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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 2/12/14

How America Has Allowed Itself to Sink into a State of Stagnation and Regression

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Message Michael Payne


America appears to have entered the era of the New Normal, a condition in which the people of this country accept and become resigned to the economic stagnation that exists. So, let's take that term and show how it should be used to describe a condition in this country that is far more problematic than just the economy.


This New Normal might well be applied to all major institutions and sectors of this country, from the government to the business world to this society itself; all of which show definite signs of regression and stagnation, a condition that the people of America appear to have accepted and to which they have become resigned.


The New Normal is best illustrated when we so often hear this remarks by apologists or those who refuse to accept reality; "Oh, things aren't all that bad, sure we have problems but they could be a lot worse. So let's not blow this situation out of proportion and let's try to be satisfied and content with what we have. Remember, America is still the greatest nation in the world."


Stagnation means "to stop developing and progressing" and, while that is bad enough, regression, which means "to move backward and progressively decline", is far worse. What we are experiencing in America today is a condition in which both of these negative trends are in play.


During the 1980's, it seems that just when America was poised to rise to greater heights of achievement, powerful influences in the government and the corporate world took control of this nation's primary agenda and took this country in the wrong direction. America became engaged in a succession of unjustifiable wars and military conflicts; the defense industries grew and prospered while the rest of U.S. manufacturing began to drift downward.


When examining stagnation in this country, what better place to start than the nation's sluggish, lifeless economy? Sure the good news is that America still has the largest economy in the world but we should remember that quality is of greater importance than quantity; the bad news is the majority of the wealth generated from it flows upward to those who occupy the top of the income spectrum, while millions of Americans struggle to survive and millions have fallen into poverty.


So, with this in mind, let's see what some other much more progressive countries might be doing differently, in particular, China and Germany. Germany has a very vibrant economy fueled by a strong manufacturing sector. While America had a massive trade deficit of $471.5 billion in 2013, nearly a half trillion dollars, Germany had a trade surplus of $270 billion. China and Germany concentrate heavily on manufacturing and exports while the U.S. is shedding manufacturing jobs and heavily dependent on imports. These two countries are going in the exact opposite direction that America is taking.


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