According to a Bloomberg Opinion piece by Noah Smith, the coronavirus pandemic has “brought American decline out in the open.”

  • Smith wrote that the US’s decline “started with little things that people got used to.” People “got used to avoiding hospitals because of the unpredictable and enormous bills they’d receive. They paid 6% real-estate commissions, never realizing that Australians were paying 2%. They grumbled about high taxes and high health-insurance premiums and potholed roads, but rarely imagined what it would be like to live in a system that worked better.”
  • He wrote that the “most immediate cost of U.S. decline – and the most vivid demonstration – comes from the country’s disastrous response to the coronavirus pandemic.”

“Leadership failures were pervasive and catastrophic at every level – the president, agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration, and state and local leaders all fumbled the response to the greatest health threat in a century,” he continued. “Countries such as Italy that are legendary for government dysfunction and were hit hard by the virus have crushed the curve of infection, while the U.S. just set a daily record for case growth and shows no sign of slowing down.”

  • The consequences of U.S. decline “will far outlast coronavirus,” and Smith explained that “almost every systematic economic advantage possessed by the U.S. is under threat.”

“Unless there’s a huge push to turn things around – to bring back immigrants, sustain research universities, make housing cheaper, lower infrastructure costs, reform the police and restore competence to the civil service – the result could be decades of stagnating or even declining living standards.”

  • Smith wrote that the collapse of the United States “is no longer out of the realm of possibility, thanks to the complacency, arrogance and misplaced priorities of U.S. leaders and the deep and bitter divisions among U.S. voters.”

“If the U.S. goes from rich, world-straddling colossus to floundering dysfunctional developing nation in just a few decades, it will be one of the most spectacular instances of civilizational decline in world history. Every mind in the country should be bent towards the task of reversing the decline and restoring national competence.”

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