The United States in 2020

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Jabbadabbado, Oct 12, 2010.

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  1. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
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    This isn't meant to be a speculative thread or one of my peak oil threads, but rather a thread for discussing the long term future of global politics and American foreign policy. Where should we be heading, what kind of world do we need to prepare for.

    To start off, some of the things we've discussed as possibilities.

    Proposed: The U.S. should make a significant investment toward energy independence and becoming a leader in alternative energy technology and infrastructure development.

    Every president in the last 20 years has talked about reducing our dependence on foreign oil, but we have made essentially no progress on this issue in a generation, instead becoming increasingly reliant on oil imports as our domestic production wanes. At the same time, our rusting electrical grid is supported by a backbone of dirty coal and aging nuclear power plants.
    The president says the right words, but we haven't devoted the right level of investment to this challenge. China is outspending us on alternative energy by a significant margin. They are poised to become the world energy leaders. More than any other issue, this will determine the future success of the United States and its position in the global economy.

    The investment needs to occur at the level of the recent financial bailout. A $2 trillion investment over the next five years at the very least, with efforts to exclude dead ends like corn based ethanol and carbon sequestration.

    2. The U.S. should dramatically scale back its foreign military commitments. Military isolationism is another key to our future economic success.

    Proposed: to create a successful economic future for the Unites States, we must end our military involvement in the middle east, South Korea, Western Europe, reduce the size of our military and drastically downsize our ability to project air power globally. Energy independence is our exit strategy from the Middle East. Capitulation to the hegemonic influence of China is our exit strategy from Asia. We maintain our commitment to support of UN initiatives and support the UN at a level proportional to our share of global GDP. We seek to create a mutually supportive nuclear umbrella for OECD countries.

    We implement a ten year plan to help western Europe toward full military independence from NATO and assist South Korea toward military independence.
  2. kingthlayer Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 7, 2003
    star 4
    We don't know what kind of power China is going to be, but its latest spat with Japan and blind support for North Korea aren't encouraging. Meanwhile, a shift of power from Kim Jong Il to Kim Jong Un is underway, which is going to be potentially destabilizing. I don't see why we should be pulling out of East Asia any time soon. Ultimately, as long as:

    1. North Korea exists
    2. Japan keeps Article 9 in its constitution
    3. South Korean-Japanese relations remain a victim of history
    4. No regional talk shop exists
    5. China continues to throw its weight around while all of the above remain constant

    then we will continue to hold a stake in East Asian security.

    So, how do we solve those problems?

    I'm more open to the idea of getting out of Europe, but it's disorganized response to Russia's invasion of Georgia in 2008 makes me wonder if they really can stand together in the face of adversity on their own. I suppose Russia by 2020 is going to be too weak (shrinking demographics and economy) to play any great games.
  3. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    So, how do we solve those problems? - Declare them not our problems and run away from them except on a purely political level. We reduce our commitment to committing to talking about them.

    What kind of country does the United States want to be ten years from now.

    We're already on a trajectory that will take us to a fairly predictable place by 2020. Here's the trajectory:

    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/10/10/101638/commentary-incarcerations-impact.html

    The middle class is declining.
    The gap between rich and poor is expanding.
    The effect of the current recession will likely linger for years.
    The abandonment of affirmative action has led to increasing school segregation and declining economic opportunity for minorities, who in any case are mostly incarcerated. Another direct consequence of three decades of conservative dominance over American domestic politics.

    "The United States has the highest rate of incarceration in the world, with 2.3 million Americans behind bars, a 300 percent increase since 1980, the report states. This country has more inmates than the top 35 European countries combined."

    "One in 87 working-aged white men is in prison or jail, compared with 1 in 36 Hispanic men and 1 in 12 African-American men. More young (20-34) African-American men without a high school diploma or GED are currently behind bars (37 percent) than employed (26 percent)."

    Commentary: Incarceration's impact on society is shameful

    Prison has become the American social net of choice.

    What we're headed for is another decade of flat out declines in quality of life for minorities living in the U.S. a retreat back to a permanent status for blacks as an underclass. Our first black president, who is so afraid of being identified as a black president that he cannot openly address these issues in any meaningful policy way, will likely be our last.

