The Year of the Fire Dragon

The Year of the Fire Dragon

Tomorrow, our official language becomes Chinese.

February 10, 2043. That’s our new Fourth of July. The birthday of our new nation: The People’s Republic of American China (PRAC). But it’s no Independence Day. To the contrary, our new national birthday is the final step in a long march toward dependence.

Today is the last day of the United States of America.

Nearly 267 years old. It was a good run. Most say, the greatest nation that ever existed. Historians divide our history into three trimesters: The Developmental Years (1776-1865), The Dominant Years (1866-1959), and the Decaying Years (1960-2043).

We survived a revolution that freed us from our Mother County. A bitter Civil War and unending civil rights struggle. Two World Wars and a dozen or so other conflicts. A major Depression and several recessions. What we couldn’t survive was “prosperity.”

The beginning of the end began around the turn of the 21st century. The United States had just emerged from a period of unprecedented prosperity that saw houses, cars, and paychecks get super-sized. Nothing wrong with that, if you’re looking ahead. But like a college student burning through a trust fund with no thought of tomorrow, the nation and her government spent money like it was growing on trees. In a way, it was. When the government needed more money, it just printed it. Suddenly, America found itself in the middle of a perfect economic storm, caught between three inevitable, overwhelming forces.

First, Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) were beginning to get to the ages when they needed increasing amounts of expensive health care and assisted-living facilities. But they couldn’t pay their own way. Few had adequate retirement plans, and in 2025, Social Security and eventually Medicare began phasing out. Like all the popular government entitlement programs, it just wasn’t sustainable. When Social Security began in 1935 the contributions of 17 workers paid for the benefits of one retiree. By 2035, the 100th anniversary of Social Security, the ratio was 2 workers per beneficiary. In 2025, the laws were changed so that only those born before 2010 and only those age 75 or older would receive benefits. Benefits were gradually getting phased out. At the same time, people were living much longer, only exacerbating the problem of caring for and paying for the expensive final years of life. These older Americans were long outliving their savings. They had no affordable places to live. Enormous high-rise, government housing was built to house these millions of aging Americans who couldn’t afford food, housing, or health care. Health care rationing was only the beginning. Then, the euthanasia debate came to the forefront, eclipsing even the abortion debate as the nation’s most divisive  moral and ethical issue. The public sought to lower expenses by clipping both ends off the life cycle. Even after-birth abortion was fought for, and although defeated legally, became common on the black market.

The second force in this perfect storm was the government’s deficit spending and mounting debt. Despite tax rates that approached 50% even for middle class Americans, the government’s insatiable appetite for vote-producing entitlement programs never seem to be satiated. Every facet of living seemed to become a right which the government was obligated to provide. It began innocently enough with public education in the 20th century. But then it expanded to food. Then to housing. Then to higher education. Then to transportation. Then to health care. Then to communication. By 2020, the United States had become for all intents and purposes a socialist democracy that functioned on the basis of legalized vote buying—government services bartered for votes. Every election was a spending contest. The few who shouldered the bulk of the financial burden of the government were in the minority. The entitlement seekers were the dominant voting bloc and ruled by majority. Government spending went way beyond the public’s means to pay for it. The government’s plans were simply not sustainable. The tax and spend habit became a debilitating addiction. The bottom line was that deficit spending continued to grow and grow beyond any hope of ever paying it back. The government’s response of printing more money caused inflation to grow unmanageable—to double-digit rates. This only compounded the debt problem. And the lion’s share of the debt was financed by, you guessed it, China. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The third and final factor in the perfect storm was progressive pricing. No one had really heard of progressive pricing until 2021 when General Motors sued the United States Treasury Department for the right to price its vehicles progressively. Supported by a lobbying group formed by former Presidents Bill Clinton, Barak Obama, and Hilary Clinton called “Equality:America,” GM argued that since the Federal government had the right to provide services funded by a progressive pricing system, that is, payment in proportion to income, then they as a private company also had this same right. The case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. GM’s lawyers compellingly argued that the government’s taxation system was extremely progressive. High income family paid thousands of times more for the same government services—from national defense to highway systems—as low income families. Progressive pricing structures were also well established for government housing, food, education, transportation, and more. The Supreme Court decided that yes, companies could set prices based on the customer’s income. Every consumer was annually issued a PCPI (Personal Consumer Price Index) number from 0 to 200. A PCPI of 100 meant that you paid the average or “rack” price. For PCPIs of 101-200, you paid a premium price extrapolated from your index factor, and from 0-99 you paid a regressively discounted price. A high income family might pay $100,000 for a new Buick. A low income family might pay $2,000 for the same car. Companies loved it, because it meant that their markets expanded exponentially. Now virtually every individual was in the market for virtually any product or service, no matter how luxurious. Needless to say, lower-income individuals loved it, too. High income individuals despised the system because it meant they had to subsidize the other half’s purchases. Now, they not only paid for more than their share of the government’s expenses, but every purchase they made was effectively “taxed” and their wealth redistributed. Some wealthy voters even started a movement that would require one to multiply—or divide—one’s vote by their PCPI. Why shouldn’t someone who contributes more to the government have a larger say in who runs the government, they argued. That might have leveled the political playing field for the rich minority. But the Supreme Court struck it down. A few companies resisted progressive pricing on principle, but they didn’t last long under the new market paradigm. The game was changed forever. The situation reminded me of a quote by Adrian Rogers, a famous preacher in the late 20th century. My grandfather used to quote it:

“Friend, you cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom.  And what one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government can’t give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody. And when half of the people get the idea they don’t have to work because the other half’s going to take care of them, and when the other half get the idea it does no good to work because somebody’s going to get what I work for. That, dear friend, is about the end of any nation.”

