Fiscally conservative think-tank Citizens Against Government Waste has dropped a strong new ad that imagines China in the 2030s as a world leader and America's overseer -- unless the United States cuts taxes and spending and reduces the debt.
The avant-garde spot, which takes place in "Beijing, China, 2030 AD," shows a "Chinese professor" lecturing a classroom full of smug students about the fall of "empires" like the Greeks, Romans, British, and United States of America.
"They all make the same mistakes," the professor says. "Turning their backs on the principles that made them great. America tried to spend and tax itself out of a great recession. Enormous so-called "stimulus" spending, massive changes to health care, government takeover of private industries, and crushing debt."
Of course, the professor says, because the Chinese owned that debt, they are now masters of the Americans.
The students laugh.
"You can change the future. You have to," an urgent voice says, concluding the ad.
As James Fallows of the Atlantic, who calls the commercial the "ad of the cycle," points out:
The ad has the Chinese official saying that America collapsed because, in the midst of a recession, it relied on (a) government stimulus spending, (b) big changes in its health care systems, and (c) public intervention in major industries -- all of which of course, have been crucial parts of China's (successful) anti-recession policy.
Ben Smith of Politico notes that the spot is "an homage to an unusual, legendary, high-budget 1986 advertisement made by the director Ridley Scott," that depicted the America of 2017 as a destitute and frail nation, a future caused by the nation's budget deficits at the time. The ad's producer, Larry McCarthy, is also the renowned creator of famous political ads such as "Willie Horton."
Campus Progress Action has since released their own parody of the ad, which has been met with irritation from CAGW.
"We love parody as much as anyone (I was a huge fan of the Downfall series myself), but what Campus Progress did was not 'parody,'" a spokeswoman for CAGW emailed to Smith. "They basically hijacked the and adulterated it to help raise money for themselves. We have already asked YouTube to remove it b/c it is a copyright violation."
Campus Progress Action responded to Smith by claiming that the video did not infringe on copyrights and wasn't being used as a fundraising tool, but rather as a vehicle for the purpose of "raising awareness and highlighting the concern of young people that corporate interests are drowning out their voices this fall."
Scroll down to watch the ad, as well as the Campus Progress parody.
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