What Globalization Has Wrought

A Low-Rent America Can't Be a Strong Friend of Israel

By J.J. Goldberg

Published November 10, 2011, issue of November 18, 2011.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 2)

Germany and Scandinavia, for example, pursue social-democratic industrial policies to keep high-wage jobs at home. Corporate tax policies encourage in-country rather than off-shore production. Government invests in promising new industries like biotech and green energy, recognizing that occasional Solyndra-type failures will come with the territory. Firms are subsidized to keep workers on during downturns, with robust unemployment insurance and extensive job retraining to soften layoffs. Health care is covered by government instead of burdening employers.

Doing all that requires two things that America currently lacks: the will and the means. The means takes the form of taxes high enough and progressive enough to fund a decently functioning government and pay for those investments. The will come from a strong labor movement. America has the lowest union membership as a share of the workforce in the industrialized world. We also have one of the lowest tax rates, considering all taxes (federal, state, property, corporate, payroll), as a share of GDP. Lacking both the will and the means to do better, it’s no surprise that we have one of smallest manufacturing sectors and the second most unequal income distribution profiles. It makes for an angry, volatile, unstable electorate.

A few years after the Krugman-Greider dust-up, I heard Greider speak about the economy and the coming debt crisis. It was 2004. Among other things, he predicted that the hollowing out of the American economy would inevitably hollow out America’s power on the world stage. As an over-leveraged nation of financiers and burger-flippers, we would grow increasingly dependent on our creditors.

We chatted briefly afterwards about how the potential weakening of America’s global stature would affect Israel. Empires fall when they’re overextended, he said. A hollowed-out, low-wage, low-tax, angry, unstable America can’t be relied on as Israel’s friend and protector, he said. You should write about it.

The way I figure it is, he’s been right so far.

Contact J.J. Goldberg at goldberg@forward.com


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "I’ve never bought illegal drugs, but I imagine a small-time drug deal to feel a bit like buying hummus underground in Brooklyn."
  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • A new Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans under 35 support the war in #Gaza. Does this statistic worry you?
  • “You will stomp us into the dirt,” is how her mother responded to Anya Ulinich’s new tragicomic graphic novel. Paul Berger has a more open view of ‘Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: Hundreds of protesters marched through lower Manhattan yesterday demanding an end to American support for Israel’s operation in #Gaza.
  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.