While technology has changed the way travelers plan and take trips — from mobile route planning and photo sharing to podcasts and streaming playlists — the tradition of the great American road trip is one that continues today.
Great powers are rarely brought down by outside adversaries; they destroy themselves from within. Very often, they do it by falling victim to economic imbalances and the decay of once-vibrant governing institutions that prove unable to adapt to changing circumstances. The pattern has repeated itself with remarkable regularity.
In examples as disparate as the demise of the Roman Empire, the decline of imperial Spain, the fall of the Ottoman Empire, and Britain's loss of global power, we find a common story: As political institutions fail to keep up with economic changes, elites respond by concentrating political power, increasing public spending, and eventually taking on an unbearable burden of debt that brings down the entire system.
If America's global economic power comes to an end in our lifetime, it will surely result from a loss of fiscal balance that forces the nation down this well-worn path. The subtle signals we have already received — a minor credit warning from Moody's, acrimonious political fights over the debt ceiling — confirm that trouble is coming.
Indeed, it is now perfectly clear that our political system is struggling to contend with an economic and fiscal reality for which it was not designed. That reality is above all a function of our ballooning entitlements and of the peculiar political incentives and forces that have grown up around those entitlements.
The structure and rules of our politics create a situation in which it is in the interest of both major parties to let these problems get worse rather than to take the steps required to address them.
This is a depressing fact, but it also suggests the shape of a solution. If we are to prevent the entitlement state from leading us into a fiscal catastrophe, we will need to change the rules of our fiscal politics — especially the rules of federal budgeting.
At its core, the threat is a function of a breakdown in long-term fiscal discipline. Indeed, the only reason the United States has gotten away with funding a runaway national debt at relatively low interest rates is that some key competitors, especially in Europe, are in even greater fiscal trouble.
While this problem has drawn much public attention over the past four years, it has been far longer in the making. To be sure, the Obama administration has worsened the nation's fiscal situation.
But the country faces longer-term structural budget problems that have been growing for decades — problems that our federal budget process has simply failed to address.
Politicians like to focus on federal discretionary spending when they talk about those budget troubles, because discretionary spending presents some relatively easy targets for cutting.
Many on the right argue that reducing foreign aid or subsidies to public broadcasting will meaningfully help our budget situation; many on the left claim that cutting tax breaks to corporations or slashing the defense budget can save us.
But they are all wrong. The growth in our debt is not being driven by these comparatively small programs. What we are facing is an entitlement crisis.
It has been growing for decades, and it is reaching a truly catastrophic scale. Consider that four decades ago, inthe federal government spent Of that amount, 3. Of that spending, 5. This means that, as a percentage of the economy, federal discretionary spending has actually declined over the past 40 years while entitlement spending especially health-entitlement spending has increased dramatically.
And the CBO projects that this pattern will continue in the coming decades. On this much, nearly everyone agrees. But there is no similar agreement about how to bridge the fiscal gap.
And the difference on that front is not so much between liberals and conservatives as between those who seek the right mathematical formula and those who seek the right budgeting rules.
Recent years have seen several proposals to close the fiscal gap. Some of these plans have been part of the formal budget process, like the House Republican budgets of the past few years.
Some have come from government efforts, like the Simpson-Bowles commission created in by President Obama. Others have come from private sources, like the Bipartisan Policy Center's Domenici-Rivlin task force. There have been dozens of similar plans proposed since the early s, when Ronald Reagan put a spotlight on the coming federal fiscal imbalance.The former president’s legal team painted him as a genuine free-market reformer who helped pull Bolivia from economic woes, only to be backed into a corner by opposition that regularly employed.
From the Americas Society/Council of the Americas. AS/COA Online's news brief examines the major—as well as some of the overlooked—events and stories occurring across the Americas. Americas Cuba The Marlins could also explore the free agent market this coming winter for a low-cost first baseman.
and his road woes continued to the end. Due to the boom in mining and agriculture activities which translates to a rise in Off the Road Tires (OTR) demand and with a global shortage now, Bridgestone, whose OTR sales rose by more than 5% last year, has announced plans to increase its output of large and ultra large radial tires by 40% by Watch video · Economists like me see the world through the prism of models, fit to statistical data and tested against market realities.
America’s Casino-Saturation Problem. By John Wolfson. and publicly traded companies run in a free-market system? From one perspective, yes, casino companies can make enormous profits, and it.