Mortgage Rates Predictions - The Canary Is Dead! Warning Of A Deadly Threat To US Economic And Military Supremacy.

Mortgage rates predictions seem an unlikely thing to cause great concern. Sure, mortgage rates predictions are currently pointing upward, and mortgage rates themselves would undoubtedly be higher than they are if it were not an election year, but is that really something about which we need to be greatly concerned?

Back in the early days of mining, before there were sophisticated machines to measure air quality, miners would carry a canary in a cage with them. The silent, undetectable, poisonous gases common in coal mines would kill the canary long before they reached levels dangerous to humans. When the canary dropped dead - it was time to get out of the mine!

Mortgage interest rates have gone up before, indeed they were double their current levels back in the late 80s and early 90s, and nobody was talking then about any threats to the position of the US as the dominant economic and military power in the world.

Why are rising mortgage rates predictions now equivalent to the canary falling off its perch?

So, What Is So Different This Time?

Let's take a step back and look at the broader picture.

Mortgage interest rates are indicative of interest rates generally. The movement of interest rates helps to smooth the changing cycles of supply and demand for credit, be it mortgages, credit cards, business borrowings, or auto loans.

As such, there is nothing in mortgage interest rates themselves to cause concern. There have been times when mortgage interest rates were much higher than they are today, and the US military-industrial complex powered ahead regardless, with consumer spending bouncing merrily behind.

It is not the current mortgage rates which care the cause for concern, nor even the mortgage rates predictions pointing to rapid increases in mortgage interest rates after the elections in November, predictions of mortgage interest rates as high as 12% in the next decade. These figures in themseves are not the issue, stressful as they may be to the next generation of home buyers.

The real cause for concern is actually to be found in the underlying causes of the upward pressure on interest rates at this time in history.

Economic Power And Military Power

There is a close connection between economic power and military power. A strong military can allow a country to control economic resources and protect them against attack - anything from raw materials like oil, gas, iron ore, and mineral sands to industrial resources like aluminium smelters and factories.

A strong military can allow a nation to ignore the demands of weaker nations for equal access to international resources, for free trade, for environmental responsibility, and even to ignore demands to adhere to UN resolutions against going to war.

A strong military is very expensive, though.

There was a time when a nation's military consisted of its people, armed with their tools - pitchforks, scythes, axes and the like. Each nation was completely in control of its own supply chain - although it did have the effect of restricting the length of miltary operations to that period between planting and harvest, lest the crops fail and the army starve the following winter!

Professional soldiers require a functioning economy to produce food and equipment for them, and enough wages to support their families.

Modern warfare requires not only the soldiers themselves, but masses of incredibly sophisticated and expensive weaponry, surveillance systems, and transport. No one nation controls all the raw materials required to build, for example, nuclear submarines. This means that isolationism is no longer an option for a nation which wants to maintain a strong modern military. Trade is an absolute essential as part of the process of supplying one's army.

In order to trade, one must have goods to exchange, or hard currency with which to buy the required products and materials.

An expensive hobby ...
An expensive hobby ...

What Happens When The Economic Engine Fails

Recent history has provided an object lesson in what happens to a state held together by a strong military, when the state loses its economic power.

The USSR in the 1980s was suffering from internal weaknesses in its economy, coupled with the crippling cost of maintining is occupation of Afghanistan against mobile resistance fighters armed with the USSR's own captured weaponry.

In the ultimate irony, the USSR's own heat-seeking misslies shot down hundreds of the USSR's attack helicopters, until the USSR could no longer afford to replace them. Blinded by either arrogance or an unwillingness to face the magnitude of the problem, the Politburo presided over the sudden, catastrophic collapse of the entire USSR government apparatus.

Soldiers and public servants went unpaid, state assets were stolen and sold off to the highest bidder to keep some families fed and warm through the winter, and situations of complete farce were commonplace - such as the (nominally State-owned) electricity provider cutting off the electricity supply to the (nominally State-owned) Dobrovnik submarine base, because it hadn't paid its electricity bill.

Almost overnight, the USSR ceased to exist as a meaningful power on the world stage. The Berlin Wall came down immediately. Such is the power of economic ascendancy in maintaining military ascendancy.

