THE TRUTH ABOUT AMERICA
by Dene McGriff
Will America boom or bust? Is debt and hyperinflation going to destroy the dollar? Will the Yuan or Euro replace the dollar as the world's reserve currency? Is America in decline? Or are we on the verge of the greatest boom in history? Is America a light to the world or does it have a more sinister prophetic role to play?
We just published a book, The Final Babylon, and introduced it at the Prophecy Summit in Colorado Springs. It was interesting that one of the few objections were with my conclusions on the economy. I said that if America is the Final Babylon, it will endure to the end as a superpower and as the seat of the Antichrist. This goes against the tide of thought that America is of no prophetic importance and therefore must decline. It is also why most people believe the common line that America is an economic disaster just waiting to happen.
There are good reasons why America will not disappear but that doesn't mean the average American will prosper. The past 40 years we have seen the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. The course of the world financial system is not sustainable in the long run, but there are factors that will strengthen America's place in the world, and even when the house of cards falls, it will be replaced by a cashless one world economy headed by America, The Final Babylon.
In this article we will look at what is likely to occur. One thing is certain. Change is in the wind. History tells us that most people don't react until it is too late. Doug Krieger met a Syrian from Damascus ten years ago and told her that the country was going to implode. She laughed just like the Jews did. Hitler published Mein Kampf in 1925 and laid out his whole plan in great detail, including the extinction of the Jews. No one took him seriously, even until it was too late. The Bible tells us that the greatest tribulation the world has ever seen (Matthew 24:21) will happen in the last days but the warning goes in one ear and out the other.
We live in uncertain times. Whether an attack comes from within or without, from weather, earthquakes or sunspots, our modern life depends on electricity, transportation and modern communications. It depends on a government that is honest with its people and has our best interests at heart. Oh, did I strike a chord? If we are in the "last days" difficult times will come. We can count on it. Some "preppers" and survivalists are taking this seriously but very few Christians are concerned. What are the chances there will be a serious disruption, if not major disaster in our lifetime?
There is a great resource called the Survivalkey. It has information on how to survive a natural disaster, martial law, war or a terrorist event. It contains hundreds of books, thousands of articles on every aspect: from disaster planning, water, food preparation, gardening, farming, storage, shelter, evacuation to security, alternative energy, first aid, hunting, fishing and much, much more. This is called persevering with intelligence. Do we continue to pretend that nothing bad will ever happen? Or do we get ready? What kind of help can we be to others if we are not prepared?
It is our contention that we are living in the "last days" and all we have to do is look at Israel and what is happening in the Middle East to confirm that there isn't much time left. If a billion Muslims have their way, Israel will be destroyed. Israel is the prophetic "canary" in the coal mine. The whole world, including the United States is focused on that one spot. And if this is the prophetic "end", we know there will be unparalleled tribulation and persecution.
The Good News - America will Survive and Thrive
In our recent book The Final Babylon, I made the case that if America is the final expression of prophetic Babylon, it will survive and thrive to the end. Many, especially Christians, expect America to decline because they don't see any mention of it in Bible prophecy. They see America weakening because of its economic recklessness, the over extension of its empire or its moral decadence. This raises some very valid points. What will the future for America be? What will happen to the average American? Their futures may be very different.
