Article Comment 

Scott Colom: Another century of American exceptionalism




Despite the current chatter in many corners about the decline of America, I believe America''s best days are ahead of us. I''m optimistic that America will prosper in the 21st century as much as it has in past centuries.  


That''s not to say we don''t have challenges. China''s economy is projected to grow at a faster pace than ours over the next few years. Some economists believe this will result in the overall Chinese GDP outpacing that of the United States by 2030 (This is partially a result of unfair currency manipulation.). Over almost the same period of time, the Congressional Budget Office is projecting the total debt of our federal government will reach 100 percent of GDP. So, at a time when we need to increase the pace of economic growth in America, we are also facing a potential debt crisis.  


The current political gridlock in Washington is the most worrisome prospect of this dilemma. Instead of trying to address these problems, our two political parties appear to be constantly engaged in a media assisted and/or generated wrestling match. Both parties play to their base as much as possible; and compromise only enough to win swing districts -- which are few and far between with political gerrymandering -- and win national elections. And because neither party''s base represents a sustaining majority (every national election is won by a few percentage points) and the political views of these bases are so different, no party can solve these long term problems without almost half of the country hating what they did or didn''t do. (Want evidence: Google the political reactions to the bi-partisan debt commission''s recommendations to reduce the long term deficit) 


With these realities, one might question why I''m optimistic about the future. A recent article in Foreign Affairs entitled "The Future of American Power" by Joseph S. Nye, Jr outlined at least three reasons why America will not suffer a significant decline. First, America will continue to have the best environment for emerging entrepreneurs. We have the finest universities in the world and invest the most in research and development. These universities attract the brightest and most creative students from around the world. This is one of the reasons we continue to register more patents than the rest of the world combined and lead in several important new growth sectors, such as information technology and biotechnology.  


Second, our civic institutions are more reliable and more endurable than the rest of the world''s institutions. While there is a strong mistrust of government here, a sentiment that came with the birth of our country, we continue to have one of the least corrupt governments in the world. Professor Nye reports that the World Bank gives the United States a score above the 90 percentile of control of corruption. This gives entrepreneurs more reliability about the cost of doing business compared to the rest of the world, which is why a high percentage of start-up businesses are born here.  


Finally, I still believe American exceptionalism is in our DNA. The next generations of American will be no less competitive, ambitious, or imaginative than the previous ones. My peers have dreams of inventing the next great product, like the iPod; or starting the next great company, like Starbucks. They want to discover the medicines to prolong health and life. They want to improve education in their communities and states. They want to lead. Most importantly, they want their share of the American dream.  


Scott Colom, a Columbus native, is a staff attorney for the Mississippi Center for Justice in Jackson. His e-mail address is [email protected]



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Reader Comments

Article Comment hope commented at 12/8/2010 6:48:00 AM:

The GOP and NAFTA will make sure that our Country will not return to it's greatness of prior years because of their detrimental effect on the American worker. You mention the Ipod. I doubt if there are any parts to it made in the US. The same will be for anything else that will become as popular as the Ipod. Even our solar production is leaving almost as fast as they get orders, going to China.


Article Comment gogetum commented at 12/8/2010 10:51:00 AM:

You so blind, Hope. If Barry had pushed the fair tax bill two years ago and got it passed , there would not be any of this income tax krap going on now and he would be a shoo in for the second term. If he had got all the dems to support the fair tax too instead of the big spending bills and obamacare , they would not have been on the receiving end of a butt kicking election last month. All this income tax stuff devides us and class warfare just feeds the fire. The fair tax would tend to unite us and the economy would boom. So why are the dems so against it? Makes you think they are indeed a bunch of commie pigs who are bent on taking down our Republic. The recent tax delema is an obvious trick they enjoy using to devide us. I have a "small business" friend who grosses a little over 250k a year. Barry and the other dems call him a filthy rich man but Barry has never ran a business so he doesn't know about the 4 employees who have to be paid from the 250k along with their ss, health insurance, insurance on the building , mortgage payments, equipment and building upkeep. Something Obama does know about are the taxes that are taken out of that 250k and he wants to take more!! There's not much left for the "filthy rich" small business man after that. What kind of dummy's are those who still support Obama and his pack of wolves. So blind, so blind.


Article Comment walter commented at 12/9/2010 3:26:00 PM:

It is the hope of all informed Americans that the generations that succeed us will be competitive, ambitious and more imaginative. It is my personal hope that they are much less selfish and greedy as the generations that proceed them.

