We are facing a Perfect Storm.
1. FOOD SUPPLY CATASTROPHE - Colony Collapse Disorder. The honey bees that pollinate our crops are dying off in huge numbers. We no longer rely on random pollination by whatever honey bees happen to be in the crop area. Farmers hire professional, itinerate apiculturists (beekeepers) to bring in huge numbers of bees to pollinate the crops. This is a $15 billion dollar a year business. But the bees are either dying off or abandoning their colonies. We are only beginning to understand why. Some commercial migratory beekeepers have reported losses ranging from 30% to 90% with remaining populations being weakened to the point of near death.
No bees mean no domestic crops. No domestic crop means more reliance on imported crops and MUCH higher prices.
Imagine the impact on gas prices if oil reserves suddenly dropped by 30% TO 90% and no one knew why. Expect the same impact on fruits and vegetables.
2. LABOR SHORTAGE CATSATROPHE - "Lou Dobbs Syndrome". Like it or not, our economy relies on workers (from Mexico, Central America, South America, Guam, all over) crossing the Mexican border illegally to work in our fields, on our roofs, in the construction industry, in our yards and all of the other places that even the poorest white trailer trash think they are "too good" for.
In our post 9/11 border security hysteria, we are going to put in place "safeguards" to keep these critical economical engines out of our country. Not only will we have fewer crops to harvest (see Number 1 above), but we won't have anyone willing to water and harvest what few crops we can still grow. This will drive prices up even higher.
Prices of fruits, vegetables and new homes will skyrocket.
3. WORLD WIDE MORTGAGE CRISIS - Sub prime Lending Meltdown.
"In a worst case scenario, the wave of anticipated defaults on sub prime mortgages and tighter lending standards could combine to drive down home values. That could make all homeowners feel a little less wealthy, contributing to a gradual decline in their spending. Less consumer spending eventually weakens the economy, prompting companies to start laying off workers in a vicious cycle that causes households to become even more frugal."
It gets worse.
When you sign a mortgage loan with a lender, that lender pockets the profits, and then they turn around (within hours) and sell your "risk" to someone else. Those "risks" are purchased in bulk by large mutual funds. Those mutual funds are purchased in bulk by foreign investors...like China. Those mutual funds make up the bulk of your 401k.
When people start defaulting on those sub prime, risky, APR loans, you start losing your retirement money. Making you more reliant on Social Security and Medicare. Possibly even solely reliant on government subsidence.
With the price of new homes skyrocketing due to a shortage of labor (see Number 2), and credit tightening due to the sub prime mortgage collapse, home ownership will plummet.
A decline in home ownership results in a nationwide reduction in the tax base translating to a reduction in government revenues at the federal, state, county and city levels.
Without that revenue the schools, fire, police, and general infrastructure revenues dwindle to nothing. Our cities and neighborhoods start to collapse around us.
4. OIL - $90 a barrel and climbing. We will see triple digit figures for barrels of crude before Dubya leaves office. Especially after he conducts an air strike on Iran's "nuclear facilities". Oh shut up! You know he will! Before this decade is out, we will see anywhere between $5-$10 a gallon for regular gas at the pump. It could easily cost you $150.00 to fill up your economy car. $200.00 to $250.00 and up for your F-150 or Hummer. You may as well wrap your lips around some Iranian dick and start sucking. How's that taste? Kinda like dates and goats?
5. HEALTH CARE - Every other industrialized, civilized country in the world has a Universal Health Care system. EVERY ONE! Not us. You only get health care insurance in this country if you have a job and can afford to divert a percentage of your income into the shared risk kitty.
No job? No income? Get sick? You're gonna die and no one cares.
An entire, multi-billion dollar industry is built around preying upon and profiting from people who just want to stay alive, live life and be productive citizens.
Bizarrely, staying healthy and productive and paying taxes in the richest, most technologically advanced civilization the world has ever known is not a given. It is a "privilege" reserved for only those wealthiest citizens who can afford the "luxury" of Good Health.
That is a barbaric, antiquated system that needs to change.
If The United States of America wants to portray itself as The Best and Most Advanced Pinnacle of Modern Civilization, then it shouldn't allow ANY CITIZEN to go without the best medical care that our modern science can provide.