In a recent article I wrote titled "Global Game Changers" I noted that America is on the verge of a major boom in oil and gas production. America has more oil and gas than all the nations of the earth combined - at least 10 trillion barrels of oil. The Green River shale field alone has between 3 to 5 trillion barrels of oil. Just to give you an idea of the size of that, Saudi Arabia has 267 billion barrels of oil. It is estimated that all of OPEC only has 1.2 trillion barrels of oil. We have no idea how this will change things for America but it should wipe out debt and make us the largest exporter of oil and gas in the world. Within a year, America will be the largest producer and exporter of oil. At the same time, it is estimated America has 2,632 trillion cubic feet of natural gas which is about half the world's reserves and more than a hundred year supply. The numbers keep getting larger by the year with improvements in technology and exploration. As every living thing dies, it becomes the fuel for more gas and oil production. This makes America incredibly wealthy, and as I pointed out in the previous article, it puts the Middle East in a difficult position since it takes nearly $100 a barrel to maintain their present life syle. As these supplies come on line, the price of oil will fall dramatically. American debt and deficits will be history. This doesn't mean the financial system won't ultimately collapse because it will and when it does the Antichrist will have plans for a "one world" cashless monetary system
You don't hear much about America's hidden wealth on the news, or from the current administration which is doing everything it can to slow things down. Why? I don't know, but they can't stop development of private land. The powers that be probably don't want to stop the energy wealth generation. They just want to keep it from us. This changes everything. It guarantees America's position as the wealthiest nation in the world. Some would argue, how about China or India? China is a disaster waiting to happen. It has over produced and over built. Cities, neighborhoods and factories are empty and abandoned. You have seen it on "60 Minutes". India and China have potential as long as they can keep labor inexpensive and expectations low, but the weight of billions of people to provide food, water, clean air, jobs and housing will keep both of these giants in a scramble to just survive.
America may thrive but that doesn't make it any less of a target. Just look at the mess we are in with Syria - kind of a "no win" situation. If we "punish" the government, Hezbollah, Iran and other allies get mad at us. If we don't the opposition and Al-Qaeda are upset. If Israel goes into Iran and we support them, the entire Muslim world is mad at us. No matter how you cut it, if we do too little or too much, we will get the wrath of the Islamic world. How do you protect a free and open society from terrorism such as a cyber attack, EMP (electromagnetic pulse) or a major power disruption that could do as much damage as any bomb. This could disrupt power, communications and transportation and result in the total breakdown of our fragile and complex infrastructure. Food would run out in days and riots and chaos would follow.
So think about it for a moment, what is the probability that something like this could happen in the next five years? Do I think this would utterly destroy America? No, the essential wealth and infrastructure would remain in tact but many people would starve to death or be killed by lawless gangs in the process. The end result would be martial law and the end of freedom. But if America is the Final Babylon, it has a far more sinister role to play.
Is America the Final Babylon?
Let's take a a quick review of our Book. The Bible describes a great prophetic country that is apostate "Christian", a great consumer nation and the world political, social and economic power. In the book we call America the Final Babylon. In our 360 page book, it has the following characteristics:
- America is considered to be a "Christian" nation. Three quarters of Americans consider themselves to be "Christian." Europe is more secular and "post-Christian". Many immigrated to America seeking religious freedom. In their zeal, Churches have sent missionaries all over the world.
- America is an interesting dichotomy. It is also the center of the Greco-Roman World and the ideals of the "Enlightenment" as seen in her monuments and government buildings, writings and legal system. It is a strange blend of the secular and religious. Today the church is increasingly becoming more secular. This is described in great detail in Revelation 17.
- Revelation 18 describes a great consumer nation that all the nations trade with by sea and become rich because she buys the merchandise they produce. There are certainly no other nations that fit all of the criteria described, a nation so dominant in commerce.
- Revelation 19 describes the most powerful military nation in the world. The U.S. spends the most and has the missiles, ships, aircraft and worldwide bases to prove it. See In Search of Babylon or the book The Final Babylon for more detail.
- Finally, most Christian scholars agree that Daniel 9:27 speaks of the Antichrist signing a Defense Treaty with Israel and later breaking the treaty and turning against Jews and Christians (we have written about this extensively on our website). Doesn't it seem strange to you that Obama decided to get congressional approval before taking any military action against Syria? Could it be that he needs more national and international support? Could it be that this action is merely a cover or excuse for Israel to take care of Iran's nuclear program?
If America is the final Babylon, the apostate Christian, consumer nation, with great military power and a friend of Israel, then she is not going to disappear or fade off into the sunset as many believe. In fact, America will become even stronger in the last days and wreak much havoc around the world. Although we argue that America will do well as a nation, the average American may not do so well. No, our course is not sustainable and will call for a “New World Order”.
