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bonddad wrote a thought provoking piece on how to transform the US from a debt to an equity economy, and came up with a four point plan:

  1. Balance budget
  1. Educate the population
  1. Focus on growth industry
  1. Open up Alaskan and Coastal resources to a gold rush

However, none of these are likely to take the US Economy out of its long term depression.  Even combined, they do not address the underlying economic realities:

  1. We have more people (globally) than can be integrated into the economy
  1. Our current energy sources can not sustain continued growth
  1. The design of American society is not conducive to sustainability
  1. All long term economic projections are fundamentally unsound

America's government debt as a percentage of GDP is once again what it was at the end of the Reagan/Bush years, and has soaked up the gains made during the run up to the Dot Com bubble.  Foreign investors place their money in the US Market as a hedge against the collapse of the domestic markets of the fast growing economies of the world.  Europe has seen a similar boon in their financial markets, and the power of the Euro is largely due to increased demand for a stable market in which to hedge.

The failure of American economic policy is not in a failure to grow the economy, or even effectively manage its debt.  Rather, America's economic insecurity is a failure of planning coming out of the Eisenhower years, when America used its access to cheap energy to decentralize its industry and population in order to better weather an possible Soviet aggression.  The resulting boom in construction of roads, housing, business parks, etc, produced the sustained post war economic growth and the eventual crisis of the 1970s.  During the 1970s, our society became painfully aware of how dependent it was on a constant supply of cheap energy.

Now, a generation later, we're being bit by the energy bug again.  This time, the growing economies of Asia are putting a squeeze on the limited energy supply. The capitalistic growth in China, especially, has created a need for energy which propelled our Administration into war in Iraq in Afghanistan.  When John McCain says we'll stay in Iraq for 100 years, he means that we will attempt to control those energy resources for as long as necessary, to keep the spice (I mean oil) flowing into China.

This foreign policy of trade with China goes back to before the founding of the US remember, it is not new.  The US has always looked west to China in our foreign policy.  US involvement in WWII was spurred not because of any particular interest in European adventure, but because of the failure of Japan to recognize our mutual agreement to divy up China.  The US was willing to sacrifice Eastern Europe to the Soviet bloc, but went to war twice in Korea and Vietnam, to ensure our access to the Asian markets.  

This historical back drop underscores why bonddad's suggested solutions are red-herrings:

  1. Debt Reduction - While it makes sense in terms of your credit cards and monthly payments, in real terms debt means we possess the asset, and the rest of the world possess a promise.  Our debt cuts both ways, as foreign investors hedge their bets against the growth in Asia through US bonds, they become equally entwined with our future.  Rather than focusing on reducing debt, we should focus on how those assets are re-invested.
  1. Education - Simply put, India and China have more people quantitatively who have the chops to become engineers and scientists.  As their wealth increases, they will develop a critical mass of R&D might that will wipe the floor with US high tech.  We would be better served by opening up our borders to educated immigrants.  People schooled outside the US, should be encouraged to move here, granted automatic permanent residence, and an accelerated path to citizenship.
  1. Focus on Growth Industry - Rather than focusing on growth industries of today, we should invest more heavily in infrastructure and designing a sustainable society.  The growth industries of Asia will be the same technologies we will need most in our society anyways. Rather than focusing our limited resources on competition with the rest of the world, we'd be better served by reducing waste and improving the efficiency of our public infrastructure.  By focusing on environmental remediation, recycling,  sustainable energy, public transit, new-urbanism, and sustainable land use, we can reduce our per-capita energy consumption and reduce our dependency on cheap foreign oil and material resources.  At the same time, we can maximize the value of our country's greatest asset, the land itself, for future generations.  The rebuilding of America as a green society will produce vastly more economic activity, and reduce our dependency on consumerism to drive our economy.
  1. Alaska and coastal drilling would destroy long term value for a short term gain.  We'd "produce" more oil at lower cost simply by legislating Detroit and all American drivers switch to carbon-fiber composite vehicles.  Having strategic reserves of petroleum will become increasingly important the longer it takes us to transition our energy consumption to other sources.  As such, Alaska is currently more viable as a hedge against a green transition of US society.  If we are able to transition to alternative energy sources, the value of these oil reserves will decline to the point where economically, the unpolluted land itself will be of greater value.  

