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America is fundamentally changing. We were a nation that had the largest middle class in the history of the globe, but now we are becoming a nation that is deeply divided between the haves and the have nots.
We don't intend this to be an excercise in schadenfreude -- we're Americans ourselves and don't wish any misfortune on the country -- but there does seem to be an emerging conventional wisdom on American decline in the foreign-policy media that's worth tracking. We'll also hopefully use the column to puncture a few bogus decline trend stories.
Alas, as Tim has found the hard way, being one of the biggest offendors when it comes to collapsed economies does take away from his credibility.
The S&L Crisis was the last major case of domestic fraud resulting not only in major U.S. bank failures but also thousands of convictions across the financial industry. However, today's crisis is vastly bigger, with many more players involved, and yet, not one person has been convicted or gone to jail. In the following transcript, William Black gives a behind the scenes look at events leading up to our current situation, who in the government needs to go, and other key details that will probably suprise you.
The book offers a portrait of a White House operating under intense pressure as it dealt with a cascade of crises, from insolvent banks to collapsing carmakers. And it details the rivalries among figures around the president, including Mr. Summers; Mr. Geithner; the former chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel; and the budget director, Peter R. Orszag.
The United States began its most recent offensive against offshore tax evasion in 2009, when the Justice Department reached a settlement with the Swiss bank UBS that required it to pay $780 million and reveal details about 4,500 clandestine accounts that were believed to hold undeclared assets of United States residents. Although the Swiss government has yet to authorize the release of information about those accounts, Douglas H. Shulman, the I.R.S. commissioner, said that the agency would continue to pressure tax evaders to come forward or face prosecution.
The social democratic win bucked the trend of politics in Europe where the centre-left has been in the doldrums, unable to capitalise on the fallout from the 2008 financial and economic crisis and stagnation in the EU while also failing to come up with attractive policies on other potent issues such as immigration and Islam.


In the name of fighting pollution, China has sent the price of compact fluorescent light bulbs soaring in the United States.
By closing or nationalizing dozens of the producers of rare earth metals — which are used in energy-efficient bulbs and many other green-energy products — China is temporarily shutting down most of the industry and crimping the global supply of the vital resources.
The same market forces that doomed Solyndra, the solar cell manufacturer that received $528 million in government loans and then went bankrupt, could imperil other manufacturing ventures that have received loan guarantees from the Energy Department, energy experts warned this week.