The Bad News
In The Final Babylon we conclude that the "Final Babylon/America" will survive and thrive to the very end (the final judgment clearly pictured in Revelation 18 and 19). This will largely be funded by our wealth of natural resources, especially in oil and gas. America is still the dominant military and economic power by far without even a close second. If the world were to rock on for a few hundred years, obviously anything could happen. We don't have a few hundred years. Israel came back to the land just in time (1948) and this generation will not pass away (three score and ten or 70 years) until all these things come to pass. Do the math. We are not date setters like Harold Camping, but we do pay attention to the prophetic scripture and it is written for our benefit. If these time frames are true and the Seventieth week of Daniel is about to commence and this wraps up around 2025, we don't have that long…we could be talking about 2018 as the commencement of Daniel’s 70th Week!
Now here is the bad news. America may continue as a world economic and military power but that doesn't mean things will fare particularly well for the average American. The biggest criticism of our book comes from people who look at the direction of our country and they say, "this is not sustainable." Surely hyperinflation and disaster are just around the corner. They say this vortex of debt cannot continue. I would agree that our debt is not sustainable except for the massive new oil and gas resources that have been recently discovered. However this economic miracle does not trickle down to the average person. The elites will become fabulously wealthy but the rest of us will become poorer and poorer.
Whether there is a great conspiracy or not, "We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." (Ephesians 6:12) It is hard for us humans to realize that we are not alone. There are good and evil spiritual powers all around us and we are participating in a cosmic struggle between God and Satan and we are living on the battle ground right here on earth. We are about to witness the end of this battle in our lifetime - the tribulation and final judgment. Meanwhile, America-Mystery Babylon-- will carry out its role in the end. Prophecy will be fulfilled to the letter!
So what does that mean for us? What about the economy? When it comes to banking and our economy, there has been a struggle from the beginning. Thomas Jefferson said, "“The central bank is an institution of the most deadly hostility existing against the Principles and form of our Constitution. I am an Enemy to all banks discounting bills or notes for anything but Coin. If the American People allow private banks to control the issuance of their currency, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the People of all their Property until their Children will wake up homeless on the continent their Fathers conquered.” This is a statement you could hear today.
One of my favorite books is "The Creature from Jekyll Island," the history of the Federal Reserve. For a brief explanation of its history, please see my chapter on "Modern Alchemy, the Money Illusion". Since the Federal Reserve was formed in 1913, the dollar has lost 98 percent of its value according to the chart. This is the biggest tax we will ever pay. When I got married in the mid '60s we lived on about $200 a month (apartment, car, full-time college student). Today we barely make it on $3,500 a month. The difference is pure inflation. Yes, there is a problem and it gets worse every day.
Inflation is the most subtle thievery ever conceived by man. It is like heart disease - a silent, insidious killer. Americans have the illusion of wealth as the new $10,000 annual income becomes $100,000. This is the danger of central banking. But beyond the massive loss of purchasing power through inflation is the blatant manipulation of the markets. Every time there is a recession or so-called "market correction" the smart money wins and the average investor loses. These crises are engineered on purpose. Let's look at a few:
- The Savings and Loan Crisis in the late 1980s resulted in the closure of half of the S&L's and the loss of $500 billion.
- Black Monday, on October 19th, 1987 I was in the JFK airport on my way to Spain. Travelers were glued to televisions in the waiting area watching the greatest one day fall in the history of the markets, $500 billion off the Dow in one day.
- The Dot.com bubble burst in 2001 and the Nasdaq Composite lost 78 percent of its value. Like the other crashes, this resulted in massive losses of nearly $8 trillion in individual portfolios and retirement funds.
- The housing bubble resulted in another $14 trillion in losses initially and homeowners are still suffering from the losses with 30 percent still under water on their loans.
- Then we come to the 2008 market crash losing $1.2 trillion in a single day resulting in untold trillions in losses. Look at the ten worst stock market crashes in history. Again, this hit the individual investor, the retirement and pension funds the worst.