We are living in an interesting time, when like Europe after WWII, we find ourselves forced to confront the grim reality that we need to rebuild our society.  A century of sprawl and growth has left us dependent on foreign resources, with a crumbling infrastructure, and an unmaintainable mess.  Much of the rest of the world is now engaged in a foolhardy attempt to replicate our mistakes, in pursuit of a higher standard of living.

However, with the ever increasing rate of change in technology, the relevance of any one individual is declining in an ever more connected world.  As more people are educated around the world, the relative value of that education is diminished.  Scarcity of skilled workers is diminishing, as can be seen by US wage stagnation and increased individual productivity.  Currently technologists are projecting that within 20 years, regenerative medicine will be capable of replacing most faulty body parts like we fix cars, computer processing power will approach the 1 human brain / $1000 in price performance ratio, and commercial space flight will be common place.

Attempting to project the US GDP in 20 years time in the face of such transformative technologies is currently impossible.  When combined with effects of environmental pollution and climate change on the world's population, it becomes increasingly difficult to judge the global political climate in 20 years time as well.  In the face of these uncertainties, it is in America's interests to obtain as much capital as possible, and invest it in mitigating these risks by fixing its systemic problems in energy, infrastructure, and environmental engineering.

Our current levels of indebtedness are not a problem, if we manage our economic activity properly.  By leveraging our relative stability, we have gained access to incredible amounts of capital.  Unfortunately, our current Administration has squandered it largely on maintaining a failed foreign policy for the benefit of a select few. This does not mean, however, that the next Administration should make the opposite mistake by attempting to address this symptom, while ignoring the core mandate of government, the protection and promotion of "public goods".

Originally posted to cthulhuology on Wed Jun 18, 2008 at 10:07 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I have to disagree with your (3+ / 0-)

    assessment of the education situation.  While China and India are numerically superior, and produce more technically inclined students, it is because of the way in which they teach and the American view of sciences and mathematics.

    According to the American Psychological Association, roughly half of all Americans believe science and math carry with them "innate" ability.  Meaning that no matter how hard you try, you're only as good as your inborn mathematical propensity.

    China and India teach to the test.  They design their curricula to take advantage of the SATs and ACTs.  That's how so many Asian and South Asian students end up at top American technical universities such as Carnegie Mellon or CalTech or MIT.

    What American schools need to do to compete is to teach to the innovative, inventive, revolutionary aspect of each of those subjects.  Teach our students how to blaze a trail and take the lead in creation, not simply to pass tests and never push their limits.

    The other factor is the laziness factor.  American kids are inherently lazy.  The majority of college-bound Americans are acclimated from birth to relatively easy lifestyles.  They very rarely come from broken homes, they spend their summers at math camps or science camps or smart kid camps (I know because I did).  Most of them have a decent part time job at Eddie Bauer or American Eagle.  They grow accustomed to not having to work hard for success.  Then you have the foreign students who bust their asses day in and day out, living on a cup of rice a day, understanding that the harder they work, the better off they will be.  In the end it pays off.  American students need to understand the urgency with which they are going to be entering the professional world.  It is cutthroat, and hard, and they will not survive if they treat it like high school.

    "We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the Stars and Stripes. All of us defending the United States of America." -Sen. Barack Obama

    by Obamaniac08 on Wed Jun 18, 2008 at 10:24:55 AM PDT

    •  The Asians also value the student that score well (6+ / 0-)

      on these tests.

      Over here in America the athlete gets the accolades.

    •  China Has 1.2 Billion People (3+ / 0-)

      They can afford to teach in ways that generate successful students without regard to the losses along the way. Also the people from those countries who manage to claw their way to America to be seen here are not randomly representative of the source populations. Frankly that's also true of my northwestern European ancestors.

      If you think everybodys' abilities are built equal you've never taught. I've taught both sciences and music.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Wed Jun 18, 2008 at 10:43:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  as an engineer... (19+ / 0-)

      I have to agree with you that education is the problem, but not the way you think.  Many of the best people in Silicon Valley today never went to school for engineering or even finished their degree.  If you look at the leaders in tech, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Michael Dell, Larry Elison, you'd be hard pressed to spot one who finished an advanced degree!

      American kids are right, there is an innate personality component to becoming a great engineer, and it is largely curiosity.  The worst mistake you can make is trying to educate the curiosity and creativity out of these people.

