It's Independence Day in
the United States - but this year,
Americans have less than
usual to celebrate.
For the Americans, it's a Dour Independence Day
its many street vendors, New York already appears more like an emerging economy
than a financial hub. And then there is the crumbling infrastructure and the inability
of politicians to find a compromise on pressing decisions. … In any case, Americans
won’t be defeated without a fight."
When was the American
Declaration of Independence signed? On July 4th, 1776 is the standard response.
America celebrates this day as its highest national holiday. However,
historians disagree about whether all the signatures were placed on the
document before August 2.
This year, the 2nd of August
could indeed be a historic day. If by then Congress doesn't succeed in reaching
an agreement to raise the debt ceiling, the United States may not be able to
borrow any fresh money.
Thus, the world’s largest
economy would have to do without over $40,000 per second. How is it that Benjamin Franklin put
it 235 years ago?: "Yes, we must indeed all hang together, or most
assuredly, we shall all hang separately."
U.S. citizens have in fact very
little to celebrate. The job market is stagnant; consumers are uncertain due to
the job situation; the mountain of debt is growing inexorably; and the real
estate market isn't moving. A bad joke that’s currently making the rounds on
the Wall Street trading floor goes, “You want to know what the U.S. will look
like in 20 years? Drive to Mexico.”
This means that the gap
between rich and poor is growing ever wider. With its many street vendors, New
York already appears more like an emerging economy than a financial hub. And then
there is the crumbling infrastructure and the inability of politicians to find a
compromise on pressing decisions.
Has the U.S. reached the end?
Emerging markets like China, India, or Brazil are achieving significantly
higher growth rates. Since the financial crisis, the Brazilian real has
appreciated about 45 percent against the dollar. En masse, wealthy Brazilians
are buying real estate in the sunshine state of Florida.
These countries have but one
overriding goal: they want to go where the U.S. went a long time ago. It will
be a long time before the gap between China and the U.S. closes. In research
and development, for example, the U.S. will spend three times as much as China
this year. In any case, Americans won’t be defeated without a fight. On this 4th
of July, that’s what the country will again remind itself of.
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