So who is hurt and who is helped in these crisis? The little people, not the "puppet masters." The last crisis was definitely the biggest because the $1000 trillion (quadrillion) derivatives market almost imploded. Derivatives are complicated. I explain them in this article but suffice it to say that they are highly leveraged financial instruments such as mortgages that are packaged and sold and resold. The actual value stays the same but the debt grows dramatically. Once the daisy chain is broken all the loans unravel and become due. This is why we saw trillions being funneled into investment companies, banks and even insurance companies. AIG funneled billions to banks in the form of derivative swaps (insurance).
Contrary to popular opinion we are experiencing deflation rather than inflation. Inflation is too much money in circulation which causes prices to rise but that is only the actual money supply (M2). Deflation is when excess assets such as real estate have been blown up to bubble proportions and then lose value. The deflation we are experiencing is the result of the destruction of assets. There is tight money. It is hard for people and business to get loans. Why are banks so tight with loans? What are they doing with the money they have? They are blowing more bubbles.
While the real estate bubble has been deflating, the banks have been busy blowing up more bubbles. In the past few years we have seen a spike in commodity prices in metals (gold, silver, copper, etc.) oil and in crops such as corn, soy, etc. This chart the banks have been manipulating prices of all commodities. In 1933 the Banking Act referred to as the Glass-Steagall Act was passed. One of the major causes of the Great Depression is that investment and commercial banking were combined. This allowed the bank to invest depositors' funds in whatever they wanted so when the bank failed, the depositors' money was lost as well. The Glass-Steagal Act separated banking and investment.
In 1999 during the Clinton Administration, this act was repealed allowing banks to "play" with depositors' money again. From this time forward, derivatives (the selling and packaging of investments) took off. The 2009 Dodd-Frank Bill would have reinstituted Glass-Steagall but it didn't pass the House. The Federal Reserve took this even further by passing a new rule. This rule meant that not only could the bankers trade stocks and paper commodities (i.e. futures, options and derivatives) with depositors' money, they could also buy, hold and warehouse commodities. Thus, we see these huge spikes in commodities.
Let's take oil for an example. Banks took some of the trillions in free money from the Fed, chartered oil tankers and parked them off shore until the price of oil went up and then sold them to refineries. They were so successful that the price of oil per barrel spiked at nearly $150 in 2007 before plunging back to $33 in 2009. We now see it back up to over $110 a barrel. But banks and OPEC are running scared. They know that the U.S. has tremendous reserves coming on line, many times more than all of OPEC combined and that the price is about to plunge again. Once that happens you will see another bubble burst and the fall of "too big to fail" banks.
So I'm predicting another financial crisis but not the hyperinflation the experts expect but more deflation that will ripple through the economy as the price of energy drops. There will be bank failures unless they are bailed out again. Banks have desperately tried to manipulate these markets but a huge amount of oil from all over the world is coming on line - not just in the U.S., but Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil, the North Sea, Australia - just about everywhere they have ever found oil in the past plus new fields.
Besides the problems we see in the Middle East with Syria and Egypt, it will trigger even more destabilization throughout the region when the price per barrel falls to $30 a barrel or lower. Funding for terrorism will dry up. We will see one final gasp called the Gog-Magog War.
I hope dear readers that you can grasp what this does to the world geo-political map. America is about to become fabulously wealthy. China will remain a sleeping tiger, still a tiger but quite overweight under the burden of taking care of such a huge population with the traditional disparity of wealthy coastal areas and the poor interior. India and the rest of Asia will represent no challenge. Europe will depend on Russia for energy and will remain divided between the wealthy north and poor south and never become a cohesive unit. The true European melting pot happens to be across the pond in a place called America.
