What is America’s Biggest Problem?


I’d like to do things differently on Memorial Day and ask you to say what you think our biggest national problem is at the present time.  If you have been following this blog for a while, you can probably guess what my own answer is.  But I will not answer directly, at least not yet.   However I will respond to your comments and give you my take on your answer.  Later on I’ll give you my own answer to the question. I hope to hear back from you!

4 thoughts on “What is America’s Biggest Problem?

  1. I believe the biggest national problem the United States faces is the lack of commitment to live within our means. I see little interest from either side of the aisle to address our budget deficit in a serious manner. The Simpson Bowles report gave us a possible roadmap. I have no confidence that there will be a comprehensive reform. There is no consensus as to what we should be doing. Politicians are being pressured by different constituencies to spend more and tax less. I am afraid we will learn the wrong lesson from the European crisis, which is we can kick the can down the road even in a serious financial crisis. There may be a ray of hope in some of the states, where budgets have been managed in a more responsible manner.

  2. I agree with you on the severity of this problem. What makes it all the worse is that Democrats can claim to be addressing the problem by raising taxes on the wealthy and Republicans can claim to be addressing the problem by cutting discretionary spending (the sequester). But both of these approaches are just nibbling around the edges. The biggest problem by far is entitlements and it’s just going to keep getting worse in the future. And Medicare is the crux of the matter. How do we rein in the cost of healthcare for retired people who are increasing in numbers at the rate of one and a half million more retireds every year! It’s frightening to think about (but I’ll try to offer suggestions in a forthcoming post)!

  3. Hello. I’m not sure if I am committed to this as the highest, ranked scale of problems, but I would also offer the astonishing widening of the inequality gap and stagnant middle class wages over the last few decades; the lack of performance accountability for executives; an unfair tax system that enables those who can (corporate and individual) to achieve net taxable impact significantly less than those whose means are more meager; and the cost of and access to health care. In some sense, if we could manage the cost of health care, we could solve a number of the other problems, so perhaps that is the most problematic issue facing America… Thanks for asking the question.

    • The widening of the inequality gap is a problem but how we address it is critical. Part of it is caused by globalization and the advance of technology which, of course, contribute to human advancement overall. But fundamental tax reform, removing most, if not all, deductions and loopholes, including the tax exemption for employer provided health insurance, offset by lower tax rates, would make our tax system not only more fair, but also more efficient. It would also dramatically lower the cost of private healthcare, in my opinion, by giving all of us consumers a huge incentive to pay much closer attention to the cost of our own healthcare. See some of my other posts for more details about this.

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