National Review Online
I was in Australia earlier this month and there, as elsewhere on my recent travels, the consensus among the politicians I met (at least in private) was that Washington lacked the will for meaningful course correction, and that, therefore, the trick was to ensure that, when the behemoth goes over the cliff, you’re not dragged down with it. It is faintly surreal to be sitting in paneled offices lined by formal portraits listening to eminent persons who assume the collapse of the dominant global power is a fait accompli. “I don’t feel America is quite a First World country anymore,” a robustly pro-American Aussie told me, with a sigh of regret…
…A second-term Obama would roar full throttle to the cliff edge, while a President Romney would be unlikely to do much more than ease off to third gear. At this point, it’s traditional for pundits to warn that if we don’t change course we’re going to wind up like Greece. Presumably they mean that, right now, our national debt, which crossed the Rubicon of 100 percent of GDP just before Christmas, is not as bad as that of Athens, although it’s worse than Britain, Canada, Australia, Sweden, Denmark, and every other European nation except Portugal, Ireland, and Italy. Or perhaps they mean that America’s current deficit-to-GDP ratio is not quite as bad as Greece’s, although it’s worse than that of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium, and every other European nation except Ireland.
But these comparisons tend to understate the insolvency of America, failing as they do to take into account state and municipal debts and public pension liabilities…
…By the way, that decline in the U.S./Australian exchange isn’t the only one. Ten years ago the U.S. dollar was worth 1.6 Canadian; now it’s at par. A decade ago, the dollar was worth over ten Swedish Kroner, now 6.7; 1.8 Singapore dollars, now 1.2. I get asked with distressing frequency by Americans where I would recommend fleeing to. The reality is, given the dollar’s decline over the last decade, that most Americans can no longer afford to flee to any place worth fleeing to. What’s left is the non-flee option: taking a stand here, stopping the spendaholism, closing federal agencies, privatizing departments, block-granting to the states — not in 2040, but now. “Suddenly” is about to show up.
Read the entire article at National Review Online.
H/T Instapundit where Professor Reynolds added this:
…No organization can survive corruption and ineptitude at the top forever. And we’ve had the worse political class in American history for a while now, though its rottenness has really accelerated lately.
UPDATE: A longtime reader emails:
I’m a Canadian, and you might be interested to know that the Harper government are working very hard (in the background) along the same lines as the Aussies. They are doing everything possible to diversify Canada’s export markets away from the US as fast as possible, for example the pipeline to move Alberta and Saskatchewan oil to world markets via the sea, not to the US. Ditto aeroplanes, rail cars, fibre-optic electronics, robotics, lumber, and a wide range of other products.
The quiet back-room planning is driven by the alarming extent to which the Obama administration has already deeply damaged the US economy (compared to Canada) with its policies, actions, and insane deficits. The Harper government are now moving to shut down US environmentalist activity in Canada — “We’re not going to be your National Park.” says the PM — and are already developping scenarios for maximum-possible disconnect from the States in the event Obama and his crew are returned to power in the coming elections. [no name please if published ... in spite of my present location I continue to follow Canadian politics very closely and have children living there. If it weren't for Canada's lack of truly free speech, draconian gun laws, and miserable health system, I'd be moving back.]
Also at Instapundit, CHANGE: IRS Increased Audit Rate of Richest Americans by 63% in 2011.