I just watched this weeks Bill Moyers Journal on PBS it’s an excellent interview with Andrew J. Bacevich author of The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism. You can Watch & Listen to it online and there is also a full transcript of the interview on the site. Below are are couple of excerpts to wet your appetite.
BILL MOYERS: You intrigued me when you wrote that “The fundamental problem facing the country will remain stubbornly in place no matter who is elected in November.” What’s the fundamental problem you say is not going away no matter whether it’s McCain or Obama?
ANDREW BACEVICH: What neither of these candidates will be able to, I think, accomplish is to persuade us to look ourselves in the mirror, to see the direction in which we are headed. And from my point of view, it’s a direction towards ever greater debt and dependency.
This reminds me that I haven’t sent you two readers to Tyler’s blog in a while, he very often points out what should be obvious realities to rational minded folks but that most US citizens just don’t want to face. Check out this post from a few weeks ago for a good taste of this, Elementary, My Dear Pwoggie. Now back to Bill & Andrew.
BILL MOYERS: And this is connected, as you say in the book, in your first chapters, of what you call “the crisis of profligacy.”
ANDREW BACEVICH: Well, we don’t live within our means. I mean, the nation doesn’t, and increasingly, individual Americans don’t. Our saving – the individual savings rate in this country is below zero. The personal debt, national debt, however you want to measure it, as individuals and as a government, and as a nation we assume an endless line of credit.
As individuals, the line of credit is not endless, that’s one of the reasons why we’re having this current problem with the housing crisis, and so on. And my view would be that the nation’s assumption, that its line of credit is endless, is also going to be shown to be false. And when that day occurs it’s going to be a black day, indeed.
I couldn’t agree more!