Saving America

Is it already time to save America?
And (if yes) – who is able to do that?

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I haven't read any news during last few months. Recently I looked through a few articles in different оn-line resources and the impression is: almost everything goes wrong in the US, in the world under the “leadership” of the US, and nobody knows why this happens and what to do. Actually, nobody understands even whether a particular news is actually “good” or “bad”.

I always see the news as separate pieces of one big puzzle. What is depicted on it is unknown, so it is hard to assemble individual pieces into the whole. However, we all sail in the same boat, bearing the name “the United States of America”, so all events are interconnected and are just the consequences of some major causes. One of those main causes right now is Disintegration. Remember this word because it indicates what we all should expect in the future.
Everything in our civilization - from traditional family and businesses at microlevel to different countries and international organizations at macrolevel will disintegrate. At microlevel this disintegration is almost unnoticeable, though you may recollect that first same-sex marriage was legally acknowledged in Minnesota in 1971. The disintegration at macrolevel is well-known for a while under the name "deglobalization" and recently became very noticeable due to coronavirus pandemic.

If there is a beginning, there will be an end.
Human civilization has reached its peak of integration/globalization, I think, in 1950s-1980s (establishing the United Nations Organization in 1945 and UNESCO, WHO, NATO, GATT/WTO, etc. later) and entered a period of disintegration in early 1990s (a breakdown of Warsaw Treaty Organization and USSR, both in 1991).

Please, look at the events of recent months (and years) with this keyword in mind. Then all of the current (and future) local and global news will fit into the puzzle easily.

1. President’s Build Back Better Plan.
President Biden failed to implement $3.5 trillion Build Back Better Act because of opposition from his fellow Democrats which is a split in the party.
The bill has been trimmed to $1.75 trillion. As always, social and climate programs were cut - providing free community college, instituting a clean electricity standard with penalties for utilities that don’t comply, expanding the Child Tax Credit, Medicaid and Medicare - mostly because of the position of Sen. Joe Manchin. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema opposed hardly to the Democrat’s plan of increasing in the corporate tax rate to 26% and a returning to the pre-Trump top individual tax rate of 35%.
Who is right (the “good”) or wrong (“the bad”) here – Mr. President or obstinate Senators – is unclear like almost everything in the news now. The correct answers are “both” and “none of them”. To see the truth you need to look at this particular question from the higher level in time. For example, through the lens of the next news - the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan.

2. The US troops withdrawal from Afghanistan.
At the end of August 2021, the US finished withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan. Right after that, Taliban quickly took over the country. The US has spent $2.3 trillion in Afghanistan, more than 2,400 US service members and over 46,000 civilians were killed there.
What for?
To find and punish Osama bin Laden for “September 11”, which was maybe right thing to do, but then the US and their allies remained in Afghanistan for supporting a new “democratic” authority in the country and kept doing that for 20 years which costed around $2.3 trillion to American taxpayers. The aggregate financial cost for all post-“9/11” wars for the US is over $8 trillion.

$8 trillion spent for necessary (unnecessary?) wars far away from the US… And President Biden’s economic recovery plan (named Build Back Better Plan) of initial $7.3 trillion, aiming infrastructure development, creating clean-energy jobs, housing, education, economic fairness, health care and fighting Covid-19 ...
Was the game worth the candles?

That reminds me Soviet–Afghan War of 1979-1989. I remember the official version of the invasion was “it is almost a war right next to our border and we are forced to intrude”. It was never called “a war”, but “international duty” and the Soviet troops there were always called “a limited contingent”. Anyway, around 15000 Soviet soldiers were killed during those 10 years as well as about two million Afghan civilians, and around 35,000 of Soviet servicemen were wounded. The defeat in Afghanistan and the costs of the war have contributed to the collapse of the USSR in 1991.

All rich countries (or countries that consider themselves as “rich”) inevitably start spending money on unneeded and often silly things - wars, helping "brother nations", joining different alliances, and funding ambitious projects instead of taking care of their citizens.

Individuals with superfluous money, by the way, behave in the same way - investing in risky projects, endlessly marrying and divorcing, resenting insufficient attention, abusing drugs and alcohol...

All that usually ends badly. Look at the majority of so-called “celebrities”.

