The Rise and Stumble of the United States

The Next 100 Years by Peter Zuris

Scene 1. The Perfect Storm.

1. Stockholders kept on the edge by financial entertainment media looking for what have you done for me today instead as long term owners.

2. CEOs discovering that instead of being well paid they could be enormously rewarded by the stockholders for short term gains.

3. The success of Walmart in demonstrating that what sells in this country is cheap, not good.

4. The rise of massive amounts of reasonably capable very cheap labor. In some cases in foreign lands, in others, willingness to risk their lives in illegal border crossings.

5. The rise of the super bank capable of attracting and distributing vast amounts of money in neat packaging, with few questions asked about the underlying risk.

6. The success of the dot.com years when new technology elevated productivity to levels well beyond our previous dreams. Real value in, huge rewards out. I want my turn.

7. Republican governments saying lower taxes and we'll be covered by growth.

8. All that testosterone fueled by a bubble, in real estate, creating investment opportunity that seemed endless.

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Scene 2 The Hangover.

1. Trillions in projected wealth in real estate gone over night.

2. Massive default on loans aggressively sold as the path to wealth for ordinary people who see on television every night the life of the rich and famous.

3. Banks who loved the return by hated the risks being taught that the two are inseparable.

4. Consumers buying like there's no tomorrow, now jobless.

5. The realization that the only one with deep pockets left standing is Uncle Sam, who can still borrow cheaply.

6. The dawning realization that the whole basis of our economy, energy, is running out of fuel.

7. The continued search for cheap. Less pay, less benefits, less security, less loyalty.

8. No real emerging technologies to offer a life line.

9. The day here, that we always knew was coming, but thought could be put off for another generation, where we can no longer isolate. Our wages and our goods are only worth what they are on the world market, not the local one.

10. The end of our passionate 100 year love affair with the automobile. The transition from dream to reality.

11. Massive reshuffling in the labor market as once primo jobs disappear, once critical skills no longer needed, energy the final frontier.

12. Health care costs finally tipping the balance. The straw that broke the camel's back.

13. The giant sucking sound of two wars on one economy.

14. Our first black President.
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Scene 3 The Next Day

TBD

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