Ross was soft-spoken and analytical, but braced. An industrial policy? We don't have one. We also lack a comprehensible energy policy (indeed, any energy policy), an efficient transportation policy (favoring interstate-highway transport over rail), and especially under the G.W. Bush administration, groaned Ross, U.S. investment in research and development foolishly suffered. All of this culminating in, "Within five to ten years we could be a second-rate power."
What's more, continued Ross, we now rank 12th in the number of college graduates (having once led the world); and soon, 90 percent of all engineers will be working in Asia. Translation: Goodbye U.S. manufacturing.
Oh, and of course "within five to ten years we could be a second-rate power."
Yet what, I was thinking as Wilbur Ross itemized our national descent, has had us political types exercised, say, for the last week or so -- a week not atypical of any other week in any other year? Some nitwit right-wing hatemonger with video and propaganda skills, Sarah Palin's "hand"-writing skills, and Sharron Angle's evident lack of any skills whatsoever.
Meanwhile, Obama's increasingly unrealistic and brash pseudo-progressive base is dispiriting Democrats in general and thus potentially driving down November's turnout, which could further result in that unhappiest of all prospects -- A Republican House, with subpoena power, ensuring a devastating, utterly deadlocked two years.
I suggest that Mr. Ross reconsider his choice of auxiliary verbs. For at the rate we're going, or rather not going, within five to ten years we will be a second-rate power.