3. President’s rating.
The Quinnipiac University Poll showed an average rating of only 38% for President Biden in October 2021.
Most Americans are unhappy with his performance on the economy (55% vs 39%), fighting coronacrisis (50% vs 48%), immigration (67% vs 23%), withdrawal the troops from Afghanistan (58% vs 34%), etc. Falling Biden’s (and Democrat’s) rating points out to a very possible Mr. Trump’s (and Republican’s) revenge in 2024. Biden is clearly failing at running the country.
And no one can handle it, much less Mr. Trump. The fact is that the problems in the U.S. did not start with former President. He couldn't so much damage the economics (and politics) in the US alone and within just 4 years. So everything was ready for Mr. Trump and "guided " or “crony” capitalism was already in operation for a good while before his presidentship. As a good provocateur, Mr. Trump simply sharpened the problems of the US.

4. Debt ceiling crisis.
In October 2021 long-lasting US debt ceiling crisis showed up again. It is around since 2011 (the first time the United States reached the point of near default on public debt).
Now Republicans don't want to raise the limit on how much the US government can borrow, and Democrats used to do it before. In the future, the sides will switch places again. Ordinary Americans do not pay attention to the routine procedure of raising the borrowing ceiling, but that crisis is a sword of Damocles, hanging up over the heads of all Americans.

First, US people are the ones who have to pay that debt off (now it is almost $29 trillion) because the government has no money. So as of December 2021 every US citizen owes about $87,000.
Second, incurred debts tear any union (family or country) apart and the US is not an exception to this rule.

Now the decision of raising the debt ceiling is moved to December 2021 and it may explode then or later. Democrats and Republicans hate each other and they will finally not agree that ceiling of borrowing somewhen down the road, so the question is not about whether it will happen or not, but just when.
The consequences are: bankruptcy of the federal government and temporary paralysis of the country with a stock market crash, a spike in inflation and unemployment, a drop of USD, failure to pay money to federal employees, pensioners, and the unemployed. Federal workers again will have to sell their personal belongings like they did in 2018 during the federal government shutdown.
This will be the financial collapse of the federal government and most likely the breakup of the United States into the groups of states, which is not a tragedy, but a natural process of splitting apart of a too large and inefficient structure.

Many Americans will ask themselves how all that could happen and why afterwards just like a lot of people did in former Soviet republics after the crash of the USSR.

5. Coronavirus and deglobalization.
Leading experts believe that coronavirus will transition in 2022 to an endemic disease, cause outbreaks like measles or become a seasonal respiratory disease like influenza.
However, mankind cannot even count the exact number of deaths caused by coronavirus. According to official statistics (Johns Hopkins University) there were 5 million+ deaths since January 2020, but The Economist estimated that quantity about 17 million because the governments underestimate the mortality rate. How can we defeat the coronavirus if we don't know the real situation?

In late November, a new variant of the coronavirus, Omicron, was found in South Africa. It is considered to be more contagious than Delta, so the thing to understand is: all that is here for a long while, if not forever. We don't have enough letters of the Greek alphabet to name all new strains. Viruses have their own evolution and have been living on Earth longer than humans. We need to get used to living in masks, showing to each other the vaccination certificates from 6 feet distance. The era of disintegration began in 1990-s, but nobody really paid attention until the coronavirus severely disrupted the global way of living in 2020.

Globalization began with the development of aviation in the early 20th century. The Wright brothers created the first motor-operated aircraft and made first successful flight on December 17, 1903. All nations really became physically closer to each other since then (according to Einstein’s spacetime theory), so aviation is the necessary attribute of globalization. And 100+ years later coronavirus hit air traffic the hardest. Airlines suffered huge losses and have not recovered until now.

One more product of globalization (as for me) are Olympic Games. Olympic Games 2020 in Tokyo were postponed because of COVID-19 pandemic for the first time in the history (some previous games had been cancelled but not rescheduled).
However, the tendency was visible before that. Wikipedia states that “ … at least four cities withdrew their bids for the 2022 Winter Olympics, citing the high costs or the lack of local support, resulting in only a two-city race… Thus in July 2016, The Guardian stated that the biggest threat to the future of the Olympics is that very few cities want to host them.”

