This might seem a tough time to celebrate Thanksgiving. The national mood is pessimistic. The economy continues to limp along. The failure of the supercommittee has come to symbolize the breakdown of not just governance but democratic politics. [Is this a subtle jab at the Democrats? Or, the failure of "small-d democracy?" Fareed, America is not a pure "democracy." We are a "republic," one in which the political power of our heavily populated, highly advanced urban areas is extremely limited by the over-representation rural areas/states in the Senate, and to a certain extent, the House of Representatives. Conservatives/Republicans tend to represent rural areas where agriculture, retirement, and/or resource extraction and refinement rule the local economy, while the Democrats generally represent highly urbanized areas where manufacturing, technology, finance, and information drive the economy. Thus, the economic and social priorities of our respective representatives can diverge wildly. James Madison called it way back in 1787 when he declared his concerns about the competing "interests" noted above. Wake up, Fareed. We have some major structural flaws, which de-industrialization and income stratification are starting to expose more clearly.]...
Yet there are reasons to be cheerful about the United States this week.
The United States continues to have the most dynamic economy in the developed world. We are enamored of Germany for having maintained its manufacturing base through timely reforms. [AND, they did whatever it took to KEEP their manufacturing base in Germany, rather than exporting all of their growth overseas]. That’s good, and we could learn a lot from other countries. But let’s note that Germany’s great companies are products of the second industrial revolution — from the early 20th century — clustering around cars, chemicals and machine tools. Germany has one notable company in the information economy, SAP. The post-industrial, information economy is dominated by the United States. The industries of the future, from biotechnology to nanotechnology, are dominated by the United States. The best research centers, universities and companies remain American. [BUT, the middle class JOBS remain in manufacturing, be it chemicals, cars, robots, or circuit boards.]
We also have the most dynamic society in the developed world. While Japan has entered and Italy and Germany are approaching a demographic death spiral, the United States remains young, vibrant and active. [Uh, what about China, Korea, Singapore, Taiwan? Or, are only "Western" countries "Developed?" And, if Germany is in a "death spiral," why is it sooooooo rich?]
Fareed, we love how you point out that Germany has only one major company involved in "the information economy." Yes, America has thousands. But, Twitter and Apple and Microsoft and Facebook don't employ nearly as many people as Siemans, Daimler-Benz, Volkswagen, BMW, and Bosch. Think about it, Fareed.
Frankly, we are tired of you and your new economy/free-trader friends trying to tell us how great outsourcing our industry to low-cost countries such as China and India is for America. It's only great for the top 1%. For everyone else, it's meant lower wages and benefits. AND, Fareed, you forget, when the plants close, the tax base shrinks, causing personal income and property taxes to rise, while funding for schools, public safety and infrastructure decreases. AND, even in biotech, profitable companies such as Pfizer and Zimmer recently cut thousands of jobs and plowed their extra profits into stock buy backs, rather than investing in new capacity or research.
Okay, now it's time for some good 'ol American hot apple pie....