Thursday, July 25, 2013

Detroit: The Canary in the Coal Mine

"Hey, at least we're not Detroit!"

That is probably what every city and town in America is saying to themselves now that Detroit has declared bankruptcy after decades of decline.   Yes, Detroit's decline is by far the worst of any city in the nation without a doubt, and their historic bankruptcy is unprecedented.  However, the rest of the country probably wouldn't be so smug if they knew the facts about the crises facing the nation as a whole.   They would realize that Detroit is simply the canary in the coal mine, and now that canary is essentially dead.  And both parties (two sides of the same ugly coin) are to blame for such crises facing our declining American Empire.

Much like Detroit, our nation's once-great manufacturing base has been hollowed out over the past few decades as a result of "free trade" and other failed policies.  As a result, we are essentially becoming a plunder economy that is increasingly based on looting existing resources rather than producing anything new, while the rest of the economy is based primarily on manipulating finance.  Ever notice that the states with the lowest unemployment rates tend to be the oil-rich ones?  Not only is such an economy inherently unsustainable in the long run for obvious reasons, it also eviscerates the middle class and widens the gap between the haves and have-nots, which makes things even less sustainable.  Just ask the ancient Romans how well that worked out for them.

The other big long-run problem is the pensions crisis, which is true for all levels of government as well as much of the private sector as well.   The wolf is now at the door for Detroit, and will soon be arriving elsewhere as well.  Both unions and management are to blame for this crisis:  the former demanded too much and bit off far more than they could chew, while the latter deliberately underfunded the pension system, essentially stealing the money from the workers (albeit legally).  Simple demographics also compound the crisis; as the population ages, there will be more retirees with fewer current workers to support them, and the whole Ponzi scheme eventually unravels.  Though not as acute and much easier to solve, a similar problem exists for Social Security as well.   The trust fund is continually being raided while the population ages and the wealthiest Americans refuse to pay their fair share of contributions.  And neither party has the intestinal fortitude to solve it at this time, while the basic social contract that once held this country together is essentially broken.

Finally, as a result of three decades of reckless and wasteful spending, warmongering, tax cuts for the wealthy, and the aforementioned problems, the nation is now mired in a debt crisis, with our national debt topping $16 trillion.  While it is true that the deficit is down, we are still adding to the debt every minute of every day with no end in sight.   America is already technically bankrupt, and it is highly unlikely anyone will bail us out but ourselves.  Fortunately, there is still time to prevent the entire nation from turning into Detroit, but we need to act fast.  But as long as we keep on electing Republicans and Democrats, the chances for salvation grow increasingly slim each year.      

The TSAP is well aware of what needs to be done to save this country from the fate of the Romans (or worse).  Our party platform contains several crucial planks that must be implemented sometime within the next few years in order for there to be any hope left at all.  Anything else is just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.