America In Decline, Sowell Says, Citing Spending And Int’l Policy
By DAVID HOGBERG, INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY Posted 09/22/2010 07:17 PM ET
Early in his administration, President Reagan confidently asserted that “America’s best days lie ahead.” At the time it was true, but noted economist Thomas Sowell thinks it’s no longer the case.
In his new book, “Dismantling America,” Sowell argues that this nation is becoming one that many Americans no longer recognize as the country they grew up in or expected to pass on to their children and grandchildren. Rather, like Rome, America may be entering a prolonged period of decline.
Sowell sat down with IBD recently to discuss the political, social and economic forces that are leading to this decline and what, if anything, can reverse it.
IBD: What are the markers of national decline? What characteristics are different from a few decades ago that if they don’t improve will lead to this country falling apart?
Sowell: One of the most serious current signs is the governing style of this administration, which is to impose as many things as possible on the public from the top down, without even letting them know what’s going on.
Huge bills that fundamentally change the way the economy op erates have been rushed through Congress without hearings, without debate, and so fast that not even the members of Congress have a chance to read them. That’s circumventing the notion of a constitutional government, and that’s really at the heart of what the country is. The only analogy I can think of from history is when the Norman conquerors of England published their laws in French for an English-speaking nation. The utter arrogance — you’re not even to know what the laws are until it is too late.
Reckless spending is another. The deficit and the national debt, as a percentage of GNP, is higher now than it was during any time except World War II. Moreover, once World War II was over we stopped the spending and started paying off the existing debt. We’re going in exactly the opposite direction.
Of course, the one that trumps them all is on the international scene. That’s where Iran is moving toward nuclear weapons. I’m just staggered at how little attention is being paid to that compared to frivolous things. If a nation with a record of sponsoring international terrorism gets nuclear weapons, that changes everything and it changes it forever.
Someday historians may wonder what were we thinking about when you look at the imbalance of power between the U.S. and Iran, and we sat there with folded hands and watched this happen, going through just enough motions at the United Nations to lull the public to sleep. That, I think, is the biggest threat. Read the rest…