According to legend, upon being asked about rumors of his demise, renowned American author Mark Twain said, “Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” Well, I believe the same is true about stories that democracy in the United States is dying. Yes, I know – I write a lot about the threats to our democratic republic. And while they are serious and quite real, they aren’t nearly the whole story. There’s some good news behind the dire headlines if you look for it and you might be surprised at what you discover.
Some might find it hard to believe, but the United States has over 24 percent of the global economy (GDP), about the same share as it did 40 years ago, according to the World Bank national accounts data. That’s simply amazing considering how other countries have progressed economically during that period, particularly China. Hey, of the world’s top 10 companies by market capitalization, seven are American. These corporations dominate the globe like at no other time in the past. Technology development in the U.S. still out paces that in the rest of the world, including industries of the future like biotechnology, nanotechnology and artificial intelligence.
China is America’s most significant global competitor but I believe President Xi’s aggressive rush toward a more restrictive autocracy and his assault on the Chinese technology sector will inure to America’s benefit. The supply chain problems that occurred during the pandemic were a wakeup call and many started in China. The critical products that this nation needs simply can’t be dependent on the whims of a foreign dictator. Medical supplies, computer chips and pharmaceuticals are among the many that should be produced here in the future, or at least under U.S. control.
Like China and some developed countries, including Japan and Germany, the U.S. population is aging but American demographics remain superior to our closest global competitors due mainly to immigration. Yes, immigration. And the U.S. dollar, which is the most dominant reserve currency around the world, is required for almost 90 percent of international transactions, according to thebalance.com. That’s hugely important!
The world economy is expected to expand 5.6 percent in 2021 and a further 4.9 percent in 2022 according to the Peterson Institute for International Economics. Yet, the U.S. economy is recovering faster than any of the other developed countries says PIIE, in spite of the Delta variant and supply chain issues. Why? America’s early start on vaccinating its population and the Democrats’ muscular 2021 pandemic fiscal response.
The net worth of America’s households grew by $5.8 trillion in the second quarter, according to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. And if the latest projections for the Delta surge are correct, we may be able to celebrate Christmas in a more normal fashion this year, according to a new projection on the trajectory of the pandemic from a consortium of researchers advising the Centers for Disease Control. They don’t see a winter surge on their radar.
Although President Biden is currently mired in battles over his Build Back Better initiative, it’s supported by a significant majority of Americans, according to a recent Quinnipiac University poll, which is in line with several other polls. The roughly $1 trillion bipartisan roads and bridges program is supported 62 to 34 percent and the $3.5 trillion spending bill on social programs such as child care, education, family tax breaks, expanding Medicare for seniors, etc. is favored by 57 to 40 percent. Reports indicate that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other industry lobbying groups are pressing for passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill.
Once the American public gets a better picture of Biden’s massive programs, I believe they will find that — well, they’re not all that massive. Nor will they believe the fear mongering about runaway inflation and other horrific results the Republicans are hyping, and here’s why. The $3.5 trillion will be expended during the next ten years. That’s less than 6 percent of total government spending over that period and less than half the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to recent estimates.
What’s not to like about all of this news? Actually, nothing, except it comes at a time when politics across the nation, but particularly in Washington, are acrimonious, uncivil and totally dysfunctional. Why has this happened? I believe it’s primarily because the Republican Party has been deteriorating as a rational governing body since the 1980s.
Now that the battle over funding the government and raising the debt limit has been kicked down the road to December, the Democrats can focus on passing several critical bills on voting rights, immigration reform and infrastructure. They probably won’t succeed with everything but I believe they will find a way to do some great things for this nation’s future before the 2022 elections.
And keep in mind, there is no certainty that Donald Trump will be a candidate in 2024 or that he can win the GOP nomination and even less that he will become the 47th president. A lot can happen in three years, including Trump being indicted and tried for the many state and federal crimes he has committed.
I know, right now it’s hard to see through the fog created by the Republicans’ election fraud lies and total rejection of democratic principles – but beyond the right-wing gloom, America’s future looks reasonably bright.