Jay relates below Milton Friedman’s observation that “there’s a lot of ruin in the United States” — in other words, that we can withstand bad economic policies for a long time, given our accumulated wealth. But in the Wall Street Journal today, Nick Eberstadt raised the concern that erosion of American character is the greater problem:
The prospect of careening along an unsustainable economic road is deeply disturbing. But another possibility is even more frightening—namely, that the present course may in fact be sustainable for far longer than most people today might imagine.
The U.S. is a very wealthy society. If it so chooses, it has vast resources to squander. And internationally, the dollar is still the world’s reserve currency; there remains great scope for financial abuse of that privilege.
Such devices might well postpone the day of fiscal judgment: not so the day of reckoning for American character, which may be sacrificed long before the credibility of the U.S. economy. Some would argue that it is an asset already wasting away before our very eyes.
Ejecting President Empty Chair is not sufficient to change this. But it is necessary.