Countdown to a Meltdown
June 16, 2005 10:37 PM   Subscribe

Countdown to a Meltdown Well, we've been dancing around this one for quite a while, here it is all spelled out for us. America is digging itself an economic grave. Is this how the once mighty U.S. of A. ends up, burned out on the shattered shoals of a wasted dream? Here are some points to ponder: Our country no longer controls it's economic fundamentals. Compared with the America of the past it has become stagnant, classbound and brutally unfair. Compared with the rest of the world it is on it's way down. We think we are a great power; our military is still greater than China's. Everyone else thinks that over the past twenty years we've finally pushed our luck too far.
posted by mk1gti (39 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: "This article is viewable only by Atlantic subscribers. "



 
subscriber only link.
posted by adnanbwp at 10:41 PM on June 16, 2005


thanks for nothing jerk
posted by angry modem at 10:44 PM on June 16, 2005


thanks for nothing jerk

Come come.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 10:51 PM on June 16, 2005


Ass
posted by cody666 at 10:53 PM on June 16, 2005


Did you guys know there was an earthquake east of Los Angeles today?
posted by Justinian at 10:53 PM on June 16, 2005




Ass In case you missed it the first time.
posted by arse_hat at 11:10 PM on June 16, 2005


So... pretty interesting weather lately, huh?

*looks at imaginary watch...*

Gee, it's getting late, isn't it?! *stretch, yawn!*
posted by insomnia_lj at 11:12 PM on June 16, 2005


thanks for nothing jerk

Ass

Won't it be nice when these bad widdle boys grow up?

Their mummies obviously didn't paddle their widdle bottoms enough when they were still snotnosed tykes. Oh, they still are snotnosed tykes? Then I beseech their mummies to do their belated duties.
posted by Chasuk at 11:19 PM on June 16, 2005


Well, on the present course Bush is going to be leaving his successor with a $9T+ national debt, a lot of it short term that has to get rolled over every year.

If interest rates move up to 8%+, we're looking at an aggregate rate of say 6% on that mass of borrowing, for interest payments of tappity tap tap tappity tap $560B/yr. Add in a $500B/yr defense budget, and we're looking at a TRILLION DOLLARS a year of expenditure before any real domestic spending happens. That's over $500/mo from every taxpayer in America, just to tread water. Mission fucking accomplished.

How any informed person could be a supporter of this misadmin is simply beyond me.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 11:21 PM on June 16, 2005


Our country no longer controls it's economic fundamentals

Apparently its grasp on the finer points of English is slipping too.

I also get the subscriber-only message. Anybody care to provide a link so we actually have something to talk about?
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 11:22 PM on June 16, 2005


I have it on good authority that this disaster of a post was an inside job. See, government agents planted dynamite in it ahead of time to make it look like it collapsed on its own.
posted by felix betachat at 11:26 PM on June 16, 2005


Oh come on, the "Thanks for nothing, jerk" line was spectacular, very funny, and certainly not serious. Don't get your knickers in a twist.
posted by jonson at 11:28 PM on June 16, 2005


I would like to read this article.
posted by muckster at 11:28 PM on June 16, 2005


In lieu of the original article (I, too, get the subscriber page) here's an alternate economic message of doom and gloom. (via)
posted by LordSludge at 11:51 PM on June 16, 2005


Sludge, this was hashed out, sorta, below.

There is a link here, though, in that people have been paying for consumption via refinancing their mortgage.

Chances are 50-50 that 10+ years from now people are going to be looking back on this Bush decade and just wondering WTF were we thinking.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 11:59 PM on June 16, 2005


Won't it be nice when these bad widdle boys grow up?

Their mummies obviously didn't paddle their widdle bottoms enough when they were still snotnosed tykes. Oh, they still are snotnosed tykes? Then I beseech their mummies to do their belated duties.


Yeah, at least I don't try to defend posts without any links.
posted by angry modem at 12:13 AM on June 17, 2005


So, you're all saying that *nobody* in the US of A *actually* cares that their government is essentially selling their country to other governments (gov debt)?

Sheesh - I remember when you people where all "ah Clinton got out economy out of debt and into surplus!" yays! Suck it, Canada!"