    The demographic trends may favor Hispanics in the long term, but African Americans are utterly screwed. They will be relegated to the position of Bhangi caste.
  4. LtNOWIS Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2005
    star 4
    Well if you're going to talk about the plight of African Americans, it's worth noting that in a month's time there will be zero black US Senators instead of one, since Roland Burris will be leaving.
  5. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    Forget slavery and Jim Crow. We need affirmative action in this country to compensate African Americans for the social and pecuniary injuries of the last twenty years.
  6. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 14, 2001
    star 6
    OTOH, you can go Canada's route and provide almost no protection of ordinary citizens from criminals...:p

    That said, legalize drugs.
  7. darthdrago Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 31, 2003
    star 4
    Already being done. It's being beta tested in Berkeley and San Francisco.
  8. JediSmuggler Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 5, 1999
    star 5
    What injuries, exactly?
  9. Raven Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 5, 1998
    star 6
    In 2009, the United States had a murder rate of 5.0 per 100,000.
    In 2008 (most recent year that there's data), Canada had a murder rate of 1.83 per 100,000.
    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate)


  10. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    The Reagan revolution has produced a quarter century of increasing segregation, increasing inequality, decreasing educational and employment opportunities, further exclusion from the middle class even as the middle class is eroding, and imprisonment as the final solution for keeping black people safely away from real citizens.

    The gains of the civil rights movement are slowly but surely and deliberately being erased. An enduring employment recession is only going to accelerate this process, and another decade of what we've seen in the last two will devastate black communities and amplify African American's sense of disenfranchisement. It's going to take another round of civil disobedience and courage from political leaders to point the country back in the right direction.

    Meanwhile the Tea Party movement is I think proof positive that the sort of political courage needed, as well as courage from ordinary citizens, is virtually nowhere to be found. The good news if there is any is that Tea Party style racism represents the last gasp of a cornered, backed-up-against-the-wall demographic. The goal of the movement I think is to take out as many blacks as possible with it as it fades away into demographic oblivion.
  11. JediSmuggler Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 5, 1999
    star 5
    Seeing as you have decided to engage in the typical race-baiting that liberals typically engage in, I seriously doubt that it is the Tea Party who is a last gasp... I'd argue that instead the last gasps are coming from those who have advocated the redistribution of wealth and the push for what amounts to a European-style social democracy. Seriously, is the race card ALL you have left to play? You cannot beat the arguments of Glenn Beck or Sarah Palin - in fact, from the way the midterms are shaping up, you are losing the argument to them rather badly - you must try to divide Americans by their skin tone?

    You're so bitter about being told "NO" in what will likely now be a GOP sweep of the House and Senate (Rasmussen's latest numbers show the GOP and Dems projected to be tied at 48 each with four toss-ups - with the GOP candidate ahead in three of those four races), that you'd rather pit one group against another... I find that to be very pathetic.

    Do you really think you can achieve and sustain what you define as "progress" via lying and race-hustling? Or do you really think those who disagree with you are evil, and therefore any methods necessary to beat them (including lies and dehumanizing them by calling them racist) are permissible? If the former, then sooner or later, the truth will come out - and then you not only may have to deal with the fact that what you pushed has not worked, but the fact that you lied will also be out. If it is the latter, then I'd prefer to know up front, so that I can deal with you as the enemy your post up there indicates you are. Because, if push coms to shove, I am with the Tea Party.

    I was at the 9/12 rally in 2009. There was no racism there... just people who disagreed with the massive spending Obama has pushed through over the last two years. The Tea Party racism is in your imagination. I do not respect people who falsely claim that I am a racist, and I certainly do not want them to have any sort of power over me, even as a moderator on the Senate Floor. If you want to act like a race-baiting liar, then I will treat you as such.
  12. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper and Rumor Naysayer

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    star 6
    I've seen this talking point many times from right-wing pundits. What's missing from the narrative is: please explain how this is bad, because for me -and I suspect I'm not the only one- this line of reasoning is not self-evident.
  13. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    Charming as always, JS.

    I'm not disagreeing with you that the Tea Party movement and its influence on midterm elections is proof positive that the ailing white middle class has rejected equality for African Americans, en masse. We seem to largely agree on what is happening.

    So, I take it that you agree with me as well on what the country will look like in 2020: fewer employment opportunities for blacks than even the ones they don't have now. More incarceration, more school segregation with lower quality education, fewer opportunities for higher education. More segregated low income communities that create a holistic, total approach to being a permanent underclass. But that kind of dehumaminzation is nothing compared to the horror of being called "racist."

    Why? Because, as you have pointed out. It's what white people want. The downside is that the white middle class is dying out, and its political influence along with it. What we do today will come back to haunt us in twenty years when we're a demographic minority.

    It doesn't take the power of prophecy to look out ten years from now and pinpoint what the U.S. is going to look like if current trends continue. Although I admit sometimes my prescience astounds me.
  14. JediSmuggler Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 5, 1999
    star 5
    I said you were lying about the tea party. I even said flat-out in my previous post here that you were a "race-baiting liar" - so where did you get the idea that I agree with you about what the future will be?

