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A New Year’s resolution: Don’t accept US decline

The media are full of reports of the worst decade, America in decline, the end of the US century. Actually, much points to a hopeful future.

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Can’t quite settle on a New Year’s resolution? How about this: Resolve not to repeat the media’s mantra of America in decline.

The airwaves and netwaves are full of reviews of the decadem horribilis – a decade of terror attacks, two hot wars, hurricane Katrina, a great recession, a record federal deficit, and more.

The common conclusion is that the American sun has set, much like the end of the British, Ottoman, and Roman empires. 

That’s, well, nonsense.

There’s no denying that these past years have been tough for many in the United States, especially military families and the unemployed. But focusing on decline blinds one to the deep well of renewal that has always defined America in difficult times. Accepting a fall as a fait accompli avoids the opportunity to learn from mistakes. It obscures facts that would encourage.

The US is still the world’s largest economy, though fast-growing China moved up to third place in 2009. Despite US trade and fiscal deficits, the dollar remains the world’s reserve currency. The World Economic Forum ranks the US as No. 2 in global competitiveness, and still No. 1 in innovation. That’s hugely important, because new ideas spark new industries and jobs.


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