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Global Economic Intersection Article of the Week
Ever heard of the term "American Autumn"? It started on September 18, 2011, when a few college students camped out, occupying Wall Street. Since then, not only has the crowd been getting bigger, but also it has become a national movement, spreading to the big cities from Boston to Los Angeles. Although this movement does not look very serious at this time, some people are worried, comparing it to Arab Spring that has already toppled a few regimes in Middle East and North Africa.
I, too, am worried. Here is my position on this movement:
(1)Americans have many reasons to be frustrated. I especially have sympathy for the students, who are "$100K in college debt, but no jobs."
(2)They are protesting in a wrong place: Wall Street! They should be in Washington D.C., where the real problem is, so is the real solution!
Now, let me replay the rumored dialog between China's Mao and Richard Nixon in 1972:
Mao: "Aren't you worried about a revolution, as guns are so widely available over there?"
Nixon: "No. Revolutions are not caused by the guns, but by the smart people at the bottom. The American system allows the smart people to move up. So there will be no revolution in America."
Nixon was right, at that time! America has changed quite a lot since then. Here are two main reasons we all should be worried about American Autumn:
(1)High unemployment: More than 14 million Americans have been out of work for more than two years, with no relief in sight! Although the official unemployment rate is at 9.1%, the real number is much higher, perhaps above 15%. Worse yet, the unemployment rate for the young people, including recent college graduates, is even higher, definitely at the 20% range.
(2)America is no longer the "Land of Opportunities" as it was 39 years ago when Nixon met with Mao. In fact, America has moved decisively "from a nation of makers to a nation of takers, with more Americans work for the government than work in construction, farming, fishing, manufacturing, mining, and utilities combined."
Why is America in such a bad shape? It's the political system, stupid! America's antiquated political system is the #1 reason behind America's fall but we have yet to recognize it! Instead, we keep trying to fix some symptoms without addressing the root cause, making a bad situation much worse. Unconvinced? Think about this: On September 8, 2001, President Obama gave a big speech on his jobs bill to Congress. Here are two big problems with that speech: