like obama, i think that things are never as good or as bad as they seem. this documentary gives us the doomsday scenario regarding our economic system – we’re too far in debt to other countries and that’s going to lead to our becoming china or, at the very least, china having far too much influence on our decisions. they compare this to post-wwii uk and their handling of the suez canal crisis in 1956. the uk was forced to give into american demands because the u.s. held so much of the uk’s debt that the u.s. could have done massive economic damage to the uk if they didn’t do as we wished. the primary difference between that and the us/china relationship is that the us still has more military power than any country in the world. when push comes to shove, military power is more important than anything else so i reject the idea that the u.s. is going to fall apart economically because of our debt.
i also think that the u.s., being the largest single global consumer, has a great deal of power that the uk has never had. so that’s the good, the bad is that reagan, bush and now obama have gotten us into such amazing levels of (absolute) debt that we really are in trouble. i don’t buy many of the projections that the documentary put forth showing us being in debt to the tune of 200% of our gdp in x number of years because i’ve found that long term projections are incredibly inaccurate. for example, clinton’s projection that we would run a surplus for the next 25 years under his economic plan. yeah right. it assumes far too much and doesn’t account for things outside of our control – 9/11, katrina, earthquakes, changing presidents/congress, global factors, etc. it’s absurd to project that far into the future, quite frankly. so much of those projections can change with increased energy independence and health care reform. even slight improvements in those areas have exponential dividends 25 years down the line.
so, the documentary is good to call attention to a serious issue, but i don’t think it’s as bad as they say it is.