Book Review: “That Used to be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back” by Thomas L. Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum

Yes, USA has lots of ills: budget deficit, extreme partisan, and crime and etc., and “American Dream” is becoming more of a mirage, as pointed out by the authors. It’s nothing new. Many smart people already highlighted them since the “Great Recession” of 2008. China in contrast is progressive (Tienjin’s great conference hall being built in 9 months vs. much delayed repair in the DC subway station) and yet lack the right elements (legal, democracy, and etc.) to overtake US, yet.

The book helped to clarify some of the histories of budget deficits and how Ronald Reagan managed to raise taxes (enhance revenue) in light of the huge deficit during the Star War initiative era and how Clinton did the same because of the Ross Perot. It’s only until George W. Bush’s time that any attempt to reduce deficit was abandoned. “Budget deficits don’t matter,” according to Dick Cheney. It’s sad.

The globalization force (“the world is flat) has taken many of “good” or middle-class jobs from America and the war on physics – denying the global warming reality puts us at a disadvantage.

What’s the author’s proposal/answer? A great 3rd-party candidate that would force the two existing parties (too similar and stodgy to change) to consider the much needed agenda: like reducing the deficit and invest in the “future.” Mmmmm, which rich guy is going to get suckered into becoming a martyr or losing hero? Tough one.