      I triple majored in college (not one of those degrees in the field I work in today), got a masters in the humanities (unrelated to my current work), and have consulted for many of the big media and a handful of the big internet companies.  I am also involved in at least 4 start-ups a year, and can tell you plenty of war stories about incompetent engineers coming out of the best schools in the US.

      My point is not that Chinese and Indian education is going to produce better scientists and engineers. It doesn't.  In fact, education everywhere tends to produce mediocre engineers and mediocre scientists. Testing tends to ingrain patterns of thought, which get in the way of inventive and creative problem solving.  Rather, my point is that with the larger population bases, they are going to produce a sufficient number of highly capable, curious individuals, who with access to technology and information will eventually out number those of us in the English speaking world.

      The next big revolutions are going to come from the minds of slacker kids sitting in their high rise apartments in Shanghai and Bangalore.  Much like the last revolution came out of the garages of Cupertino.

      •  It's not laziness, they have the good sense (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        aigeanta

        to realize that engineering is a dead end job with sinking income, due to the infinite supply of cheap imported labor.

        Impeach or be impeached.

        by Hens Teeth on Wed Jun 18, 2008 at 08:57:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Education (0+ / 0-)

        While I will agree we need to open the US to the best and the brightest from around the world I think it is a fools errand to say we can continue to ignore the education of the US born.

        In order to be good citizens every American needs to be literate, numerate, and have a basic background in history and science.

        Our educational system is a mess and is not producing for the most part good citizens nor the kind of employees employers want to hire. The k-12 educational system needs to be vastly improved as does the path from high-school to vocational education, college, or the workforce.

        Furthermore the post-high-school educational system needs to re-orient itself toward lifelong learning. How many people would change carriers if the training was readily available and suited to the needs of older working adults with mortgages and families?  

        How many bright capable people are going to waste because they don't see a path to get themselves better training?

        In my not so humble opinion education is always an investment with a great ROI.

    •  Source? (3+ / 0-)

      American kids are inherently lazy.  The majority of college-bound Americans are acclimated from birth to relatively easy lifestyles.  They very rarely come from broken homes, they spend their summers at math camps or science camps or smart kid camps (I know because I did).  Most of them have a decent part time job at Eddie Bauer or American Eagle.  They grow accustomed to not having to work hard for success.

      Where's your source for this?  This looks like it came from a very sheltered perspective of life and refers to the top-ranked percentage (i.e. genius) of students only.

      There has never been a protracted war from which a country has benefited. The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting. - Sun Tzu

      by OHeyeO on Wed Jun 18, 2008 at 10:55:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Wherein I LOL at anti-youth bigotry (0+ / 0-)

      The other factor is the laziness factor.  American kids are inherently lazy.

      Where have I heard this before? I can't remember. Hm. Let's consider your argument in greater depth:

      The majority of college-bound Americans are acclimated from birth to relatively easy lifestyles.  They very rarely come from broken homes, they spend their summers at math camps or science camps or smart kid camps (I know because I did).

      It occurs to me that, given the irrational cost of higher education, this should be the case. A single mother, for example, should not be expected to pay college tuition and raise a family on a single income when two-income families have a hard time staying afloat without paying college tuition. But I can't help notice that even Growing Up with a Single Parent: What Hurts, what Helps (the 1994 bible of "Family Values" activists which proves that divorce is very, very bad) doesn't prove the case very well. Check page 47 and you'll see that about 50% of high school graduates from single or dual-parent household will enroll in college, and about 25% will finish university. Depending on which study you read a greater percentage of either one will drop out of college (some studies suggest having both parents increases the chance of dropping out of university!).

      The statistics in that book are hopelessly out of date, of course. the 2002-03 graduation rate for 12th graders in public schools was 91%, >70% enrolled in higher education the following year (44% at a 4-year institution, 28% at a 2-year instution). (National Center for Education Statistics)

      But they're all lazy, right? Isn't that what we were talking about?

      They grow accustomed to not having to work hard for success.  Then you have the foreign students who bust their asses day in and day out, living on a cup of rice a day, understanding that the harder they work, the better off they will be.  In the end it pays off.  American students need to understand the urgency with which they are going to be entering the professional world.  It is cutthroat, and hard, and they will not survive if they treat it like high school.

      I wonder if that's true. What say you, Oh Mighty Google?

