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News ::
America's Lost Decade
08 Feb 2002
Modified: 02:01:21 PM
Special Occasion Op-Ed from

America's Lost Decade

Special Occasion Op-Ed:

150 Willow St. Cheshire, CT 06410 USA  (203) 376-6069

America's Lost Decade

By John Kusumi
Pre-September 11, I was
ready to vote "no confidence" in the U.S. government.
Post-Sept. 11, I am heartened by strong leadership and a changed political
climate. Yet, the status quo ante (pre-Sept. 11) is a godforsaken
political condition, to which no one should hope to return. No one aspires
to return to Auschwitz, and no one should aspire to return to America's
"lost decade," politically.

A lost decade exists
from the end of the Soviet Union (1991) to September 11 (2001). Prior to
that, the Cold War with the Soviet Union was America's defining
pre-occupation. Two generations of Americans had this matter as the
front-and-center, leading concern of politics. The saga was long running,
tense, and expensive.

The ending of the Cold
War could have been America's most triumphal and hopeful moment. It could
have led to more optimism for the future. The world's people might have
taken heart -- thinking about the economists' choice of "guns versus
butter," was this not a time when enormous, vast, and mighty
resources might be poured, now into butter instead of guns?

And, beyond economics,
how about liberty, democracy, justice, equality, and inalienable rights?
If America won the Cold War and
is known to promote these values, one might expect world wide progress in
these matters.

World wide audiences
got none of the above. With world leadership unquestioned, it was
America's moment at center stage. Did we show a sense of class and style?
No. Having military, economic, and political pre-eminence, could we have
afforded to be larger about it? --To practice what we preach?

Rather than reach out
and provide leadership, America turned inward, leaving friends--and world
hopes--twisting in the wind. We can follow the values; follow the private
sector money; follow the public sector money; and in each case, see that
we failed the world at large, and the free world in particular.

On values, America
descended into a values-neutral, "stand for nothing" political
correctness. Is someone having a life-and-death holocaust? The politically
correct individual doesn't care. Political correctness leads to
"Klingon" values, not human ones. (It in fact exists for organizational and institutional purposes, not
human purposes, and is pushed by green-eyeshade types.)

Next came
globalization, complete with its arithmetic error and faulty economics.
Trade deficits, which used to be a stream of capital leaving the country,
became a mighty river of economic red ink. Private sector money began to
flow to communists, dictators, tyrants, and thugs.

Public sector money did
not carry over from guns to butter. The guns money was actually borrowed,
and we needed to first balance the federal budget, getting our fiscal
house in order. Laudably, Bill Clinton did so. Clinton was able to cough
up a multi trillion dollar surplus projection for the out years, and more
recently, Republicans came along and said, "We'll take that." If
the world was rooting for butter, the resources have instead gone into the
pockets of three-martini baby boomers in America.

This, without even
fixing social security first. Baby boomers also expect to retire, when
Generation X picks up the tab. This will require a 40% tax hike upon
Generation X workers.

We could not review
America's lost decade without mentioning American working families. They
were hit the hardest by globalization, as they watched their factories
close and their jobs move overseas, at a needlessly accelerated rate. How
wrong would it have been if, in the early 1800s, politicians looked around
and said, "Hey--there's an industrial revolution. We don't need
agriculture any more"? It appears, more recently, that American
politicians looked around and said, "Hey--there's an information
revolution. We don't need industry any more." It was wrong, and the
dislocations handed to American families are unforgivable.

Post-Sept. 11, it is
notable that budget deficits are back, as is an arms buildup. We have had
a complete spinning of our wheels; political progress since the 1980s is
non-existent. It is as if nothing has happened since the Cold War, except
that there are new multilateral trade bodies, enabling the end-around of
key American fundamentals.

Prescriptions for the
above situation might include dropping the multilateral bodies;
generational equity; fiscal responsibility; trade deficit awareness; and
backing movements for freedom and democracy around the world. If we
befriend the world's people first and their governments second, then the
world's dispossessed will feel less attraction to the commission of acts
of terrorism.

John Kusumi is a former Presidential candidate (Ind.,
'84); founder of the China Support Network; and CEO of XDC
Software. The China Support Network continues and invites response at


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This is a bit sick
08 Feb 2002
I guess that John likes wars against Muslim more than he likes a budget that would address many needed social problems. A new war and the repression of American freedoms is the only thing that this better government has given us. Thanks a lot.

And somehow John has missed the entire war against Iraq that has gone on for only 10 years.

The politicians that we have now are the same one we had before the new war, and the are now no better nor are they any worse. They are the same scoundrels who will vote for wars whenever it will boost their poll ratings.