This article - condensed from The Weekly Standard - is based on syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer's 2009 Wriston Lecture delivered for the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research in New York on October 5.
There are, of course, major threats to the American economy. But there is nothing inevitable and inexorable about them. Take, for example, the threat to the dollar (as the world's reserve currency) that comes from our massive trade deficits. Here again, the China threat is vastly exaggerated.
In fact, fully two-thirds of our trade imbalance comes from imported oil. This is not a fixed fact of life. We have a choice. We have it in our power, for example, to reverse
the absurd de facto 30-year ban on new nuclear power plants. We have it in our power to release huge domestic petroleum reserves by dropping the ban on offshore and Arctic drilling. We have it in our power to institute a serious gasoline tax (refunded immediately through a payroll tax reduction) to curb consumption and induce conservation.
Nothing is written. Nothing is predetermined. We can reverse the slide, we can undo dependence if we will it.
There are things to be done. Resist retreat as a matter of strategy and principle. And provide the means to continue our dominant role in the world by keeping our economic house in order. And finally, we can follow the advice of Demosthenes when asked what was to be done about the decline of Athens. His reply? "I will give what I believe is the fairest and truest answer: Don't do what you are doing now."
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Weekly Standard via DCExaminer