February 16th 2008

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Articles from this issue:

FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Battle lines drawn for US Presidential race

EDITORIAL: Mitsubishi closure a blow to our manufacturing

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Will Rudd summit achieve anything?

BIOFUELS: Sugar industry - execution by policy madness

NATIONAL AFFAIRS: EI inquiry hears of more quarantine failures

ECONOMIC AFFAIRS: The lessons of the past we so quickly forget

STRAWS IN THE WIND: A new Bunyip intelligentsia? / Paddy McGuinness dies / The homeless

ASIA: Re-shaping Asia: The Great Game Mark II

INDONESIA: More good than bad: Suharto (1921-2008)

FATHERHOOD: Making men redundant (and harming our children)

FAMILY POLICY: Family-friendly policies at risk

REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH: Melbourne doctor's bid to decriminalise abortion

UNITED STATES: America's wrong course

LEADERSHIP: Five keys to democratic statesmanship

Demise of The Bulletin (letter)

Re-opening of South Gippsland rail? (letter)

Foreign intervention (letter)

The "more committees" fetish (letter)


BOOKS: CLASSICS: 62 Great Books from the Iliad to Midnight's Children, by Jane Gleeson-White

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America's wrong course

by Patrick Buchanan

News Weekly, February 16, 2008
Real wages of working men in the US have not risen in 30 years.

With two-thirds of the nation saying the country is on the wrong course, the Democrats and Republicans are offering candidates both of whom played major roles in setting that course. And neither probable nominee has advanced ideas to deal with the crises America faces, nor even shown any great awareness that the country is in crisis.

The first crisis is fiscal, with the Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid costs about to break the bank as the baby-boomers reach early retirement. Add the other entitlement programs, defence and interest on the debt, and this consumes perhaps 90 per cent of the budget.

No one is proposing cuts in any major component of the budget. Indeed, Mrs Hillary Clinton is promising universal health care and John McCain is promising an expansion of the military. Both favour a stimulus package of roughly $150 billion. As our savings rate is about zero, where are we going to borrow the money for all this?

A second crisis is financial. With the economy in danger of seizing up, the Federal Reserve has cut interest rates from 4.25 per cent to 3 per cent in two weeks. This has sent the dollar plunging again. A sinking dollar means surging prices for oil and all those foreign manufactures to which we are now addicted.

As the dollars pour out, nations have started to spend their dollar hoards to buy up this country at the fire-sale prices being offered in the global marketplace.

Then there is the crisis of the American middle class.

As economist Robert Reich writes, the real wages of working men have not risen in 30 years. Families maintained their standard of living three ways. Wives went to work. The men began to work longer hours than in almost any other developed nation. The family's equity in its home was then borrowed to sustain consumption.

- from Patrick Buchanan, "Tapped out nation", The American Cause, February 1, 2008.
URL: www.theamericancause.org/020108.htm

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