Jewish World Review Jan 6, 2012/ 11 Teves, 5772
2011: Out with a whimper, not a bang
By Victor Davis Hanson
It proved as hard to break up the bankrupt
Meanwhile, the world's failed states, such as
If tottering states can keep convincing successful nations that they are willing to suffer a lot to make their betters suffer a little, then they win a little political clout, some small influence -- and a little more time to cause others misery. What is needed for these volatile countries to survive another year is to occasionally test a nuke, shoot off a missile or threaten to obliterate a neighbor. Kidnapping some foreigners or sending out terrorists works, too -- any sort of occasional taunting just short of provoking
Solyndra, Climategate II, and the discovery of massive new finds of American gas and oil have for now postponed the promised era of the government-subsidized windmill and solar panel. In 2011, there was no more talk of cap-and-trade and new public/private green companies, but instead discoveries of oil and gas in unlikely places such as the Dakotas and
The great story of 2011, however, was crushing public debt and how it was incurred -- and how it is to be paid back. The imploding
So were the common patterns of blaming "them" for our own self-created messes. Abroad, the insolvent European nations faulted the thrifty Germans as too greedy. Here at home, the "1 percent," millionaires and billionaires, corporate jet owners and fat cats were supposedly responsible for making too much money at the expense of others. But even if the 1 percent of top earners paid half, rather than nearly 40 percent, of all income taxes, we still could not afford to spend as before. Relief will not come from printing more money or explaining away the debts as an accounting problem, but by tightening our belts and encouraging individuals to create wealth for themselves, and in the process for others, too. Paying back each billion in debt will prove far slower and harder than was eagerly borrowing each trillion we now owe.
In 2011, President Obama expressed a desire to be re-elected on the grounds that he inherited a mess from
The year 2011 taught us that when things logically should not go on, they usually don't -- though they end not with a bang but with a whimper.
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Victor Davis Hanson, a classicist and military historian, is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a recipient of the 2007 National Humanities Medal. Comment by clicking here.
© 2012, TMS