Worrying Sounds In The US Economic Engine

Since 1989, the US has held almost unchallenged economic and military ascendancy. The government, and indeed the people of the USA, have come dangerously close to assuming this state of affairs is a God-given, permanent and unassailable ascendancy. Such an assumption would be hubris, one of the seven deadly sins, and would be as short-sighted as the members of the Politburo were in the early 80s.

The US sailed through the high interest rate period of the 80s and 90s on the back of high levels of covert operations spending and an open war in the Middle East supporting the military-industrial complex, while high consumer confidence and rising house prices maintained the domestic economy through the occasional recessive dip.

At that time in history, the US dollar was worth just about twice what it is worth today against international currencies, particularly those of the other Western democracies like Europe, England and Australia.

This meant that the US was paying half what it pays today for its imports, leaving aside any real price increases, like the recent oil price rises.

The sub-prime crisis was a disaster waiting to happen from the moment that house valuations came loose from the actual sale prices of houses. If it is possible to buy a house worth, say, $100,000 in pre-foreclosure for $50,000, then what does the valuation of $100,000 really mean? It doesn't mean the house is worth $100,000 on the open market - not if pre-foreclosure sales are common. And indeed they are, even in good times. These days, there are so many distressed sales going on that nobody in their right mind is paying full price (ie valuation) for a house in the US at the moment.

What the valuation of $100,000 really means is that a lender will advance you at least $80,000 if you offer the house as security. As long as you keep making the payments, nobody has to admit that the house is not REALLY worth $100,000 on the open market.

The whole US financial system is built on the premise that these houses are worth their valuations, and if that house of cards comes crashing down, the US economy will implode. Of course, the bankers and politicians know this, and there is no way such a situation will be allowed to come to pass. The government will keep writing checks to bail out lenders until the housing market settles.

But where is that money coming fom? It's not as though Uncle Sam has a piggy bank. The US government is in debt to the rest of the world, as is the US economy in general, through business borrowings and overseas borrowings by lenders.

In essence, Uncle Sam is printing money, and we all know there is only so much of that you can do before you get rampant inflation. The world knows it, too, which is why the US dollar has lost 25% of its value against the other major currencies over the past year or two.

The Changing World Stage

There have been some major changes in the world economy over the past two decades - the period of the unrivalled economic and miltary supremacy of the US.

Most significantly, the two most populous nations on Earth, China and India, have started to reap the benefits of a systematic approach to economic development and the education of their growning middle classes.

Yes, there are sill millions living in grinding poverty in both nations, but it not China and India's poor who will rock the foundations of the world order - it is their educated middle classes. There are already more university graduates in India than there are people in the United States. Given that the average American, even a college-educated American, would have trouble naming the capital of India and placing it correctly on a world map, there is a growing disparity between the two nations in terms of future potential.

The children are the future - teach them well and let them lead the way.
The children are the future - teach them well and let them lead the way.

The Sleeping Giant - Education

The ladder from weakness and poverty to strength and wealth has always been education. America's greatness over the past 50 years has rested largely on the output of highly educated researchers, engineers, and scientists, working on well-finded projects to develop computers, rockets, and even nuclear weaponry. Along the way, a wide range of by-products were spawned from these projects, including plastics, robotics, and a wide range of medical tools and treatments.

Back in the 50s and 60s, the USA was the pinnacle of academic and scientific endeavor. A degree from Harvard, MIT or Stamford was unquestionably a passport to success. The cutting edge thought leadership was taking place within the shores of the USA, fuelled by a generation of kids growing up watching the space race, dreaming of being astronauts, and partaking of the great American dream of college education for all who had merit.

These days, with scholarships harder to come by, the reputation of science continuously being undermined by religious zealots, and the absence of a grand national vision equivalent to putting a man on the moon, education is not valued for its own sake, nor for the grand journey of research and discovery. Instead, students are flocking to accounting, law, and other transactional disciplines, their aspirations being not so much to change the world as to land themselves a good, secure job with health benefits.

The performance of any nation over the next 50 years will depend on a small number of vital factors - its access to raw materials, its ability to process those raw materials locally (or pay to have them processed by another nation), and its ability to innovate, that is, the quality of its research and development.

The key areas of research which will be vital in the future are biotechnology (alternative fuels, new medicines, better food crops and production methods) and engineering (particularly quantum computing and quantum materials, which are very cool and will change the world).

