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Consequential change

Amidst the turmoil of voter suppression legislation, the trial of Derek Chavin, signs of yet another Covid 19 surge, Joe Biden remains focused on transformational change. It's yet another example of maintaining eyes on the pig picture and not getting bogged down in things that are beyond his control. Of course the issue of voter rights is critical and avoiding yet another surge is important, but on the issue of Covid 19, Biden is powerless against people's stupidity and selfishness. All he can do, is surge vaccination and appeal to people not to put fellow Americans at risk. Frankly, many simply don't care and this is a sad reflection of current American societal values.

Change does not come from minor adjustments at the fringe of policy making. It comes from brave steps to effect transformational change and Biden knows that. He learned from the bitter experience of the Obama years, not to fall victim to an obstructionist opposition, determined to undermine his every effort. He has proved with the introduction of the American Rescue Plan, that massive change can be delivered with careful thought and good policy planning. Now he is quickly moving to the second step of his plan for change.

The reality is, this next step is not a given. The Republicans are fighting for their political life and any big win for Biden and the American people, is a big loss for the GOP. The huge number of state laws being passed in 43 states attempting to place a thumb on the electoral scale, is part of the response to what Republicans know will be politically very damaging to them. It's hard to believe the GOP is willing to sacrifice democracy and the welfare of the American people to regain power, but that is the politics of the day.

According to the World Bank, the United States is forecast to have the largest infrastructure investment gap to 2040 – the difference between investment needs and current trends in investment – of $3.8 trillion, double the next largest of China at $1.9 trillion, followed by Brazil at $1.1 trillion and Russia at $0.7 trillion. Anyone who sits around thinking Trump made America great is delusional. For any economy in the modern world to grow, high speed Internet is a prerequisite and yet 35% of the US has no access to it. The problem is, for large swathes of rural America, it is simply not profitable for carriers to get service to these communities. This means that government has to step and fill that gap.

America needs to stop living on past reputation and accept that over the last four years, Trump dismantled its global influence and moved towards an insular old technology outdated economic model, based on fossil fuels, and exploitative cheap labor. In the UK we have a saying ' All fur coat and no knickers'. In other words, what appears on the outside is not representative of what's underneath. America has some huge problems that go way beyond its racial and social divide. For a country to be truly great, it has to have world class infrastructure. It is the fiscal blood-flow of any economy. At the moment, the US has economic heart disease and without intervention, it is operating at a fraction of its potential capacity.

Much is said about China and what a corruptive force it is in the world. There is no question that it engages in abhorrent human rights violations and operates using questionable ethics, but there is good reason no G20 country has even attempted to seriously challenge this economic giant. It drives the global economy and without it's growth, there is a challenge to the global economic order. Why is this important? Because, while the US has been absent on the global stage due to Trump's intellectual deficit, China has continued to expand influence in key potential growth economies. The harsh reality is, America no longer has the influence it had and these issues with challenging democracy and the perceived racial and social unrest, has placed a question mark around the credibility of the US.

It's easy to sit there and say 'We are the greatest', the reality is, this is far from the truth. What puzzles me, is the GOP's position of 'More of the same please', at any cost. I know economics is not Kardashian and therefore not a hot topic of discussion for everyday Americans, but it is the engine that drives the prosperity of the nation and this hillbilly Republican approach to not repairing a bridge until it collapses, is not the way forward. The pandemic has provided a year of reflection in which dynamic economies like China have retooled and are already forging ahead, while US opposition politicians talk about socialism, trojan horses and a 'radical left' agenda. In my view, this is reflective of old white man politics that refuses to embrace inevitable change.

You can disparage China and condemn them for stealing IP and being the general bad guy, but the US and the rest of the world jumped into China when they thought there was a chance to exploit their economic development. However, now they've watched and learned from your exploitation and turned the tables on you, you want to cry foul? The moral high ground can be cold and blustery place, as you contemplate the mistakes you've made, but while you cry into your drink, the Chinese are enjoying a glass of champaign at your expense.

to be continued........


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