      (In 1999-2000)Eighty percent of undergraduates work while enrolled and 60 percent attend on less than a full-time/full-year basis. Eighty percent of "employees who study" work 36 or more hours per week." (American Council on Education)

      Huh.

      You know, it occurs to me that if some kid can work full time while taking a full course load, then maybe they know how to bust ass after all. Who works >80 hours a week in the real world? (Except for me in the four year after college graduation, I mean. And most of my peers. And none of our bosses.)

      Maybe the self-important "adults" who say all kids are lazy, uncreative, know-nothings are really full of shit. They got their educations paid for by government debt, they get debt-financed tax cuts now and they'll get their retirement paid by government debt too. In the mean time, they'll come up with every excuse possible to protect their jobs from the new guys coming out of college every year.

      Clearly, free trade's the answer. Free trade and hard work.

      Because if you just work hard enough you'll be able to to pay $900/month in rent while competing with $20/day workers squatting in Calcutta or $2/day workers living in government-subsidized housing in Shanghai.

      But you know what's NOT the answer?

      Government intervention. That's immoral. No country can compete with American-style free market capitalism (except Communist China).

      --- "opendna is high and just makin' shit up outta nowhere." - greenskeeper

      by opendna on Thu Jun 19, 2008 at 12:48:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  All Granularity of Debatable Issues, Aside (7+ / 0-)

    This is a very lucid and impressive analysis. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    Pluto now orbits Overnight News Digest ʍou sʇıqɹo oʇnld

    by Pluto on Wed Jun 18, 2008 at 10:44:34 AM PDT

  •  "by opening up our borders to (15+ / 0-)

    educated immigrants..". That's comforting to me as my company prepares to shut down on July 1. Getting another tech job at 52, despite a recent master's, isn't easy. Got a lot of friends in the same situation. This purported shortage of trained tech workers is a Republican talking point and it's absolute crap: we aren't kicking ass in R&D because we aren't investing in it. It's much more lucrative to invest in consumer credit, arbitrage or currency speculation than in the production of actual goods. It's the new American way.

    BTW, my company is a startup making a life-saving medical device for use in operating rooms. The beta system is built and works great in the OR. Surgeons and nurses love it. We're shutting down because we can't raise $2 freaking million to complete FDA trials. We're not shutting down because of a lack of skilled workers.

    Ah, but does the Buddha have cat nature?
    --dallasdave ca. 2008

    by dallasdave on Wed Jun 18, 2008 at 10:55:42 AM PDT

  •  Oil. (3+ / 0-)

      4.  Alaska and coastal drilling would destroy long term value for a short term gain.  We'd "produce" more oil at lower cost simply by legislating Detroit and all American drivers switch to carbon-fiber composite vehicles.  Having strategic reserves of petroleum will become increasingly important the longer it takes us to transition our energy consumption to other sources.  As such, Alaska is currently more viable as a hedge against a green transition of US society.  If we are able to transition to alternative energy sources, the value of these oil reserves will decline to the point where economically, the unpolluted land itself will be of greater value.  

    All this is true.  However, remember that there's a ten year lag between deciding to drill and actual oil production.  

  •  Drilling IS a red herring. (8+ / 0-)

    It won't make a fiddly f@@k of a difference how much they produce when it all goes on the world market at market prices anyway.
    This is a dumbya ploy to line the oil nabobs pockets even further.
    You want to make a difference?
    Nationalize the energy industry!!!!!
    That should be our goal.

    St. Ronnie was an asshole.

    by manwithnoname on Wed Jun 18, 2008 at 11:51:33 AM PDT

  •  How can one un-vote? (3+ / 0-)

    I meant to vote for "sustainable society" and not "international competitiveness," dagnabbit.  

    Anyway, nice diary, cthulhuology.  I don't understand this subject very well, but I do appreciate the time and trouble you took to post this thought-provoking response to bondad's diary.

    I don't agree with bondad's conclusion about "drilling our way out of this" being part of a useful solution, but I sure do like the conversation it engendered.  Very educational.

    "War is not the answer, for only love can conquer hate." - Marvin Gaye (-5.25, -4.97)

    by JBL55 on Wed Jun 18, 2008 at 01:02:39 PM PDT

  •  Not a single Kossack has put forward (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    yoduuuh do or do not, aigeanta

    an economic plan I can get on board with, and they have all been very different. My plan is different still.  Its troubling.  Without a unified plan how will progressive advance?

