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American Proficiency: Waging War, Quite Adept; Manufacturing Products, Very Inept

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Doom and gloom has arrived in America and just won't go away. Stuck in Iraq, unable to pacify the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan, an economy that is collapsing, a national catastrophe in the BP Gulf fiasco and a government that reports directly to corporate America. Where did we go wrong, what did we do to deserve this and how in the world are we going to get out of this mess?

America, in years past, was the classic example of successful capitalism. This nation once was about the business of taking raw materials, adding labor, technology and manufacturing techniques to create products for domestic consumption and exports; products that stimulated growth in our economy, created jobs, improved lifestyles, and established America as the world's leading manufacturer.

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Those were really great times, but, that was then, this is now and it's getting real ugly. Conditions have changed quite radically in recent times and we have seen a steady decline in America's former manufacturing dominance. That decline has largely been caused by greedy corporations that cleverly manipulated our form of capitalism to generate huge profits for themselves at the expense of their fellow Americans. They have poisoned this economic system to the point that it is becoming dysfunctional.

While there are many other factors involved with the decline of our economy, and the obvious failures of capitalism, in this discussion we will concentrate on only two; America's wars and America's manufacturing capabilities. These two factors, at this point in time, are taking opposite directions with wars escalating, and manufacturing de-escalating. That is an untenable situation.

Whether we wish to admit it or not, like it or not, in the years since the end of World War II, the many wars and military conflicts that the U.S. waged contributed greatly to the growth and stability of our economy. But who was complaining about wars (with the exception of Vietnam) when Americans had good paying jobs and saw their lifestyles soar? So, during those days, war and manufacturing were entirely compatible and complementary. But, as we are now finding out, that was an abnormal, unhealthy relationship that would, at some point, have to end.

This mutual co-existence began to erode as the wars continued, while the manufacturing industry began to lose momentum. In the 1980's, under the "acting" president, Ronald Reagan, American corporations, hungry for more and more profits, tossed the American worker overboard and shipped millions of jobs to overseas nations, primarily China. And that's when the wheels started to come off. Our government continued to place great emphasis on expanding our military outreach in the world. However, even when it became very apparent that our manufacturing sector was rapidly eroding, the U.S. government completely failed to take action by instituting a massive jobs creation program.

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What kind of a program could have, should have, been initiated? There was a great opportunity to use U.S. creativity and innovative ideas designed to stop the bleeding and save America's manufacturing sector. Our government could have instituted a system of tax incentives and tax penalties that would have brought huge pressure on corporations to forgo outsourcing. But that opportunity passed as the leadership in Washington allowed corporations to run wild, to amass greater and greater profits as they broke the back of the American workforce. No effective program was ever devised and, to this day, our government is not addressing this critical issue; a classic example of inept, incompetent, government that is controlled by the corporate world.

Now we find ourselves in a very deep financial hole. Our government and our charismatic war president continue to completely ignore the many warning signs that tell us that the direction we are taking is unsustainable; signs that clearly indicate that we must change course or risk an economic collapse. The reality of this situation is that we cannot continue to conduct extremely expensive foreign wars when our manufacturing foundation lies in shambles. These wars are draining the wealth of America while manufacturing is no longer a major contributing factor in replenishing it.

If we had rational thinking leaders in D.C. they would bring an end to America's endless wars, take the multi-billions of dollars and restore our manufacturing foundation by creating millions of jobs in new industries, concentrating on alternate energy development. Neither ending the wars nor creating new industrial capacity would be easy but it could be done if we in America replaced our war mentality with a creative mentality. Unfortunately, these leaders will do no such thing and this dire situation is not going to end well; but, then again as is true in addictions, sometimes people or nations have to hit the bottom before they can begin the road to recovery.

So, here is what I believe will happen. Nothing is going to change the current agenda and the policies of this government, this administration, and this president. Even with the knowledge that these wars are doing massive destruction to our economy and to states currently on the verge of bankruptcy, look for our leadership to "stay the course." This leadership is so obsessed with war that it may not comprehend the fact that we have reached a point of no return. But, they will soon have to realize that waging expensive wars without a strong manufacturing base will, before very long, take this nation into a state of insolvency. When we get to that point, funding for the wars will automatically be terminated and the empire will begin to wind down.

So, don't look for the economy to come roaring back because it will not, it cannot; not without the creation of millions of new jobs. Don't look for a "victory" in Afghanistan since the U.S. is destined to become the latest empire to fail to pacify and control that nation; and then be forced to leave. It is very evident that, because of our nation's addiction to war and its stubborn refusal to renounce it, we are going to have to hit the bottom before there is any hope of restoring stability to America.

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How all this is going to evolve is very complex and there is going to be a great deal of pain involved for the people of America. However, it is clear that what is happening in America today simply cannot be sustained and, like it or not, we are going to undergo drastic changes to every element of our society.

Michael Payne


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Michael Payne is an independent, progressive activist. His writings deal with social, economic, political and foreign policy issues. He is a featured writer on Opednews and Nation of Change and his articles have appeared on many other websites (more...)

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