For the past 30 years, both China and India have been playing catch-up in the education stakes - at first, sending their brightest students abroad to be educated, then inviting Western universities to set up campuses within their borders, and finally gowing their own crop of academics and researchers. Westerners have scoffed at the quality of graduates from these programs, but over time two trends have steadily become visible - rising standards in education in both China and India, and falling standards of education in the US.

Which form of education will deliver the next generation of scientific geniuses?
Which form of education will deliver the next generation of scientific geniuses?
Creationism flirts with evolution in an attempt to explain the obvious question - how many dogs were on the Ark?
Creationism flirts with evolution in an attempt to explain the obvious question - how many dogs were on the Ark?

The Achilles Heel Of The USA

Just as the mightly hero Achilles had a fatal weakness - and in fact today it is still called the Achilles tendon, and cutting it will cripple any person - the mighty USA also has a fatal weakness.

The USA has handed control of its most important strategic asset - the education of its children - to the ignorant masses. Elected school boards and community busybodies have managed such unthinkable atrocities as banning the teaching of the process of natural selection, or the requirement that "intellgent design" be taught with equal seriousness as though it were supported by equivalent evidence.

When the nature of scientific inquiry is so mutilated in the minds of children before they even reach high school, they are behind the curve in the realm of science forever more. Students in the US routinely test below the students of other English-speaking nations at every age on standardised tests of mathematics and science. The USA has given away its one great advantage - thought leadership.

Believing its current position on the world stage to be unassailable, the USA has ceased to "reality check" against other nations and has indulged in a self-focused orgy of backward superstition masquerading as freedom of religion. The greater the sense of entitlement and arrogance, the further the attention of the US has slid away from international reality and toward domestic scandal and religious posturing. Yet international reality is very, very worrying.

How To Survive If The Worst Happens

The Worrying Reality

The US Federal deficit is blowing out - again.

The falling dollar is raising the price of paying interest on that debt in real terms.

The growing middle classes in China and india are putting growing amounts of tax revenue into the hands of those governments. China is already buying up companies which control oil, gas, and gold reserves around the world.

The falling US dollar is also raising the cost of imports, and putting upward pressure on interest rates.

The rising price of oil, the flow-on inflationary effects, and the rising cost of imports again put upward pressure on interest rates.

The sub-prime crisis, or as we should call it the financial crisis in general in the US, will require massive Federal bail-out on an unprecendented scale to prevent a complete collapse of US housing values. This bail-out will itself put further downward pressure on the US dollar and thence upward pressure on interest rates.

A weaker US dollar makes it harder for US companies to buy up strategic reserves in other parts of the world - and makes publicly listed US businesses potential targets of hostile take-over bids. Especially US companies involved in oil, gas, gold, or emerging technologies.

Rising interest rates will affect consumer confidence and consumer spending, resulting in a recession - but with ongoing inflation, the dreaded "stagflation" of the early 70s revisited.

At some point, the ability of the US to carry on printing money and borrowing from the rest of the world will reach its natural limit. Until that time, the US will remain strong in appearance, maybe even militarily stronger, just as the USSR did in the 1980s.

It is unthinkable that the US economy might collapse to the point that the US is unable to maintain its military supremacy - just as the fall of the USSR was unthinkable in 1988.

Can this man save the USA from disaster?
Can this man save the USA from disaster?

Mortgage rates predictions trending steadily upward are the warning bell. The canary is swaying dangerously on its perch.

This time, the US economy is not rocking and rolling strongly. This time, the US dollar is not riding at an all time high. This time, the US government is not in a position to fund two or more multi-billion dollar wars at once. This time, the US is like a family which has been living in its credit cards for several years.

At some point, there will be nobody willing to advance the US any more money, or at least the interest rates required to service the loans will get higher and higher. The US will be caught in a spiral of international debt the likes of which has never been seen before.

The end result, if no action is taken, will be a financially crippled USA unable to do more than defend its own borders, if that.

The standard of living will decline drastically in the US. The wealthy and educated will either retreat to havens like Manhattan, which can be made secure against the masses of disaffected poor, or they will leave the US for more financially stable parts of the world like Australia - a place which is rich in natural resources, is geographically and economically close to the the rising economies of both China and India, is already home to many well-educated expatriates of both nations, and will therefore be able to effectively "piggy back" on the rise of those two nations.