    I dispute your contention that the Tea Party is racist. I think calling them racist is a very big desperation play on your part. I also think it is a lie and little more than race-baiting. Perhaps blacks would not be held down if liberals like you stopped playing the race card every chance you got. But it seems to me that you have chosen to lie and race-bait. I can understand it - you are defending an indefensible status quo, and also, the only reason that your brand of dealing with those problems is even competitive is because you've not only managed to get people hooked on welfare payments and government-provided social services, but your approach has created bureaucracies who see the perpetuation of the status quo as in their economic interest. If the problems were actually solved, a lot of bureaucrats are no longer needed, and would be out of a job. I do not know if your defense of the status quo of those programs - and desire to double down on their failures - is driven by stupidity, insanity, or evil; but whatever it is, it must be stopped. If you want to attack the Tea Party's motives by calling them racist, then I think it is only fair to go after YOUR motives.

    As for where America is in ten years: I think, by 2020, we will see the Tea Party as a counter-force to the entitlement and welfare-state culture that some have been pushing, which will inevitably lead to the federal government divesting itself of a lot of social spending. Much more will end up delegated to the state and local levels, with much greater accountability for results. The pensions will have to be fixed, but that can be done, provided the tax code is not used for social engineering. If a major revamping of the tax code can be enacted (say, a flat-rate income tax), then I think there will be an economic expansion that makes the Reagan economic boom look like a firecracker. It does mean that the public-sector unions (AFGE, AFSCME, NEA, and AFT, among others) will necessarily lose a fair bit of power, and there will be a greater reliance on private charity. You'd be able to buy health insurance across state lines, for instance. It also means that a lot more personal responsibility will need to be exercised by individuals - along with government bureaucrats. If someone does a crime they ought to do the time. The greater accountability would probably start turning around the inner-city schools. It will be an America with reformers like Michelle Rhee calling the shots as opposed to those who are unwilling to stand up to the local NEA or AFT. It will be an America that ranks in the top two or three countries in terms of economic freedom. That said, I also think that it could be an increasingly pol
  15. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    You may be right, and it's an interesting point, since Republican politics for the last 25 years have already been a highly effective counter-force to expanding the welfare state. There are exceptions. Clinton gets zero credit from Republicans for his hugely successful efforts to shrink the welfare state. Bush gets very little criticism from Republicans for his hugely successful effort to expand the welfare state through prescription med benefits.

    Again, we seem to agree that the Tea Party is a force that if anything is set on accelerating a trend that over the past 25 years has trended more and more toward devastating minorities from the point of view of socioeconomic equality.

    Not by 2020. The states are in a fiscal hole that will take most of the coming decade to climb out of. In 2020, state governments will almost certainly be leaner, weaker, but perhaps more solvent institutions than they are today, but only to the extent they successfully resist having such things "delegated" to them.
    Agree with the first clause, disagree with the last. Pensions can also be fixed within the context of progressive income taxation.
    Flat tax won't do the trick. The Reagan economic boom was caused by one thing only: flooding the market with easy credit, which pumped the economy and led directly to the internet bubble and real estate bubbles and an epic expansion of national and consumer debt. Monetary policy is out of ammunition, that's for sure. I'd say contract defense spending down to what is necessary to defend our borders, and use the isolationism dividend to fund a massive jobs program aimed at alternative energy infrastructure and technology.
    I'd agree with that, particular if economic malaise lingers for much of the decade.

  16. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper and Rumor Naysayer

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    Quoted for irony o_O
  17. JediSmuggler Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 5, 1999
    star 5
    Clinton gets no credit because he VETOED two other welfare reform bills, and only signed the third because if he hadn't he might have lost the 1996 election to Bob Dole. Bush gets much less criticism because of Medicare Advantage and other efforts to increase competition with the regular Medicare program. Most people agreed something had to be done with regards to prescription drugs - the dispute was how.

    That may not be a bad thing. Government bureaucrats tend to try to perpetuate their bureaucracies - and in the case of social spending, that means perpetuating poverty.

    If you slap producers and job creators with punitive levels of taxation, it will be much harder.

    Actually, if you were to make it much less painful with the tax system - a flat tax, not punishing job creators, and just getting out of people's way - it will increase. The 1920s was an impressive economic boon by slashing the top rate to 25%. So the tax code can be fixed. Knock the tax rates down, the economy will increase. 15% of a $25 trillion pot is more than 20% of 13 trillion.

