The Biggest Problems and Most Important Issues

“To me,” Bannon said, “the economic war with China is everything. And we have to be maniacally focused on that. If we continue to lose it, we're five years away, I think, ten years at the most, of hitting an inflection point from which we'll never be able to recover.”
- ROBERT KUTTNER, Steve Bannon, Unrepentant, The American Prospect, AUGUST 16, 2017

In 2012, Senator Mitch McConnell referred to America's debt as "the nation's most serious long-term problem":

About the long-term debt problem facing this country, and we all know that it's on the entitlement side. So at some point here, this President needs to become the adult because the speaker and I have been the adults in the room arguing that we ought to do something about the nation's most serious long-term problem.
- Mitch McConnell, "Face the Nation" transcript for May 20: McConnell, Warner, Graham, CBS News, May 20, 2012

McConnell and Boehner, an Ohio Republican, said on separate Sunday interview programs they considered sovereign debt to be the nation's biggest problem — and Boehner likened the U.S. debt crisis to that of Greece.
- UPI, McConnell: Obama 'needs to become adult', May 21, 2012

Now, the budget office forecasts that deficits will total $10.1 trillion over the next decade. The deficit is expected to top $1 trillion a year in 2022 and keep growing from there. Federal debt held by the public is at the highest level since shortly after World War II, at 77 percent of the gross domestic product.

“I think the greatest threat to our nation is us,” warned Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee and a member of the Senate Budget Committee. “The way we handle our finances, we as a nation are the greatest threat to our nation. It’s not ISIS. It’s not North Korea. It’s not ascendant China. It’s not Russia. We are the greatest threat.”

But such voices are strangely quiet these days in Washington.
- THOMAS KAPLAN, With Tax Cuts on the Table, Once-Mighty Deficit Hawks Hardly Chirp, NYT, SEPT. 28, 2017

Neville Chamberlain is best remembered for his capitulation to Hitler at Munich in 1938. But at the nadir of the Great Depression in April 1933, when Hitler was consolidating power in Berlin and Chamberlain was serving as Tory chancellor of the exchequer in London, he said this: “We are free from that fear which besets so many less fortunately placed, the fear that things are going to get worse. We owe our freedom from that fear to the fact that we have balanced our budget.” Such was the perverse conventional wisdom, then and now.
- Robert Kuttner, The Man from Red Vienna, NY Review of Books, DECEMBER 21, 2017 ISSUE

Dataism declares that the universe consists of data flows, and the value of any phenomenon or entity is determined by its contribution to data processing. ...
You may not agree with the idea that organisms are algorithms and that giraffes, tomatoes and human beings are just different methods for processing data. But you should know that this is current scientific dogma, and it is changing our world beyond recognition. ...
A critical examination of Dataist dogma is likely to be not only the greatest scientific challenge of the twenty-first century, but also the most urgent political and economic project.
- Yuval Harari, Home Deus, pp. 428, 429, 459

Our biggest problem at the moment is that the human tendency to cherry-pick information to support one's existing beliefs is explosively magnified by the internet.
- Steve Fankuchen, Oakland, CA, Feb. 22, 2018, commenting on David Brooks, The Virtue of Radical Honesty, NYT, FEB. 22, 2018

The core problem today is not tribalism. It’s excessive individualism....
- David Brooks, A Renaissance on the Right, NYT, April 12, 2018

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