“Global GDP numbers tell a clear story: The U.S. is the world’s No. 1 economy. By a wide margin. U.S. GDP is about twice China’s. When measured on a per-person basis, the U.S. has an 8-to-1 edge over China. But a lot of Americans don’t see it that way.”
A new poll reported on in the Wall Street Journal says that many Americans think that China will be the world’s number one economic power in the next decade.
This pessimism is understandable, because the media has done a great job overestimating the Chinese government and economy.
To be sure, there are some major issues that have to be reconciled. Our government has grown too large. The welfare state that the politicians have spent years erecting is untenable and is threatening to topple our economic infrastructure. Each day the government finds new and creative ways to tax us; the amount of money that we earn, but never see, grows larger all the time. In short, we are our own worst enemies when it comes to the economic solvency of our nation.
The Chinese connection to these problems is that of an enabler. They’ve gone around buying up our debt like some kind of kind of mafia thug hoping to own an alcoholic politician with a gambling addiction.
But this is no reason to let our fears get the best of us, folks. China may hold some cards, but they’ve got their own issues to deal with too. See, we live in America. We see the problems and hear the economic news every day – for us the major issues are here at home. What we don’t see are the hundreds of millions of Chinese citizens living in abject poverty who will not allow the Chinese to ever become the economic superpower that we have been (and that we will continue to be).
What we miss because we are immersed in our own culture, with our media constantly reporting the shortcomings of our nation, is that there are problems everywhere.
The simple truth is that China’s problems make ours look incidental. Just as we are holding ourselves back with our bad political and economic choices, China is doing much the same, on a much larger and more destructive scale. They’ve helped themselves some by adopting more free market policies and easing some of the tax burden, but the reforms have not been extensive enough or drastic enough. Fearing the Chinese economy is a sucker’s bet; if you’re going to be scared of China you should fear their growing militarism. China’s aggressive military posture is what we should be worried about, not their growing economic power. The economic stuff is smoke and mirrors, but their military capabilities are real.
The truth of the matter is that, “Global GDP numbers tell a clear story: The U.S. is the world’s No. 1 economy. By a wide margin.”
There are nations whose economies are running more smoothly, but their populations are shrinking and they lack the industrial and technological advantages that we have. Europe may have the ability to match us economically, but their political and economic baggage is much more cumbersome than ours. They have failing economies to carry in Portugal, Italy, Greece, and France. As other socialist economies continue to crumble, things will only get worse – because the inherent advantage we hold, unity, does not exist in Europe. Germany cannot command Spain to abandon socialism. England cannot demand that France dispose of its welfare state. Luxembourg cannot force the Spanish to elect a free-market friendly government.
Here in the US, economic sanity is only a few election cycles away… if we make it so.
And that’s the most important part of this whole discussion. We hold our fate in our own hands. Will we (collectively – all of us – conservative and liberal) make the choices that can keep our nation the world’s lone superpower? Or will we continue down this road to serfdom…?
- Which just happens to be one of the most important and well written books on economics that Americans should be reading. [↩]
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