Was that not a good thing?
posted by PurplePorpoise at 12:22 AM on June 17, 2005


I remember when James Fallows wrote that Japan was going to take over everything and air travel was about to become convenient.
posted by inksyndicate at 12:25 AM on June 17, 2005


"Compared with the America of the past it has become stagnant, classbound and brutally unfair."
Bullshit. Not to sound like a Billy Joel song, but:
3/5ths; slavery; indentured servitude; property voting; male franchise; civil war; union battles; mining massacres; segregation; Jim Crow; indigenous genocide; Great Depression; "No dogs, Irish"; red squad...
Compared with America of the past, America of the present is pretty fuckin' hands down over our historical realities. Fuck, man, I realize that much more progress needs to be made, and that things like class mobility have decreased from the historical post-war highs, but to pretend that we're in some sort of horrible disadvantage historically speaking? Recent past myopia.
posted by klangklangston at 12:29 AM on June 17, 2005


I remember when James Fallows wrote that the lack of planning by DOD civilians would turn the occupation of Iraq into a right fuckup.

Porpoise: I don't know that the Yanks actually said "suck it".
posted by Francophone at 12:32 AM on June 17, 2005


Oh come on, the "Thanks for nothing, jerk" line was spectacular, very funny, and certainly not serious. Don't get your knickers in a twist.

What part of it was spectacular or funny? What makes you think that it wasn't serious? The sentence isn't long enough to contain any connotation, and what it denoted couldn't be described as "spectacular" by any definition. Further, I don't actually own knickers, and my wife gets rather upset when I wear hers.
posted by Chasuk at 1:06 AM on June 17, 2005


Bummer.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:47 AM on June 17, 2005


Won't it be nice when these bad widdle boys grow up?

Their mummies obviously didn't paddle their widdle bottoms enough when they were still snotnosed tykes. Oh, they still are snotnosed tykes? Then I beseech their mummies to do their belated duties.


Wow, what a reasoned and mature response!

I agree with jonson, the "thanks for nothing jerk" post was, sarcastic or not, funny.

What part of it was spectacular or funny?

That would be the part that said, "Thanks for nothing jerk."

Francophone:

I don't know that the Yanks actually said "suck it".

I may have. Once. In a moment of impulse. Sorry.
posted by shmegegge at 2:08 AM on June 17, 2005


I too would like to read this article.

posted by Heywood Mogroot: Chances are 50-50 that 10+ years from now people are going to be looking back on this Bush decade and just wondering WTF were we thinking.

50-50? I'm betting 100. I can't be the only one who looks back at 1995 and and wonders WTF everything .com was thinking.
posted by fandango_matt at 2:13 AM on June 17, 2005


And, here's an extra "and", just in case that earlier post loses its spare.
posted by fandango_matt at 2:15 AM on June 17, 2005


Actually, for a no-post it's not going very bad
posted by acrobat at 2:16 AM on June 17, 2005


Maybe mk1gti is James Fallows? Naaaaah.
posted by alumshubby at 3:04 AM on June 17, 2005


I agree with jonson, the "thanks for nothing jerk" post was, sarcastic or not, funny.

Low fucking hurdle to jump these days. Which is, perhaps, the attraction.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:52 AM on June 17, 2005


The article's a bland fantasy, which has become standard for The Atlantic nowadays, about how a 3rd-party candidate will be elected in 2016. It implies that there are two administrations after the Bush admin, and that the economy goes to hell. I stopped reading it when it said that Venezuela's Hugo Chavez becomes a military dictator after Fidel Castro's death in 2008 - but then I have no use for mainstream (not to mention short-sighted) propaganda about Venezuela.

(I get the Atlantic thanks to a phone sales scam I got caught by several years ago. I don't have to be happy about it.)
posted by graymouser at 4:26 AM on June 17, 2005


I have this issue of The Atlantic on paper. It strikes me that the Fallows article (well, short story actually) doesn't say anything that hasn't already been said elsewhere many times over. If you read Krugman, which I do for annoyance value, it's all familiar territory.

The interesting question is not whether something bad is going to happen. Of course it is...eventually. No game goes on forever; the Himalayas will get washed into the Bay of Bengal as sand...eventually. The interesting question is when? When? When? When? On the interesting point the prophets of doom seldom get more explicit than, well, the end is near, apocalypse real soon now, better panic today because all kinds of bad shit is right around the corner.