But what about "we, the little people" who inhabit this great land? No one will tell you the truth about this new found wealth. It is all about lies and deception. You are told the government is irresponsible, spending us into the grave and that we must sacrifice even more. The coming bank wipeout will come out of your savings, your investments, your retirements and you will be looking at the short end of the stick again. The government will probably save the banksters and investment gurus once again - for the greater good, of course. The government will never tell you that they allowed the banks to steal your wealth.
What is our future?
You see where I am going with this? America as the Final Babylon will prosper as a political, economic and military power. But if we are living where the Antichrist himself is coming into power, things may not go that well.
Revelation gives us a clue as to where this is headed. " When He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come and see.” So I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine.” (Revelation 6:5-6) This is the third horseman of the Apocalypse. It refers to a time of scarcity, a time where the average person works all day to be able to buy basic food, but the rich get richer (and have oil and wine). In fact, you are probably familiar with the term "The Mark of the Beast" where the Antichrist "Causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name."
The world economic system has finally collapsed and been restructured so that people no longer need cash or credit cards but use a "Mark" to buy and sell. The Antichrist has come fully to power and we must worship him or else.
If this is the end there is no point in putting any hope in this world. But what about the time building up to this final commercial climax? If America is the Final Babylon it will hold onto its position as the head of the world system, but what of the people? Matthew 24 gives a very clear description of the events that will transpire.
- This is the period I believe we are in right now. "And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows." (Matthew 24:6-8)
- Next there will be persecution from within. "Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another." (verses 9-10)
- In three and a half years the Great Tribulation begins in earnest with the Mark of the Beast. "For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be."
Ever since World War II there have been wars and rumors of wars but famine, pestilence and earthquakes haven't affected us in the Western world. But it is about to - that and the erosion of our freedoms (which are little more than an illusion), and the growing specter of fear of terrorism (real or imagined) will give the government even greater power as the citizens become more compliant and willing to trade inconvenience for a sense of security (e.g. as we witness the sheeple passing through TSA airport security). Bioterrorism from within or without is a possibility. A strategically placed electro magnetic pulse (EMP) could take out all the electronics. Janet Napolitano, retiring head of Homeland Security. and other leaders and congressmen, have warned of sunspot activity or cyberwarfare that could take out the electronic grid of the country. How would anything work without electricity. Our stores have a few days worth of food and if there were a major disruption some estimate as few as 10 percent of the population would survive.
This is not to scare you but to get you to think about two things. First, is our hope in God or the things of this world? Down through history people's lives have been suddenly turned upside down. We here in the West have never experienced this and find it hard to believe that it could ever happen to us. Ever since Israel returned to the land in 1948 one prophecy after another has been fulfilled. What makes us think that this 6,000 year odyssey won't be fulfilled exactly as it is laid out in great detail in the Bible? Second, wouldn't it be prudent to do something, anything to prepare just in case? We Christians have read the end of the Book and know it all turns out in the end with a few bumps in the middle. But it is easy to be complacent and believe "God will take care of me" syndrome. If we know a seven year drought is coming, does it make sense to do nothing about it? Why were we warned to begin with? It's like the story of the farmer in Texas who was warned by the neighbor a flood was coming, followed by the police in a four wheel drive truck, then the boat and finally the helicopter. The farmer kept telling them that God would take care of him. He was finally swept off the roof and dies. He gets to heaven and asks God why He didn't take care of him and God says, "I sent the neighbor, the cop, the boat and the helicopter. What more could I do?"
It would seem prudent to look into some preparation. I mentioned The Survival Key in the beginning. There are many resources out there but this one puts it all in one place. I don't know about you but I can barely grow tomatoes, mow my
lawn and change a tire. What if, to be an effective witness, we need real survival skills? I wasn't raised on a farm. I'm a city boy. But our ultimate concern is not to be a survivalist, or to escape persecution or tribulation. Our concern is that we be ready so we can be an effective testimony and a blessing to those around us who didn't have the foresight or knowledge to prepare. But if we have done nothing to prepare and are scrambling to stay alive, how can we be a testimony?
