‘China’s reliance on building roads, railways and airports to support growth has caused a spike in debt, with some of that money funneled into unnecessary infrastructure and uneconomic boondoggle developments.’
‘Xi also faces a set of financial and demographic challenges that his government will struggle to address as the population ages and the country’s previous “one child” policy means there aren’t as many workers to replace retirees.
- ‘ “In the coming years, the country will be traveling a demographic downslope with an increasingly heavy debt burden and tough prospects for improving the productivity of its workers,” said Ryan Hass, a former China director on the U.S. National Security Council and author of “Stronger: Adapting America’s China Strategy in an Age of Competitive Interdependence.” ’
- ‘ “If the United States makes progress in fixing some of its own problems, including its infrastructure deficit, it will remain highly competitive against any challenger, including China,” Hass said.’
Ryan Hass is also the author of ‘China Is Not Ten Feet Tall’ in Foreign Affairs, and I fully subscribe to the views he lays out.
- But if the U.S. shrinks below its current stature, China doesn’t have to be ten feet tall to win.
Now for my favorite – and the most insightful quote – from all my reading on the topic:
- “The United States is entering what could be a decades-long competition in which economic and technological power will matter just as much, if not more, than military might,” Jonathan Hillman, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, wrote last month.
- “Starting this race with decaying infrastructure is like lining up for a marathon with a broken ankle.”
That’s reason enough for me to support President Biden’s ‘American Jobs Plan,’ regardless of the nits I have to pick.