  •  To Better Weather Soviet Aggression? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    yoduuuh do or do not, brmehlman

    America used its access to cheap energy to decentralize its industry and population in order to better weather an possible Soviet aggression.

    That's an interesting assertion. It's obvious to me that in the 1960s and 1970s, people around the US had fairly equal access to lots of capital, energy and finance, because this is a pretty free country, mostly limited by the industry and imagination of its citizens. With that access to plentiful resources, people around the country built up their local areas, working together in a distributed but collaboratively integrated economy. Tied together by a century of rail, a half century of road, and two centuries of river infrastructure, nearly none of which was inspired by anything Soviet.

    Can you back up that central premise of your view of the flaws in America's macroeconomics? If you can't, why should I read any more of the rest of what you built on it?

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Wed Jun 18, 2008 at 09:52:11 PM PDT

    •  Catchy name, though (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      yoduuuh do or do not, petral

      ... a half century of road, ... nearly none of which was inspired by anything Soviet.

      Authorized by the National Defense Interstate Highway Act, signed by Eisenhower in 1951.

      •  Don't Believe the Hype (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NoMoreLies, brmehlman

        So Eisenhower got the Congress to pay for the highway system on Cold War fear, but it wasn't really inspired by Soviet fear. If it was, it wouldn't have paved so much road through the interior, much more than needed to deliver US troops to every corner. Through all kinds of farming areas that had no military value whatsoever.

        It's obvious that they wanted to pave roads around the country for economic development of the vested interests that were harvesting the huge American advantages in the global postwar economy. And getting all Americans to pay for it, though as usual mainly the corporate owners would gain most of the benefit. So they sold it as "national defense".

        That's not the inspiration for the construction, it's the cover story. The commercial inspiration is the reason it's spread throughout the country the way it is. Citing the Soviet threat as the reason it was grown wrong is just buying into a facile cover story that the reality disproves at its basic levels. The reason it was grown wrong at all was because the corporate powers in the 1950s didn't plan according to longterm development strategy, but rather how to make a buck in the next decade or less. Which turned into the next few years, and now the next few quarters for the construction firms constantly maintaining roads that could have been built better the first time, but now we're stuck with. Funny how similar that is to how the Soviets did it.

        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

        by DocGonzo on Wed Jun 18, 2008 at 10:27:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Fundamentals (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    yoduuuh do or do not

    The fundamentals of our economy are, sadly, not good. The U.S. has lost one quarter of its manufacturing jobs since they peaked in the late 1970s.

    The most important thing we need to do for our short-term recovery is to balance international trade. We have to do this carefully, over a period of years (maybe 10, maybe 12), but the policy should be set in concrete and there needs to be a steady change in the dynamics, reversing the trend of leaking wealth-creating jobs to other countries. We cannot pay off debt with a lack of wealth-creating jobs.

    That means specifically returning manufacturing jobs to the U.S. We need to pay attention to where value is added, all the way from extraction to final consumer product.

    The other short-term thing is to end the war in Iraq and move more money from the guns to the butter economy. Military spending wastes resources. You can't raise the standard of living while throwing money away a few billion dollars at a time.

    Needless to say, maybe, that we also need to be more careful about regulation of the financial community. It is precisely because we let go essential rules on mortgages and other financial instruments that we allowed people to get into debt in a way that we've never allowed before. This was lessening standards against the inevitable greed that we must always guard against.

    Of course, the long-term remedy is to reduce population and increase the use of technology. Standard of living is proportional to the use of technology and inversely proportional to population growth. We need to make policies that reduce population growth. For the U.S. alone, we also need to reduce immigration. Those factors weaken the country.

    While we will never be able to isolate the U.S. from the world, and to do so would be counterproductive, we need to manage our involvement so that we don't cause more damage. The change to a global economy is not bad, the speed of that change is bad. In correcting it, we also need to do so with deliberate speed. That's why we need to establish a global minimum wage that is some fraction of ours (I'm thinking 20%) and then raise it relentlessly over a decade or so with increases of 5%, for example, until it reaches parity with the domestic minimum wage. By establishing this policy and making it a long-term policy, we can show where we are headed. This makes it possible for corporations to make the changes needed. When they see that, shortly, it will not be cheaper to manufacture overseas and ship here, they will start to set up more manufacturing in the U.S., which will bring jobs back to the country.