The question which should be on everyone's lips right now, and being shouted to the halls of power, is not any self-absorbed and trivial question like "what are you doing to bring down gas prices?", "what can you do to help me pay my mortgage?" or "what are you doing to protect my child from Godless evolution-teachers in schools?"

The question which every American should ask their elected representatives today, and to which you should DEMAND an answer, is "how will you prevent the USA from losing its place as the dominant economic and military power on this planet?"

Images: striatic, jimbowen0306, DuckBrown, tinou bao, cell105, upyernoz, John Scalzi, MsLiberty, transplanted mountaineer

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Comments 22 comments

barryrutherford profile image

barryrutherford 8 years ago from Queensland Australia

Excellent work. You put a lot of thought and energy into this article...


Inspirepub profile image

Inspirepub 8 years ago from Sydney, Australia Author

Thanks, Barry!


pgrundy 8 years ago

This is excellent, just excellent. You've brought it all together in a very easy to understand way, and that is no small task. Thank you.

What frightens me is that it seems our leaders do not have our own best interests in mind. The fixes of the past year have been reactionary, seat-of-their-pants emergency measures, and there is no real effort to form policy to deal with the present mess or prevent a new one. This gives me the feeling they are just warding off the collapse until the present administration is safely out of office.

Sometimes it appears to me that special interests are busy picking the carcass clean while they still can. The land grab for offshore drilling strikes me this way, as does the recent plea of private equity firms for the Fed to relax banking regulations to allow them to invest huge sums in failing banks and then run them as they see fit. Banking regulations are in place for a reason, and private equity firms are hardly responsible, careful investors, but since no one else HAS a big pile of money laying around to save banks, I fear Bernanke will alllow this and 99 out of 100 people won't even notice let alone care.

We have to wake up and demand more from Congress and fast too. I work at a large regional bank and I see things up close and personal, and it's not good. I worry every day that we won't even make it until the November election. I've been in this mode since last November when it all started falling down, and it's exhausting. I think some people know, but lots don't. Thank you for this informative and necessary piece.


markat stbft profile image

markat stbft 8 years ago from Omaha, NE

Great info and thanks for sharing. I read a great book called the great depression of 2007. The author mentioned that we could be in trouble till 2020. The reason? Our habits and practices of the 1990, from the stockmarket to goverment policy and finicial deregulation. That is why we as a nation have to increase our own person savings and get ready for the worst.


Inspirepub profile image

Inspirepub 8 years ago from Sydney, Australia Author

Thanks for the affirmation, both of you. As far as I can see, nobody in government is taking this anywhere near seriously enough. This could be the end of the US as a superpower unless something is done, and soon.


Chef Jeff profile image

Chef Jeff 8 years ago from Universe, Milky Way, Outer Arm, Sol, Earth, Western Hemisphere, North America, Illinois, Chicago.

Excellent work, and from my point of view, right on the money!


Inspirepub profile image

Inspirepub 8 years ago from Sydney, Australia Author

Thanks, Chef Jeff!


privateye2500 profile image

privateye2500 8 years ago from Canada, USA, London

Very good work - people who like this hub may also like mine regarding the economy - these rather go hand in hand.

http://hubpages.com/politics/Gloom-and-Doom---it-i...

Keep up the good work!

Melanie


blogging2 profile image

blogging2 8 years ago from Florida

Wonderful hub, and my question is in reality with the media, and the lack of the masses asking the questions, is it too late?


Inspirepub profile image

Inspirepub 8 years ago from Sydney, Australia Author

Melanie, there is one thing which these predictions of doom and gloom miss, and that is the incredible ingenuity of those in power when it comes to protecting their way of life. I think a catastrophic collapse is less likely than a steady decline of the US from superpower in the 1990s to irrelevant ex-superpower by 2050 - much like the decline of Great Britain in the first part of last century.

blogging2 - it is definitely too late for some things. It is too late for the US to cement its position as a world superpower - that time is over, and in the future the US will have to be less arrogant and more consultative with other nations if it wants to get its way on the international stage.

It's not too late to save the US economy from complete collapse and disaster, though, and allow the US to remain enough of a force internationally to prevent China and India from totally dominating international politics.


dlarson profile image

dlarson 8 years ago from Priest River, ID

Excellent analysis!

