If you’re a young whippersnapper, you should be aware of something. The “American System” that propelled our country into a position of unequaled military and economic power is in the process of slipping away from your generation. We invented the computer, built the internet, created the kind of corporate capitalism that came to dominate the world. Then something happened – we went broke. We’re pretty sure that, at some point, the intrinsic rugged individualism and “can do” attitude will arise from the mush we’ve become to pull us back from the brink. Hopefully, that is more than just wishful thinking.
The truth is that decisions our politicians have made in recent years would have been unthinkable 50 or 100 years ago. At some point along the way, in our hubris, we decided that we could ignore the laws of economics and never have to pay the price. Blame presidents, congresses, Federal Reserve chairmen if you like. It wasn’t one person who set us on this path but rather a succession of extremely poor decision-makers.
We’re fighting a war in Afghanistan, a nation called the “Graveyard of Empires.” Nobody ever wins in Afghanistan! The British tried. The Russians tried. Now we’re mired there, wondering around in those vicious mountains where all our fancy technology seems to not work quite as well as advertised. While we’re at it, let’s let government employees set their own wages and benefits, but first we’ll get rid of that irksome gold standard so we can create money out of thin air to finance our wild spending sprees. Everyone deserves a house with a mortgage they can’t afford, a handful of expensive prescriptions paid for by someone else, and a willing communist nation to foot the bill for our largesse (thank you, China).
The problem is that nation-building and spending without limit never works. Remember back when the original colonists got a bee in their bonnet over “Taxation without Representation?” They threw off their oppressor and wrote down some pretty good ideas about how to run a successful republic. They called it the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. We were recently reading those documents. Seems like they have some pretty good ideas in them. We should try it some time. Again.
The Young Wealth Team
Flickr / The US Army