This particular article/scenario/moral fable is a bit better on the "when" issue than most--but it's self-avowedly a work of fiction, which makes the detailed predictions a bit mushy. We still face all the issues Orwell wrote about in 1984, but 1984 itself has come and gone and I find I don't love Big Brother just yet. Fallows knows, and trades on, the fact that we don't hold speculative fiction to its dates.

The item the fpp didn't quite manage to link to is just another roundup of the usual suspects. It strikes me as no more intrinsically interesting (or frightening) than a similar fable about the impending Doom Of America caused by marijuana, video games and gay marriage.
posted by jfuller at 4:29 AM on June 17, 2005


jfuller, could you scan and send me the article? Or, could the person who posted this link send it along.
posted by gsb at 4:55 AM on June 17, 2005


No game goes on forever

However, this one has seemed to me lately, to be like a football game, with 90% of the people on the same team, in which everybody is watching the center to hike the ball in some super graceful manner and with 15 tons of pressure, and of course he fumbles it.

Whereas, they could all just stand up and hand the ball off. The rules for this "game" (a really ugly term here sometimes) are quite malleable, after all.

We keep shooting ourselves in the foot time and time again. I think once we pull through it will all be as if for a big confidence booster. We'll have a whole generation who will say, man, no matter how hard we tried--intentionally gave it our best college try--to kill our economy, it still kept on going. Yay1
posted by nervousfritz at 5:00 AM on June 17, 2005


Chances are 50-50 that 10+ years from now people are going to be looking back on this Bush decade and just wondering WTF were we thinking.

How about this? Right now 50% of the people are looking on this Bush decade and just wondering WTF are we thinking.

And klangklangston... I think you're absolutely correct, except you forgot the Robber Barons. Every generation fears it is the last, that the world as we know it is going to end, etc. Of course, they're all correct, but what they forget is that there is always something else to replace it:

Meet the new boss-
Same as the old boss!


And life goes on.
posted by Doohickie at 5:16 AM on June 17, 2005


My wife and I are doing everything we can to dig out of debt, and we've already gotten a good chunk of our outstanding debts paid off (except for the mortgage, of course.) Doesn't anyone else FEEL that there is some seriously bad economic shit coming down the pipeline in the not too distant future? I have no doubt that we will see America's power wane significantly within our lifetimes - both economic and military. China and India are on the ascendant, and if the EU can ever get their crap together, they'll have a way forward, too. America, between labor and knowledge worker outsourcing, seems to be running in the opposite direction.
posted by Floach at 5:17 AM on June 17, 2005


Yeah, I wanna read this article. I also agree with the "thanks for nothing" crowd. This is really a tease. MeTa anybody?
posted by afroblanca at 5:28 AM on June 17, 2005


I just saved a ton of money on car insurance.
posted by caddis at 5:32 AM on June 17, 2005


All together now, GOP bashers and bush haters and liberals and progressives and Chomsky- and Nader-ites...

I Told You So!!

Too bad Canada won't look so swell without the US around in its current form. Japan doesn't want non-ethnic Japanese.... China.... (shudder).. not china.. India doesn't need immigrants. Will Europe have anything going for it after we go down a few pegs? If not, what does that leave, Russia? Brazil?


Mmmm.... Brazil... didn't think of that. I hear Costa Rica is doing nicely as well.
posted by modernerd at 5:37 AM on June 17, 2005


We keep shooting ourselves in the foot time and time again.

Amen. A generation after the war in Vietnam we have a situation in Iraq that, while it's not exactly an allegory, there are certain unmistakle parallels. We seem to keep saying "never again", but without any true conviction. Maybe it's just because the ruling classes just aren't accountable to anyone any more (if they ever were).

On the other hand, I remember Gore Vidal's books from the 70s where he was predicting a precipitous decline in the American economy if not an outright collapse by 1977. Was it because Reagan's deficit spending bought us a few more decades of false prosperity? Hard to answer for or against this close to it.

To an extent, I agree with you Floach (except the EU, they're more stagnant, more entrenched in expensive public works programs and perhaps more fucked than we are), but if it's all going down, why bother with paying down debt? In the case of an ecnomic collapse it's not like the creditors will have a means to collect. In fact, in the apocalyptic scenario (2001 Argentina * 10), cash won't be worth much at that point anyway.

Anybody need a drink? I could sure use one.
posted by psmealey at 5:39 AM on June 17, 2005


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