage from our elected officials to accomplish.
- Conclusion. There are always serious and urgent issues in a free and open society like ours. Right now our biggest problem is the high rate of inflation and the economic pain which will be necessary to bring it back down to a comfortable level. As we begin to experience this pain more directly, I believe we will begin to take the steps necessary to solve this problem.
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