I wrote this to make the case that if America is the Final Babylon and seat of the Antichrist it is going to guarantee a rough ride for the average person. America, as a nation, will survive and thrive. The cabal pulling the strings in the government and economy is sure to become even more wealthy and powerful with very little trickling down to the little guy. They will rule by force and by fear. "False flag" or real terrorist events, wars and rumors of wars will give the government the excuse it needs to take away freedoms in exchange for a sense of security. Americans will grow accustomed to a surveillance society until one day that catastrophic event occurs and the lights go out.
If America is that evil nation, the home of the Antichrist, wouldn't it be a good idea to frighten and deceive the people into submission? George Orwell's classic "1984" shows how government can maintain control by constant war, fear and strife. In the past century America has been on a war footing more often than not. President Eisenhower's warning of the military-industrial complex was certainly prophetic as is “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?”
Does anyone see it? Does anyone care? Is anyone preparing? Unfortunately, preppers and survivalists are marginalized as a bunch of "red neck" crazies who hunker down in a compound with their stash of guns anxious to take out anyone who comes after them. This is not what I'm talking about. It is sensible and rational to believe that a major event will one day throw the country into chaos and make survival a major issue. If a skeptic were to program a super computer with social, economic, political and global data and ask it what are the chances a major calamitous event will take place in the next few years, even the computer would say 90% probability!
Are we in a loving, supportive community of believers who are willing to pour their lives out for the Lord and others? If not, we had better get serious. I have written a novel titled Gideon's Chronicle (which can also be found on our old website) that follows a group of Christians and Jews who find themselves in the middle of the tribulation. It was interesting for me to see it unfold and begin to imagine the kind of problems people will have. Most people live desperate lives in a world alienated from their neighbors with few friends or people they can really count on.
The bottom line is this. We are in the last days and Israel has its back against the wall. Muslim nations do not want a compromise. They want to destroy Israel. and anyone who would help her. The prophetic clock is in motion. Our own government is lying to us, manipulating the news, the economy and our lives. Can we trust anything in this world? We have the wonderful privilege to be a part of these events, but we at the Tribnet are also beginning to realize that this means we have time to get ready, time to find people of a like mind, time to take advantage of the peace and plenty we have at the moment.
You may recall the story of Joseph who was sold into slavery in Egypt and worked his way up to being the Pharaoh's right hand man. Pharaoh had a dream which Joseph accurately interpreted as seven years of plenty and seven years of famine. Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of the project to use the seven years to get ready. In the same way, we have been given time to get ready before our Joseph/Jesus reveals himself to the world and the nation of Israel when He comes at the end of the coming seven year tribulation. What a glorious time that will be especially for those who make it to the end, for those who are alive and remain when He returns . (I Thess 4:17)
The following article came out on September 18th and is a perfect confirmation of my thesis above. It was in response to an article by Bill Bonner the previous day titled "Racing Toward the Zombie Apocalypse". Bill is one of my favorite writers and the co-author of "Financial Reckoning Day" and editor of The Daily Reckoning. He sees things ending badly. Justice Litle takes the contrarian view I share.
A Tale of Two Americas
From the desk of Justice Litle, Editor, Strategic Wealth Report
Full disclosure: I’m one of those glass-half-full analysts Bill is talking about.
In fact, through my macro investing newsletter, Strategic Wealth Report, I am betting heavily that American declinists have got it wrong. Again.
For one, because the new US energy boom is a game changer. It will extend America’s geopolitical... and economic... dominance well into the 21st century.
Make no mistake: The 21st century will belong to America. Not to China. And not to the ailing BRICs.
Yes. America is an “empire,” much like the British Empire and even the Roman Empire. But those empires lasted not for decades, but for centuries.
All empires fall. But sometimes they take 400 years (or longer) to do so. And true empires mature at a slow rate, at least on the evidence of history.
An empire can easily take 200 years to reach its peak. By that standard the US is an “adolescent,” to borrow from Stratfor analyst George Friedman.
We may not see full American strength – “Peak Empire,” if you like – until 2050 or so. That’s plenty of time for most investors to bet against the declinists... and clean up.