The trickle-down theory, as a means of ensuring the common-good has been tried and disproven as a plausible means of providing for the least among us. For the people urging extension of the Bush tax cut for the very top income brackett, that simply fact of history was obviously not learned.

Scott, your hope and aspiration for the future, for not just yourself, but for us all, is one that we all should join you in helping to make a reality. How anyone could check "dislike" by your well-written and very reflective comments is beyond me. You make some very valid points and I hope you will continue to express yourself. Indeed, it would enhance The Dispatch appeal, if they compensated you for submitting an editorial every now and then on certain topics of interest. Subscribing to the paper would definitely be more attractive to those of us wishing to read the insights of a person as capable as yourself in expressing in writing your views and who has also had occasion to travel extensively and to study beyond the state. You can add something new and fresh to the dialogue and I welcome the opportunity to learn from you.

I sense a genuine desire to make a positive contribution to the state and pray that, in time, you'll seek the top, state-wide office, on your way to bigger and better things.


Article Comment melody commented at 12/9/2010 4:27:00 PM:

Hey walter, informed americians become informed by gathering info from something other than the dispatch. The gogetum comments came from another source, for sure. I notice those comments were not published in the paper but the anti GOP blog of hope was. Funny , huh?
Sounds like you are sucking up a little to Scott or in the old days it was called brown nosing. I thought he was already on the payroll at the dispatch but maybe not.
You might want to pass on that selfish and greedy part to Obama and the dems. All they want to do with our money is give it to their special interest buddies as pay back.
I know of hard working men and women among the least of us who aren't holding out a hand but instead are putting those hands to work to provide for them selves. If it had not been for veggie gardens and canning and fishing and hunting , my Dad and Mom could not have raised 5 boys and 2 girls.
What is the very top income bracket? Obama says those who work hard and earn 250 thousand plus are rich and have to give the Government half of their money. At what level do you believe people should be in your top bracket and how much do you think you should give to the treasury if you were there? Did you know gogetum is right, most of the business men in that bracket hire people from the least of us to work for them and are therefore providing for as many as they can of those from the least of us. What are you doing to provide for those from the least of us? Also , what is the "simple fact of history" all about? Later-have to watch Glenn Beck.


Article Comment hope commented at 12/10/2010 10:16:00 AM:

@melody-------My neighbor told me that anyone who believes in the teachings of Glenn Beck would have the mentality of the Pink Panther.
After reading your comments, I'm inclined to believe he is correct with his assessment.


Article Comment colomsw commented at 12/10/2010 11:37:00 AM:

This is Scott Colom. For the record, I am not paid by anyone for the columns I write for the Columbus Dispatch. Thanks for reading.


Article Comment walter commented at 12/10/2010 1:49:00 PM:

Melody, if you knew me personally, you would know that I am not one to kiss anybody's ass or brown-nose anyone either. If I kissed ass, I would be earning a huge income from a profession that I sacrificed dearly to enter; I would have sold-out poor land-owners whose property was being taken; I would have abandon accuseds with plausible defenses.

No. Melody, what you read and mistaken to be brown-nosing are meant to be words of encouragement and support, something that people of color are punished severely for when we attempt to help inspire and acknowledge the good that we see in each other.

Unlike yourself, I know a thing or two about newspaper publicaton. Subscription and readership increase when people, whether intellectual or slightly literate, knows that they can get the publication and periodically read something interesting and fresh, if they're intelligent and already informed; if, slightly literate, they can do as some of you do, poke fun at things that are way above your head.

It is a given that The Dispatch isn't the only source of information. Try this on: I'm not only interested in information, I'm also interested in feelings and moods. I'm specifically interested in the well-being of the citizens and residents of good ole Possum Town, USA. The only way to get info about Columbus and to also get a feel for what is happening there is for me to read The Dispatch. Trust me, I read all kind of material, original, copies, legal documents and bills, even before the latter become law, if they ever become law. And, I listen, too!

