Megan McArdle of the Atlantic points out that the sky-is-falling routine has been with us for more than half a century. In the 70s it was the Arabs who were going to rule the roost. After that it was the Japanese and then the Germans and then the Chinese. Remember? So why hasn't it happened already?
The human brain is programmed to look for what is new, and what is dangerous. That means that we're prone to ignore all the strengths of the American economy that are still there: the dynamism, the willingness to take risks, the immense flexibility to change and invent and grow. Instead, we focus on what has gone wrong. And since something has usually gone wrong--badly wrong, in our current situation--the narrative of decline is usually the best fit for the facts that loom largest in our imaginations. But those are not all the facts, and if you're tempted to make confident pronouncements on the future of American power--economic or geopolitical--its worth reading all the commentators in the past who were equally confident,and absolutely wrong.