    The fundamentals of the economy need serious attention after being set by the careless and selfish neocons over the last few decades. Right now, I see no reason to believe these changes will occur before Obama takes office, and little to suggest that they will be done even then. But, we cannot drill a few more oil wells or set up a nuclear power plant and just fix the problem. We've deferred this maintenance for too many years, and the changes will need to be fundamental and deep to have any hope of success. I'm sorry to say that they are also likely to be painful.

    And I'm afraid that some of this pain is that this little comment is a very small part of the answer.

  •  Quality vs Quantity Education (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    yoduuuh do or do not

    Education - Simply put, India and China have more people quantitatively who have the chops to become engineers and scientists.  As their wealth increases, they will develop a critical mass of R&D might that will wipe the floor with US high tech.  We would be better served by opening up our borders to educated immigrants.  People schooled outside the US, should be encouraged to move here, granted automatic permanent residence, and an accelerated path to citizenship.

    I've never heard anyone say that increased education of Americans won't increase our globally competitive abilities. And why would foreigners continue to come here, if their foreign educational systems become equal to America's?

    If India and China adopt open societies, open educational systems and a culture of both skeptical inquiry of even educational experts, and of free intellectual collaboration among entire fields regardless of internal competition, then they'll be more like the US. Unless someone's suggesting some imaginary genetic superiority of Americans, which is obviously nonsense, of course foreign adoption of America's successful educational philosophies would give them the advantages we've enjoyed.

    Conversely, if they did adopt our systems (or better ones, though no doubt similar, because our systems are the right way to do it even if they're not perfect), why wouldn't we want to regain our advantages by improving ours to compete better with theirs?

    I agree that the US should do as much to brain drain our foreign competitors. But that's achieved by keeping our educational advantages, not just waiting for smarter foreigners to come here and raise our averages as we slide into relative (and, judging from the trends, absolute) stupidity. If we do go that way, why would they bother coming here at all, when they can eat our lunch without leaving their homes abroad?

    Your argument for letting foreigners be the smart Americans rather than educate people here is one of the dumbest arguments for fixing America I've ever heard. And I've lived in an American city where 40% of the people are illiterate, and probably over 25% are alcoholics. Which is one of the communities most bigoted towards foreigners of any I've ever seen. Except perhaps overseas.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Wed Jun 18, 2008 at 10:01:50 PM PDT

    •  I absolutely agree with you (0+ / 0-)

      100% including the bit about brain draining other countries. One of the more absurd things I see is foreign students at US Colleges who've decided they'd rather stay here being forced to return home when they graduate due to stupid immigration policies.

      Your argument for letting foreigners be the smart Americans rather than educate people here is one of the dumbest arguments for fixing America I've ever heard. And I've lived in an American city where 40% of the people are illiterate, and probably over 25% are alcoholics. Which is one of the communities most bigoted towards foreigners of any I've ever seen. Except perhaps overseas.

      What city was this? Just curious as I've spent my life in relatively well-educated cities on the West coast (Seattle, Olympia, Portland, Eugene).

  •  The mitigation of the transition (0+ / 0-)

    Seems to be missing from plan. That and while I have no objection to open boarders the not improving our educational system seems to undermine the sustainability portion of your argument.

  •  Recently saw a PBS-NOW story about (0+ / 0-)

    Brand-Name American universities setting up satellite campuses at an "Education City" in Qatar. The American Diploma is still highly prized in the rest of the world.

    I suspect our tech economy has gone soft because our best and brightest engineers get sucked into the weapons industry. Nobody makes better spy-satellites, unmanned aircraft, space shuttles, nuclear subs and  smart bombs than the good 'ole USA.

    Meanwhile, the rest of the world's engineers are making better cell phones, laptops, hybrid cars, consumer electronics, wind power generators, medical diagnostics, solar panels... etc. etc.

    The new "brain drain" leads straight to the Pentagon.

    BushCheney Inc. - They lied to me, they lied to you, they lied to our troops.

    by jjohnjj on Thu Jun 19, 2008 at 12:15:39 AM PDT

  •  Very Interesting (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    petral

    I'd recommend you try posting this over at European Tribune.  I know it's US focused, but you have some interesting ideas that I think might spark an interesting debate over there.

    `Under my command, every mission is a suicide mission.`

    by Zwackus on Thu Jun 19, 2008 at 02:52:22 AM PDT

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