The most provided-for special interest in America is the top 2% and what the GOP is forcing President Obama and the Dems, who incidentally are still the majority party, to do, is to provide for them some more through extension of Bush's tax cut. Even when the new members are sworn-in, the Dems will still control the Senate and the White House. For the life of me, I'm having difficulty comprehending how you Tea Partiers and Gopers think it is more democratic for the Dem to give in to you than it is for you, the minority, to follow the lead of the Dems, who were duly-elected by the people? Go away Melody...I haven't the time or inclination to deal with someone lacking the capacity to think independently, at this point in my life. As someone who was f--k-d by petty followers and status-seekers, I have made peace with self and that is sufficient unto itself. So have others. The least among us are the really elderly, the really young, the disabled, the falsely accused (who cannot find decent employment, no matter what), persons denied educational opportunities because of the color of their skins, those who were terminated because of race or sexual-orientation and others whose families' lands were taken away by corrupt and unscrupulous "lawyers" and still others who were cheated out of their rightful, legal share of class actions settlements, as a result of their illiteracy. Go away, Melody! You risk over-loading your brain-cells trying to remain inside this arena. It would be wiser on your part if you would just read and take notes for awhile.
Sure, there are some poor loafers among us; there are a lot of lazy-assed rich folks, too.

Whether informative, controversial, humorous or just simply a curiosity, newspapers, like t.v., base their advertisement dollars on readership and readers are attracted to good, solid writings like Mr. Colom is able to provide. I only regret being unable to come even close to being able to express myself as well. Mr. Colom is an excellent writer with pure, original insight and he can attract readers and help make the paper more appealing to business concerns and others. Perhaps Mr. Imes can do without the additonal revenue. However, taxes it generate can help fund more city/public projects.


Article Comment walter commented at 12/10/2010 2:01:00 PM:

My apology, Melody. There is no need to be mean-spirited. You may very well be someone like myself, simply seeing understanding. In which case, let us continue do so with perfect sincerity and mutual respect. None us know it all, or have a monopoly on truth...


Article Comment gogetum commented at 12/10/2010 9:51:00 PM:

Three cheers for you melody. You brought out the true color of walter. Just a plain old rude name calling liberal. You got that lib so confused he forgot to answer your questions or probably could not come up with real answers. Fred Sanford would call him "big dummy" and that hope character's one line was no surprise, if hope was a dog she couldn't find his or her own food bowl.
Hey, I was just watching a little fox news and got some good laughs , you probably caught it too , melody, both clinton and obama trying to sound like conservative repubs on the income taxes now. Makes you fall out of your chair from laughing so hard.


Article Comment hope commented at 12/11/2010 9:18:00 AM:

@gogetum----I do not watch fox news because most of it is distorted or outright lies. But in changing channels yesterday, this guy on fox says if they didn't extend the unemployment benefits, that the unemployed would find a job. And then he says, it ironic that they find a job three weeks before their unemployment runs out. On the news this morning, but not fox, they said for every job that becomes available, there are 4.4 people looking for work. I suppose you will get some good laughs out of this also. It will probably make your day. Your comments and fox news are the same.(GARBAGE)


Article Comment melody commented at 12/11/2010 9:52:00 AM:

Thanks gogetum, I can't help but comment sometimes. I feel sorry for the hope person. Who ever it is must surely live a miserable life. It's so revealing in hope's last comments that there's a card missing in the deck. How does one come to the conclusion she/he has about the most watched network in the world,fox news, and in his/her owe words "I do not watch fox news"? A mind is a terrible thing to waste.


Article Comment frank commented at 12/11/2010 3:53:00 PM:

Did ya ever notice that with Hopeless and Wally it is always somebody else's fault?
Melody, I think Wally blew a gasket!


Article Comment melody commented at 12/11/2010 7:04:00 PM:

Very good observation , frank, old walter will probably be in the repair shop for awhile trying to get new gaskets and hope is hitting only on about 3 until the end because he/she is beyound repair.
Just saw where GW's approval rating is higher now than Obama's, people everywhere are starting to see clearly now. Just think, the Iowa primary is closer than you think and I'd lay odds that Hillary will be the pick for the dems. Obama has already struck out. It's gonna be a big playing field for the conservatives, lots of great minds to watch in action , can't hardly wait.


Article Comment walter commented at 12/11/2010 7:33:00 PM:

I'm good to go, Melody. However, you're right about one thing, I am getting older. But, also, much, much wiser. Wisdom has taught me that it is unwise to argue the absurd or with the absurd and readily concede the obvious.

I mastered the art of answering legitimate questions, when posed in good faith. Hurl a few. A difference between answering a question or two and answering them the wat a questioner wants you to...

Gogettum, MS. Melody, I gottago...


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