Sunday, June 26, 2005

nytimes: kristof on glide path to ruin

jun 26th

yet another alarum being raised by nicholas kristof about america's profligacy. these are getting to be pretty frequent. the answer, alas, is to lower the standard of living in america, and go to fewer wars, or if the latter is not possible, to be more efficient in getting others to pay for your wars.

this is why it's a bad idea to tie india's or one's own personal future to america's. diversification is a good idea. i am bearish on china (as may be rather obvious), bearish on europe (the defeat of the referenda dooms europe to fractiousness -- i recommend an excellent kqed forum discussion as to why), bearish on russia. i am bullish on southeast asia (for cultural reasons -- they are likely to do well), india, and much of the asia-pacific (it is going to be the asian century after all).


san said...

China appears to be a bear on the prowl. US analysts are frightened at the sudden surge in Chinese military buildup, which indicates that it intends to take action on Taiwan in the near future. Chinese socialism is now being overtaken by Chinese nationalism.

Nationalist Socialism -- not unlike Germany of the 1930s. And if the recent rampaging Chinese mobs are any indication, this type of politics is going to lead to China trying to "undo humiliations of the past".

We not only have the McMahon Line to worry about, but also the growing Chinese outreach to Pakistan's Gwadar, Myanmar, and Bangladesh.

san said...

One of the relevant things that Kristof fails to consider in his commentary, is the Republican strategy of "starve the beast".

The Republicans recognize that the welfare state is a massive fiscal drain on the tax base. So they have adopted a strategy they call "starve the beast". Just as Rajeev pointed out that the Leftist Goats will always overgraze until there is no grass left, likewise US conservatives have long recognized this and have formulated their counter-strategy of pulling out the grass from the ground before the goats can sink their teeth into it. This imposed scarcity causes the goats to either starve or change their eating habits.

By simultaneously lightening the tax rates and spending heavily on national security, Bush & Co are then creating a fiscal situation that will force even a Democratic Party successor to make tough choices on cutting back the welfare state.

There is no way for Democrats to implement a retro-active tax hike. Although considering how ethically creative Leftists are, I wouldn't put it past them to try. Perhaps the Democrats will retaliate by launching as many investigations into Bush and his associates as possible, once they return to power. However none of that is likely to retrieve the lost tax money that the hungry welfare state requires to sustain itself. Perhaps the vengeful Democrats could then stoop lower by auctioning off some vital US interest -- like selling the Panama Canal to China, or something.

Usually when Leftists take revenge, they like to do it by harming national security in some way, as their symbolic revenge against their right-wing opponents who hold such things dear. I guess that's why Left-dominated countries usually have high emigration rates. So will the US be hemorrhaging skilled emigrants to India and Asia, in the post-Bush years?

san said...

Paul Krugman has written in NYT on China's Great Game in acquiring energy assets among others for its control.

Anonymous said...

Vis-a-vis fellow-blogger San's comments, I think it is ridiculous to compare the American 'left', presumably the democrats, to other leftists such as the communists in China or socialists in Latin America. Don't forget, John F Kennedy, a hawkish President (if ever there was one)when it came to fighting the communists or national security, was a democrat. Lefist/rightist etc. are all relative terms.

- Nanda Kishore