Do people in this country think that we can sustain an economic future for this land through activities such as selling hamburgers and pushing paper?
In the previous decade we were given much blarney about the technology-based "new economy" and how it would make us all fabulously wealthy, even though this "new economy" produced nothing and funded all its purchases by borrowing, with the implicit expectation that the money borrowed would never have to be paid back (government bailouts and all, you know). Of course this was not really a "new" economy; it has figured into human history before. This was merely a reprise of the final economic decline which all bankrupt empires have experienced - Roman, Chinese, British, French...I could go on but I won't.
Of course what we really ended up with was a few who did extremely well (not much of that newfound wealth to go around, I guess) and then the rest of us who managed to eke out a living somehow.
Broad based wealth and economic growth comes only when wealth creation is occurring. This can only take place when the economy is producing something of tangible value - you know, physical things which people purchase, and which also can serve as stores of wealth. And no, hamburgers don't count since they are either consumed on the spot or spoil after two days.
This means that a truly healthy economy is based upon manufacturing, which is another name for tangible wealth creation.
In this state we play home to many major manufacturing facilities (mainly petrochemical plants, but also paper, sugarcane, salt, and automobile factories). I am not ashamed of this fact and it is a point of pride for me. After all, it is more than many states which survive off the false wealth of "flipping" (real estate, burgers, etc.) can claim.
I predict that in the coming economic collapse our economy will hold up better than others. I don't think the market for commodities such as petrol, salt, sugar, paper, rice, etc. will ever completely evaporate. In any case, the rapidly rising populations of those Asian nations we have mortgaged our future to are purchasing automobiles at a rapid pace....