A Post-American Planet

“What we’re trying to do is save the world from the Republican budget. We’re trying to save life on this planet as we know it today.”

~Nancy Pelosi
House Minority Leader

Decline starts with the money, but it doesn’t stop there.

Mark Steyn
National Review Online

…I find myself less interested in “life on this planet as we know it today” than in life on this planet as we’re likely to know it tomorrow if Nancy Pelosi and her chums decline to reacquaint themselves with reality. If you kinda dig life on this planet as you know it, ask yourself this: What’s holding the joint up? As the old gag goes, if you owe the bank a thousand dollars, you have a problem; if you owe the bank a million dollars, the bank has a problem. If you owe the banks 15,000,000,000,000 dollars, the planet has a problem. Whatever comparisons one might make with Europe’s soi-disant “PIIGS” re debt per capita or deficit-to-GDP ratio, the sheer hard numbers involved represent a threat to the planet that Portugal or Ireland does not. It also represents a threat to Americans. Three years ago, the first developed nation to hit the skids was Iceland. But, unless you’re Icelandic, who cares? And, if you are Icelandic, you hunker down, readjust to straitened circumstances , and a few years down the line Iceland will still be Iceland and, if that’s your bag, relatively pleasant.

That’s not an option for the U.S. We are chugging a highly toxic cocktail: 21st-century spendaholic government with mid-20th-century assumptions about American power…

…If the IMF is correct (a big if), China will be the planet’s No.1 economy by 2016. That means whoever’s elected in November next year will be the last president of the United States to preside over the world’s dominant economic power…this will mark the end of two centuries of Anglophone dominance — first by London, then its greatest if prodigal son. The world’s economic superpower will…be a Communist dictatorship with a largely peasant population and legal, political, and cultural traditions as alien to its predecessors as possible…

Read the complete article at National Review Online.

H/T Weasel Zippers

Related: Our Electricity Future (a bleak version)

…Electricity is something that most Americans took for granted as reliable and available for a reasonable price for many years.  After California’s disastrous “de-regulation” experiments in 2000-1 (check wikipedia where they have a pretty good summary under “California Electricity Crisis“), the citizens of that state at least woke up to the fact that the machinery that delivered reliable and reasonably priced electricity was falling to pieces.

The core of the issue is that to meet future DEMAND for electricity, you have to procure appropriate SUPPLY, and then BRING it to the customer.  Given our “NIMBY” culture, and difficult regulatory regime, there has been little incentive to develop new “baseload” generating capacity to procure supplies for the future.  In addition, a lack of investment in new transmission lines, which are needed to bring supply to the customer, limits our ability to tap new sources of electrical generation and there is little financial incentive to devise a solution to this issue.  As a result, we have a long-simmering problem that will come to a head in various guises over the next 20 or so years…

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