Yes, it was about the end of our nation.

An aging population unable to pay their own way. High taxes, debt, and deficit spending that suffocated the economy. And progressive pricing that demotivated workers and crippled productivity. America’s economy was in shambles.

Socially, the United States were anything but united. Class warfare was dividing the nation like the great Civil War. And generational warfare was at an all-time high, as Gen Z blamed the Baby Boomers and Busters for saddling them with government debt incurred by the previous generation’s wild spending. The middle class dwindled to 19th century levels as the gap between the “haves” and the “have nots” widened.

Now back to China. In the 2020s, the Asian bloc began to make revolutionary strides toward alternative energy. Fossil fuels had become outrageously expensive, making it financially feasible to invest in alternative fuel research and development. China and Japan led the way. Now instead of a dependency on foreign oil, the United States was dependent on foreign technology. America’s international trade deficit continued to careen out of balance while at the same time, China was using this cash to buy up more U.S. debt. By 2040, they owned 55% of America’s debt. We owed China alone more than $12 quadrillion. We were getting squeezed on both sides. Our dependency on China was becoming more and more of a dangerous liability. Government leaders on both sides were cordial, like any client-vendor relationship. But as the balance of power continued to tip in China’s favor, it was obvious they had the upper hand.

Then came what became known as Red Friday. A number of European nations were basically in the same boat as we were with regard to dependence on China. On October 17, 2041, international stock markets lost nearly half their value. China announced that it was calling in trillions in loans, effectively bankrupting three European nations. The next day, Friday, October 18, the U.S. stock market lost nearly 37% of its value in one day on fears that China would do the same to us. On October 21, China announced that it was calling in a major portion of its loans to the U.S. government. The house of cards began to crumble. China issued a moratorium on future lending to the U.S. Ultimatums were issued. Hostilities grew. Threats made. Rumors of a Chinese invasion in Los Angeles swirled around. The Chinese military force was massive, bolstered by its strong economy. The U.S. forces were anemic by comparison. No one wanted a Chinese invasion. It was a war we knew we didn’t have the resources to win. Diplomatic negotiations began. And a number of solutions were offered, including even selling U.S. lands to China. Americans were against this, of course, but we had few options. Our credit rating had dropped dramatically, and the Chinese were demanding to be paid before our nation went completely bankrupt. Finally, tensions came to a head, negotiations broke off, and China struck. A nuclear missile was targeted at San Diego, California. Pearl Harbor was put on high alert. Another missile struck Seattle. Hundreds of thousands of Americans perished. World War III had begun.

The War was relatively short-lived by World War standards. Only 14 months. China held all the cards. The energy. The technology. The weaponry. The financing. And the most powerful allies. An unconditional Instrument of Surrender was signed by the President of the United States on January 7, 2043. A transition plan was quickly implemented, and it was determined that the official birthday of the new Chinese nation—the People’s Republic of American China—would be the first day of the traditional Chinese New Year: February 10, 2043. The Year of the Fire Dragon.

267 years. It was a good run. Some people say the downfall of America was economic. Some say it was class and generational warfare. Some say it was military weakness. Me? I say the economic and social decay was just a symptom of the terminal theological and moral disease that afflicted America for its last 80 years. Pure and simple, we forget who brought us to the dance. God. America was founded as “one nation under God” (removed from the Pledge of Allegiance in 2026). But we became more and more secular. By 2025, Atheism had surpassed Christianity as the number one belief system. How could we expect God to bless a nation that kills its unborn, its elderly, and laughs at the “antique” ideas of the Bible? If God doesn’t exist, sure…vote for whoever pads your pocketbook. But if God lives, then don’t expect Him to bless a disobedient nation. Expect Him to do what He did in the Old Testament to His disobedient children—Israel. He used other nations—even ungodly nations—to discipline and bring judgment upon them. Yet in reality, the Fiery Dragon that slayed us came from within.

Yet even His wrath has as its objective love and mercy—the way a loving father disciplines his child to prevent further self-destruction. That’s what God did to America. If only we would have paid attention to His warning, maybe we would still be saluting the stars and stripes—and be free to worship.

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”  —2 Chronicles 7:14

Tomorrow, speaking English becomes a crime. Practicing Christianity becomes a crime. The Year of the Fire Dragon begins. But in spite of the persecution—maybe even because of it—there’s always hope. And prayer. And if history is any indication, we just might be on the verge of revival.

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1 Comment

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One response to “The Year of the Fire Dragon

  1. Chilling. One of the best pieces of writing I’ve read in a long time.

    I had goosebumps literally from PCPI to the end — not because of how unbelievable , but because of how likely.

    I’m responding in three ways:
    1) humbling myself to pray and seek and turn.
    2) sending this to every one I know.
    3) buying Rosetta Stone Chinese.

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