In this blog, I write about the big issues facing our country and how well we are doing in addressing them. There are always serious problems to be dealt with, some more urgent than others. But I am an optimist in the sense that I think America will continue to prevail in the world, even as it makes occasional mistakes along the way.
- Our biggest strength is that we have always been a nation of immigrants, and still are today. Our ancestors came here for freedom and opportunity and created it in great abundance!
- Our founding fathers established a brilliant form of government. It is amazing that our Constitution is still in force, 234 years after its ratification in 1788. Major democratic stresses have been resolved over the years, mostly in a peaceful manner. Even the latest stress, Donald Trump’s election denialism from 2020, appears to be on track for peaceful resolution. Most of the Trump-endorsed election denial candidates in the 2022 Midterm elections were defeated. The expected “red wave” turned into a “red ripple” as a result. Republicans have been chastened in a transparent and democratic manner and will almost surely adapt for the better by 2024.
- America’s role in the world. We are still the strongest country by far, both economically and militarily. Russia’s disastrous invasion of Ukraine will greatly diminish its super-power status. China remains a strong challenger to U.S. world hegemony, but our superior political and economic system should continue to prevail for many years to come.
- America has just come through a hundred-year pandemic with great success. Our usual, approximately 3 million annual number of deaths, jumped to 3.3 million in 2020 and 3.4 million in 2021, an increase of 12% for two years, which is rapidly subsiding in 2022. Our successful Covid defense is a result of American industry developing effective vaccines with “warp speed” (in less than a year). Our decentralized approach to containment, with states deciding for themselves on such measures as lockdowns and mask mandates, has been a big factor in limiting economic damage.
- Global warming is a serious worldwide problem, of course. But developing countries are simply not going to slow down their economic growth by de-fossilizing. What is needed instead is a worldwide policy of decarbonizing (carbon capture and storage, nuclear power, etc.). As world leaders continue to recognize this and make a concerted effort to adopt a more effective strategy, global warming will be brought under control.
- Inflation and debt. The bright light here is that the inflation tripped off by our $5 trillion Covid stimulus spending is making our unsustainably rapid debt increase a much more visible problem. The Federal Reserve has to raise interest rates to combat inflation but this, in turn, is already making our annual budget deficits much worse by increasing interest payments on the debt. In short, the Fed can’t fix inflation by itself. It needs help from Congress in the form of spending restraint. This is becoming more and more apparent to the American public. Let’s hope that the new Republican-controlled House of Representatives is up to the task of getting started on major spending cutbacks.
Conclusion. The U.S. certainly has many problems, but it also has many strengths, which greatly improve our quality of life. Just as we cannot afford to lose focus on the challenges ahead, let us be thankful for all the blessings we enjoy from living in the most prosperous, strongest and freest country on earth.