While politicians in the United States pander to their respective bases in advance of next month's midterm elections, China is busy planning the launch of an artificial moon that reportedly will light up one of its biggest cities.
The development, reported by China e-business media outlet Cifnews, comes as the United States continues its simmering, ill-advised trade war with one of its largest trade partners and the U.S. deficit approaches $1 trillion, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
Meanwhile, China is set to launch a satellite that will use "a reflective coating to direct light to illuminate an area up to 50 square miles," the U.K.-based Telegraph reported.
We mention this moonshot-like gamble because the United States is, once again, racking up record bills — the highest since 2012 — while other countries can afford to launch seemingly absurd technologies and America's tech industry argues over whether artificial intelligence will take over the world or take jobs away from hard-working Americans.
We were the country, remember, that launched some of the world's greatest inventions — from electricity to television to — well, you name it. So many of them were conceived in America, and many of them by immigrants who called America their new home.
But transformative technology is prohibitively expensive, and it requires massive amounts of investment — from corporations and private companies to public-private partnerships like the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (aka DARPA). But no matter who initiates it, a lot of funding is required, and reckless spending and tax cuts for lobbyists' and donors' best clients cannot be part of the equation like it used to be. Pork-barrel spending was rolled up, yet earmarks are still part of the game (but that's another editorial).
Regardless, we wonder whether anyone in Washington has any coherent plan to lower the deficit while investing in future technologies that will create the jobs for our children and grandchildren. Right now, it seems the only strategies in Washington involve how to move the herd-mentality press corps and get re-elected — a cycle that repeats every two years, thanks to the perhaps outdated method we use to elect our Congress.
And we shouldn't have to mention the disasters like hurricanes Michael and Maria that involve massive government assistance that has to be funded somehow.
If we keep angering our trading partners and racking up record deficits year after year, we could get to a day of reckoning no one in the financial world — or anywhere else — wants to see.
"Eventually, you'll be left with two choices," Brian Riedl, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, told Reason, a libertarian think tank. "Either significantly raise taxes on the middle class or significantly cut benefits to current seniors. If we do neither, you will have a major financial crisis."
Perhaps the new Congress should think about that before any member even is elected to the office.
REPRINTED FROM THE PANAMA CITY NEWS-HERALD