I believe the politicos will protect their interests using the US military for a time. We thought we lost our freedom from the Patriot Act? Just wait...I think its going to get a lot worse.


Inspirepub profile image

Inspirepub 8 years ago from Sydney, Australia Author

Yes, dlarson, the military will be used - until the money runs out.

In Russia, the void left by the collapse of the miltary and police forces was filled by the only people with the money to pay for guns - the Mafia.

What will happen in the US?

I believe we have more checks and balances that Russia did - absolute power has its down side if it loses its grip - so I don't thing such a catastrophic collapse is likely in the US.

More likely it will be Britsh-style slide into mediocre irrelevance on the world stage.


Rik Ravado profile image

Rik Ravado 8 years ago from England

Jenny - this is excellent stuff. It is refreshing to read Hubs full of independant thought and reasoned arguments. The comparison between the US now and the USSR is an interesting one.

My only minor quarrel is the 'It will be a British-style slide into mediocre irrelevance on the world stage'. I'll have you know we still think we have an Empire. I think Uncle Sam's best bit is to join the 'British Commonwealth' (or failing that the EU)!:)


Inspirepub profile image

Inspirepub 8 years ago from Sydney, Australia Author

Thanks, Rik!

I know the British still think they have an Empire - so do the Americans ....;)

Governments in general are not noted for placing their best bets - the US won't join the EU unless it gets a veto ... LOL


knolyourself profile image

knolyourself 8 years ago from Bay Area, Ca

Great hub Jenny. My opinion on the way out is a new economy based on ecological innovation similar to the internet revolution. However the ruling classes have so much mind and money invested in this dead cow, that they will probably bring the whole thing down for the sake of their own self interests.


Inspirepub profile image

Inspirepub 8 years ago from Sydney, Australia Author

Well, if it all comes down, that isn't really in their interest, is it?

Put it this way - how much of the "old money" that was made in the Robber Baron days of the transcontinental railroad roll-out migrated relatively seamlessly to motor vehicles, telecommunications, computing, the internet, and biotechnology as each became significant in turn?

The flashy "stars" of any given industry might risa and set, but the "dark blue" Establishment money just seems to find the new "hot market" and keep on rolling.


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

I just found your hub. I seem to have arrived at a pretty similar picture of the world and America in particular. It is refreshing to see a full explanation in lay terms that all can read. thank you for your succint account. I am in awe of your ability to write so well.


Inspirepub profile image

Inspirepub 8 years ago from Sydney, Australia Author

Thanks, earnestshub! It will be an interesting decade or two.


issues veritas 7 years ago

inspire pub

I am reluctant to post a negative on your hub because it would be the only one, but I am compelled to do it. because while your hub is well done, it is also flawed.

For instance, your example about $100,000 being lent $80,000 for it, with the house as security. There is nothing wrong with that investment. Traditionally, market appraisals by the banks was very conservative. Meaning that the real estate broker selling this house would have it appraised at a lower figure. The reason was that the bank wanted as much equity as it could in making the investment in that property. So in those traditional days, banks were prudent in their investments. They also required a good credit check of the person that they were lending this money. So in this traditional banking world, these houses were really worth their appraisal figure and probably more than that figure.

 

As the population increases, housing has a hard time keeping up with availability of homes and private homes are a premium. There are enough people that can afford the property out there and then some.

What has happened in the US in the last few years was a departure from the traditional banking business and ethics. Part of the problem was the government, those that thought everyone should own a home, even those that couldn't pay for one. The second part was the greed of the young and the restless of the banking community that had a body greed percentage of 90%.

These were the same type of movers that created the stock market dot com, boom to bust. But they left way before the bust. Like the dot com, the housing/banking/credit boom was also artificial and doomed for bust as is any pyramid or ponzi scheme. Mortgages were restructured to be more like car loans than home loans. In the car loan scam, people think that if they get a low enough monthly payment, that is all they need to know. The problem with that reasoning is that it is the car loaner that makes the money. To give the car buyer the low monthly payment, they extend the loan term and even raise the interest rate. This is more profit for the loan company and more burden for the car buyer.

Shifting to the housing scam, the banks generated creative loans that deviated significantly from the stable 30 year fixed loan. The object was to get the loan payments down to what the buyers could pay or think that they could pay. The worst kind of loan was the negative amortized loan, where you paid less than you should have for the first year or two but the difference that you should have paid went onto the principal of the loan. So at the end of the year you owed ,more than the purchase price of the house in the case where very low or no down payment was used.

