Friday, December 11, 2009

An Empire at Risk - The Looming Collapse Of America As We Know It

In one of the most sobering and disturbing articles I've read recently, Newsweek magazine has a rather detailed article making the case that the American Empire is facing an almost inevitable collapse, perhaps sooner rather than later -- and one not caused by any foreign enemy, but by its own decades-long fiscal irresponsibility.

From the article:

An Empire at Risk

We won the cold war and weathered 9/11. But now economic weakness is endangering our global power.


"Already, the federal government's interest payments are forecast by the CBO to rise from 8 percent of revenues in 2009 to 17 percent by 2019, even if rates stay low and growth resumes. If rates rise even slightly and the economy flatlines, we'll get to 20 percent much sooner. And history suggests that once you are spending as much as a fifth of your revenues on debt service, you have a problem. It's all too easy to find yourself in a vicious circle of diminishing credibility. The investors don't believe you can afford your debts, so they charge higher interest, which makes your position even worse.

This matters more for a superpower than for a small Atlantic island for one very simple reason. As interest payments eat into the budget, something has to give—and that something is nearly always defense expenditure. According to the CBO, a significant decline in the relative share of national security in the federal budget is already baked into the cake. On the Pentagon's present plan, defense spending is set to fall from above 4 percent now to 3.2 percent of GDP in 2015 and to 2.6 percent of GDP by 2028.

Over the longer run, to my own estimated departure date of 2039, spending on health care rises from 16 percent to 33 percent of GDP (some of the money presumably is going to keep me from expiring even sooner). But spending on everything other than health, Social Security, and interest payments drops from 12 percent to 8.4 percent.

This is how empires decline. It begins with a debt explosion. It ends with an inexorable reduction in the resources available for the Army, Navy, and Air Force. Which is why voters are right to worry about America's debt crisis. According to a recent Rasmussen report, 42 percent of Americans now say that cutting the deficit in half by the end of the president's first term should be the administration's most important task—significantly more than the 24 percent who see health-care reform as the No. 1 priority. But cutting the deficit in half is simply not enough. If the United States doesn't come up soon with a credible plan to restore the federal budget to balance over the next five to 10 years, the danger is very real that a debt crisis could lead to a major weakening of American power."

Essentially, our nation (our government, in particular) is committing slow-motion suicide with it's continual accumulation of debt, which is on the way to becoming simply unmanageable. There is good reason to believe, from a Biblical and prophetic standpoint, that the American Empire is destined to fall anyway, to make way for the coming New World order, and a united Europe as the world's preeminent superpower.

However, even for those who disagree with this view, the fact is almost undeniable at this point-- America is headed for an economic shipwreck, and there's nothing to indicate that our nation's leaders are inclined to do anything to stop it.

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