    Defense spending and space exploration could also play a part - the technological advances for both have, in the past, ended up benefiting society as a whole. Canning food came from the need to support armies in the field. The internet came about as a result of the desire to maintain communications in wartime. The space program greatly aided computer development and other advanced materials from today. We get far more in return for those investments.

    The federal government's job is to protect the nations' interests, not to redistribute wealth.

  18. JediSmuggler Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 5, 1999
    star 5
    Are you saying that I should just let someone just lie abut me by calling me a racist? I'm sorry, but when someone spread that sort of vicious lie, they deserve to be called out.
  19. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    You're taking my dislike of the Tea Party very personally.

    The Tea Party is the Vanguard of the Angry White People, and there's no getting around that. I'm not ever going to embrace that as a legitimate force for good in American politics, because it isn't.

    The Tea Party is figuratively full of racists, but not literally. It's not 100% populated by racists. There's a distinct non zero probability that any given Tea Party adherent is not a racist, and I've always acknowledged that.

    Economic panic makes people lash out at any nearby target, and black people have always been such a convenient target. This is the situation we're in:

    Lower- and Middle-Income Spending Lowest Since January '08

    Lower and middle income financial stability has taken a hit. The upper middle class and rich are treading water. When threatened economically, people lash out at the weakest target, in this case the poor and minorities, illegal immigrants, etc.

    By 2020, the U.S. will for example be significantly less immigrant friendly than it is today.
  20. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    But what is your point in harping on it all the time?

    You could make similar comments about any political group, just by switching out the group and the term "racists". For example, you could say that the Democratic Party is figuratively full of communists, but not literally.

    Constantly pointing to that as the major theme of your criticism of the group may not explicitly say that you think that the Tea Party is 100% full of racists, but it certainly implies that you think it's a defining characteristic of the Tea Party, as well as anyone who affiliates with them. You are essentially trying to shift the burden of proof onto people who agree with the Tea Party policies to prove that they are not racists, rather than actually having to substantiate a real accusation against them.

    Your argument is sophistry, and nothing more. It's meant to give you just enough cover to say "I didn't say you were racist, but the other people are", no matter who you objects to your statements.

    Kimball Kinnison
  21. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Jabba, I think you're completely misreading the movement. Or at least, you're not asking the correct questions. The Tea Party is a result of the most recent election cycle, and is a reaction to the institutionalization of government. This is because a single party controls both the executive and the legislative. If Hillary Clinton and not Obama had won the last election, in conjunction with Congressional control going to the same party, you'd still see the same movement rise up. I think you're focusing too much on the birth certificate nonsense, or maybe it's because the attention has been focused so heavily on that area. I think the Tea Party itself won't last much beyond the next election, or when party domination is dispersed, because there won't be a reason too, as the differences in the operation of government will default back to the normal give and take.

    Otherwise, I don't understand your summary. I mean, I could say that "The anti-war movement is figuratively full of hippies, but not literally. It's not 100% populated by hippies. There's a distinct non zero probability that any given anti-war adherent is not a hippie, and I've always acknowledged that."

    So what? That doesn't have anything to do with the rationale behind the movement. A racist is a racist. A hippie is a hippie. Without evidence or a distinct pattern of behavior, I think that summary could be applied to anything. "The snacking movement is figuratively full of pretzel lovers, but not literally..." or "the movie lover movement is full of people who hate Ben Affleck, but not literally.."* and so on... I think you're falling into the trap of using your own perception to try and marginalize a group that you don't attach an identity to.



    *=Actually, I think that's a universal constant, since everyone hates Ben Affleck.
  22. Quixotic-Sith Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 22, 2001
    star 6
    The Tea Party is a result of the most recent election cycle, and is a reaction to the institutionalization of government. This is because a single party controls both the executive and the legislative.

    Like 2000-2006, when the Republicans did this, and produced massive deficits, with *no* such outrage. You're engaging in selective history, 44. The picture is more complex than that.
  23. Quixotic-Sith Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 22, 2001
    star 6
    Double-post, and a weird one at that (two separate windows were involved).
  24. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    I know. I know. The Vanguard of the Angry White People are not all intentionally racist, it's just that they want a return to the days of wholesale socioeconomic inequality for blacks. They don't like welfare spending on principle and so simply shrug off responsibility for any lasting effects of dismantling the social net. "We're not racist. We just believe that discrimination should be legal." The Jim Russells of the world are so misunderstood.

    If I can't tell the difference between racism and ideological support for policies that merely promote racism, then it must be because I'm small minded, or just evil. I get it.
  25. JediSmuggler Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 5, 1999
    star 5
    When you imply that I am a racist, I have EVERY REASON to take it personally. I have every reason to call you a race-baiting liar, because I am NOT a racist.
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