Rather than go through in detail, because this is your hub. My point is that the banks had no or very low equity given to many people that couldn't even afford those introductory payments. Then when the real payments popped up a year later they couldn't make them.

In the meantime, this low threshold of loans caused a rush on the housing market. This artificially raised the price of the homes because now anyone that could sign their name to a loan doc could purchase a house. The inventory of available houses went like a dollar sale for televisions. This brought out the Realtor and the home owners trying to cap on the increase in their home values. The more houses on the market the more loans, this was followed by higher prices for the next batch of homes to hit the market, and on and on.

Now these houses were not worth the paper that the appraisals were written on, but no one cared. All of these properties were mortgaged to the hilt and there was no equity backing them. At the same time, home equity loans were taken out by home owners who didn't want to sell their houses but wanted to take advantage of their increased value. You couldn't go into a bank without being solicited for a refinance or an equity loan.

This entire boom was artificial and it was going critical but up to that point everyone was winning. The stock market went sky high, bank bottom lines were soaring etc.

Then we get the oil scam of 2008 as the housing market was having the bad loans hit the first wave of people that couldn't pay for the real loan payment after their intro offer expired. I say oil scam, because this was artificially produced by speculators in the oil market as opposed to real supply and demand.

Now the whole house was coming apart. and the rest is history.

The root cause of the bust was the boom and the boom was artificial.

Responsible parties, were the US Government, the financial institutions, Real Estate Brokers, Mortgage companies, Escrow companies and finally the people buying houses that they knew they couldn't afford.

It was like the lion taking down the kill and once they fed on the kill till they were full, then the scavengers cleaned up the rest. With the kill down to a couple of bones, everybody is lean and mean once again.

It is the US Government and the people that keep electing the incompetent and the corrupt that brought the US economy to its knees.

Don't rejoice. because the US will take everyone else down with them.

For example, China can't continue to grow when the US, their biggest buyer for their goods can't buy what it used to buy from them. Remember that it is not just the US economy that is down, it is a global economic failure.

For the past thirty years, I believe that the voters have put in the B team and it doesn't matter whether it was Dem or Rep.

Russia is more dangerous now than before the USSR collapsed. China could lose half of its population in a war and still have more than the rest of the world that would be left.

I apologize for the length of the comment. Please feel free to delete it from your hub if it is too long.

 


Inspirepub profile image

Inspirepub 7 years ago from Sydney, Australia Author

issues veritas,

I agree with you completely and I don't regard your comment as a negative - if you read my Hub:

http://hubpages.com/money/Foreclosures--Sub-Prime-...

you will see that I am saying pretty much the same thing you are saying.

However, I think the real concern is not that there might be a "lean period", but that the rest of the world, or at least the parts of it whose growth is backed by real productivity and not speculation, will overtake the US as the dominant economic - and therefore military - power on the planet.


issues veritas 7 years ago

inspire pub,

Thanks, I guess we are looking at the same thing from different view points. Sorry that I misread your hub, I guess its my fault having American as my only language, joke.

I do agree that the US is giving away the farm and all that is left here is the output from the animals that we used to have (metaphor).

In the 1970s we lost the edge in auto manufacturing and now we are on the brink of losing our own auto industry. In between, we outsource mostly everything and in the process I think we are taking down the entire global economy. I think this is where we differ.

The US has been plagued for the last thirty years with a Congress that has been impotent but want us to think that they are important.

Thanks for you gracious hospitality.

 


magnoliazz profile image

magnoliazz 6 years ago from Wisconsin

People are always talking about the decline of the USA. I don't think they realize how much wealth is in this country. Someone once said that we have more wealth than all the countries of the world...combined. I did not believe that at the time, but now I think they may have been right.

I look at pictures of Iraq, and all I see is sand, what do they eat over there?

Just go to the Midwest and you will see land so fertile that it feeds the rest of the world! How much do you think it is worth? What is the price of endless amounts of food? And it all belongs here in America.

And thats just the beginning.

Sure, we are going through some hard times but what does not kill you, makes you stronger and nothing could be closer to the truth for the USA!

Good hub...but don't count out the USA yet, we have more than one trick up our sleeves.

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