6. OLD BABY BOOMERS - Because of the all of the above issues, you are going to have a WHOLE LOT of PISSED OFF old people who worked hard, invested in their retirements, tried to do the right things to make themselves self reliant and now find themselves with no 401k, no personal savings, no home equity and who are completely reliant on Social Security and Medicare. For any one under the age of 62, that means YOU will be supporting ME! Sorry, but that's the way they set it up back in the '40's and no one since has had the balls to change it.
Sucks to be you. Sucks to be me, too.
YOU will be paying for our housing, our transportation, our food, our recreation, our medical care and our diapers.
7. MILITARY EXHAUSTION - During the Cold War, our military doctrine had always required a military strong enough to fight a war on two fronts. Anticipating the Soviet Union in Europe and Red China in Asia. With a National Guard held in reserve for domestic defense.
Well, we are fighting two wars (Afghanistan and Iraq) and we have no domestic reserve left because we are using the National Guard and mercenaries to fight wars that we can't afford.
This has left us with a limp military dick. We are exhausted. We cannot go anywhere else and everyone knows it.
Sure, we could lob a load or two at Iran. But it would just piss them off, further destabilize the Middle East, cause the increase in the price of oil to go into warp speed and alienate even more of our allies. And we couldn't back it up with any boots on the ground because we don't have any left.
It is time to bring our troops home, invest in some new unmanned technology, heal our brave men and women, and rethink our global strategy.
In the meantime, everyone in Washington needs to SHUT THE FUCK UP and quit making threats that everyone knows we can't back up.
8. INCREASE IN TERRORISM - Our "War on Terror" has been a fucking disaster. Yes, there were terrorists before 9/11. Yes, we were right in pursuing said terrorists into their al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan.
But there were no terrorists...repeat after me...NO TERRORISTS inside Iraq before we got there!
Because Saddam was a fucking ruthless dictator who didn't tolerate any terrorists!!
Now that we have overthrown Saddam and established "democracy", the place is completely overrun with terrorists who are daily honing their skills against the American Military Presence.
Something they never could have done before but can now. Because we weren't there before. Now we are.
We have handed "The Terrorists" everything they ever wanted on a Silver Platter.
We have been indirectly manufacturing highly trained, highly motivated suicide bombers and terrorists since the day we set foot in the middle-east.
We have done nothing in the past 6 years but increase and validate the reasons why people hate us. We haven't made any new friends. We have barely managed to hold on to what few friends we had. The few friends who still stick with us are only in it for the money. If the previous seven scenarios play out, we can kiss those friends goodbye too.
9. CHINA - China is the new Super Power. China WILL rule the world. China has one fourth of the world's population. Go Google Hong Kong. Imagine all of China as a Hong-Kong-like economic engine. There have been recent domestic shortages of mundane items like concrete and drywall because China and India are sucking them up like nobody's business. The United States and every other country in the world will be learning Mandarin and wearing silk. Fuck La Raza. You want your kid to succeed in the world? Make them take Mandarin instead of Spanish.
10. STREET CRED - We have totally lost it. We have spent the last 6 years bullying, and blustering and blatantly lying to everyone else in the world.
They all know we are full of shit. No one believes us anymore. We have left ourselves completely impotent and irrelevant on the World Stage.
Like The Greeks, The Romans, The Arabs, The British, The French, we are an empire in decline.
We will soon awaken to a world where we are the Blair-like lap-dog to the Chinese Interests which will drive our reality.
All civilizations collapse and are replaced by other civilizations. It has always been thus.
Americans (especially fundy, neocon faith-based Americans) seem to think that we are The Penultimate Pinnacle of Civilization and that we will never fall because we have God on our side.
Within just a few decades, possibly just two, we will be just another has-been empire, struggling to be taken seriously.
China, India and the European Union will be The New Triumvirate. The United States will be just a "voting member" that no one likes very much (mainly thanks to Dubya.). Whatever we vote for, everyone else will vote against. Just because. We will have the same clout and sway as Libya. The world already views Dubya on the same intellectual scale as Khadafi.
All empires fall, and we are clearly on the decline. We just can't seem to dig that whole fast or deep enough.