This is Disintegration at work.

6. The UN Climate Change Conference (COP 26).
It took place in Glasgow in November 2021. I was surprised to find out that there has been some progress in this direction. However, around 80% of the Earth's energetics is powered by fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas), so we cannot switch to harmless energy sources easily and quickly. Also for the global fight with climate change, all countries must agree on this issue, and then start to act in this direction. However, each country has its own interests. People in general are very short-sighted and unable to compromise, not to mention the joint actions. The UN Climate Change Conference (COP 26) showed that negotiators did not trust each other. Indeed, why to spend money on climate if China (Russia, India, etc.) won't do the same? Everybody has other urgent problems.
So at Glasgow more than 40 countries have agreed to phase out their use of coal-fired power, but big coal users like the US, China, India and Australia were missing from the deal.

There is another important reason why the US refused to sign the agreement at COP 26 as it is pointed out by Jeffrey D. Sachs, an economist and Professor of Columbia University:
“Despite the worthy pleas for action by President Joe Biden and Climate Envoy John Kerry, Biden has been unable to push the US Congress to adopt a clean-energy standard. Biden can complain all he wants about China, but after 29 years of congressional inaction since the Senate ratified the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1992, the rest of the world sees the truth: America’s broken and corrupt Congress remains in the pocket of Big Oil and Big Coal.”

Democracy literally means "rule by people" in Greek. It turns out that this is how American democracy works: the US people elect the Congress, which is actually run by Big Oil and Big Coal. No wonder President Biden fails. And anyone else would.

7. Wealth Tax.
In the end of October 2021 the US Senate Democrats proposed a new kind of wealth tax - people with $1 billion in net worth or $100 million in annual income would be taxed each year on the increase in the value of many of their assets. I didn’t pay much attention to the article (I knew that wealth tax was a still-born child), but due to it I found a very interesting The NY Times briefing from David Leonhardt about the same issue.
He confirms, that the rules of the game are rigged in the US.

David Leonhardt gives a very clear example:
«Most Americans pay an annual wealth tax on their largest asset. It’s called property tax. Each year, they pay an amount equal to a small percentage of the estimated value of their house, and a house is by far the most valuable item that most families own.
The very rich are different. While they pay property taxes too, their homes tend to make up a tiny share of their net worth. The bulk of their assets are not taxed».

That is why «… Today, the wealthy both own a much larger share of the country’s assets than they once did and pay less tax on each dollar of assets. This combination creates problems for everybody else».
Injustice, deception, and ongoing division of the country into a very rich minority and a poor majority. These are the causes of the US major conflict which worsens over time and will inevitably tear the country apart.

And the enactment (which I don't believe in) of the Wealth Tax will not change anything by itself.
- The point is not about the wealth tax itself, it's about how it is going to be spent. The government distributes the budget without asking the citizens, аnd the citizens are not interested to know about that (which is the worst). Meanwhile, the national debt of the United States is already almost 29 trillion dollars and the US government is not going to pay that debt off. The Americans do not know about that debt or do not understand that this will simply be increasing their taxes until the collapse of the country.
- If this Wealth Tax proposal somehow becomes law, the final version of it will be so much modified by editors that it will no longer be a "wealth tax”.
- American journalist and political advisor Sarah Chayes correctly says that America has “a government system where billionaires get to write the rules".
Billionaires will not let the US Congress to write the rules against them.

Who can change the rules of billionaires?
Mr. Biden is a part and parcel of the US elite for almost 50 years, that is why he cannot do anything against the system.
Mr. Trump is billionaire by himself.

As a matter of fact, any future U.S. president, billionaire or not, will be a DP or RP appointee. No one can become a president without the approval of the US elites. And the US elites do not need to change anything, they are fine.

Only people of the United States can change the rules of billionaires. However, the Americans are very busy with everyday earning money (which depreciates faster than it is earned) and even do not notice that the rules are rigged. Thus, from my point of view the US nation keeps on splitting from inside, not seeing its growing division and inevitable collapse in foreseeable future.

So is it already time to save America?

P.S. Dear Reader! I am very much interested in your opinion on the subject of this article. Please, write a comment or ask a question if you want to clarify something.
Igor Chykalov
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