I find myself at odds with Bill on this. This is a strange place to be. There are few thinkers I respect more deeply.
But my ultimate commitment is to the facts as I see them… and to making outsized returns for my readers by aligning my investment recommendations with the major trends.
And when it comes to America’s current and future trajectory, I must respectfully disagree with the declinist argument.
Let’s look a little closer at Bill’s argument for America’s decline. From yesterday’s Diary:
"What counts is not how much energy you produce, but what you do with it. As stable societies mature, they tend to use their energy less efficiently. Energy is wasted complying with regulations… paying for lobbyists… filling out tax forms, dodging taxes… and supporting zombies."
True. There is a reason why oil is known as “the devil’s tears”… why many oil-rich countries are awful places to live (let alone start a business)… and why many poorly governed countries find that oil riches are a curse. (Look at Venezuela.)
It is also generally true that inefficiency and waste rise along with wealth. Mature societies can get fat and lazy. This is certainly the case with Rome. And America is not without its problems in this regard.
But this is not always the case... And America’s increased energy efficiency is a fastball pitch straight down the middle for the “bullish on America” case.
In spite of being a mature economy, the US is still the most efficient and productive countries on the planet. And its efficiency is growing, not shrinking.
Skeptical? Excellent. Consider the following: In 2012, America used less oil than we did in 1973.
Think about that. Not only is US oil production at quarter-century highs (thank you, North Dakota and Texas), but also US crude oil consumption is at multi-decade lows.
It’s truly amazing. Last year, Americans used less of the gooey black stuff than when Nixon was president… than when Roberta Flack, Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross dominated the charts… and less than when the US economy was one-third of its current size.
The Blind Men and the Elephant
How is this possible?
There are some simple answers. We’re driving less. (More people living in large urban areas). The cars and trucks we drive are far more fuel-efficient. Our factories are more energy-efficient. Our supply chains are better run.
But there is a deeper answer too: There are not one, but two Americas.
I suspect it is this “two Americas” paradigm that explains why Bill and I disagree on the future of the US.
We are looking at two different parts of the same whole. Like the blind men and the elephant: One holds of the trunk. The other has the tail. Neither understands that these two objects are part of the same beast.
There is the “Zombie America” Bill sees… and the “Dynamic America” I see. These two Americas co-exist. But they are very different.
“Zombie America” is bloated, indebted, poorly run, and generally a shambles. This is the America epitomized by Washington DC. It is also the America that, sadly, you probably know first-hand. It is a land of welfare checks, bureaucratic red tape, and political cowardice.
But there is another America that is dynamic, efficient and, quite frankly, amazing. An America that is No. 1 in technology, entrepreneurial flexibility, resource extraction, knowledge growth, rule of law, property rights and asset wealth.
And this is why I remain bullish, despite Bill’s valid points. In my view, it is this second America that is more important.
Are there zombies walking among us? Absolutely. Is there an epic waste and debt build-up with Washington at the epicenter? Yep. Are there millions of Americans struggling to pay their bills as the painful but necessary transformation to a “knowledge economy” leaves them behind? Sadly, yes.
The Zombies Won’t Win
But “Zombie America” is no match for “Dynamic America.”
Did you know that America is projected to be the lowest cost manufacturer in the Western World by 2015? And that our edges in energy and technology are what will enable this? Did you know that China is projected to lose its low-cost labor edge to Africa and Central Asia within the next decade?
Technological prowess and resource availability (not to mention intellectual property and entrepreneurial dynamism) are huge advantages. Dynamic America has these advantages in spades. No other country even comes close.
The US is not going to get “rich” off of oil. The US is already rich. Domestic oil and gas is simply going to help us extend our already massive advantages.
So shed a tear for Zombie America… but raise a glass to Dynamic America. Because it is this second America that will carry the first like a 400-pound linebacker with a tiny racehorse jockey on his back. Just as it always has.
In fact, Dynamic America is just rolling up its sleeves…