In Spite of Our Problems, America is Thriving!

It is common these days for commentators to declare that America is in decline. For sure we have problems which are quite visible, such as:

Polarized politics and impeachment.  President Trump has been impeached by the House of Representatives but is almost certain to be acquitted by the Senate.  Congress still functions in the meantime and passes essential legislation such as annual budgets.  The polarization is a result of the increasingly nationalistic views held by workers who feel deserted by the elite establishment.  Global expansion of trade will continue but at a slower pace while adjustments are made to help displaced workers catch up.

Homelessness.  Los Angeles has an estimated 44,000 homeless people living on its streets. Homelessness is worsened by the rapid influx of high paid tech workers into our largest cities which results in a huge housing shortage. See picture below:

Opioid crisis.  Approximately 45,000 Americans die each year from opioid overdoses, about the same number as are killed by guns. The answer here is for tighter control of opioid prescriptions by physicians which is beginning to happen.

The high cost of healthcare.  American’s pay far too much for healthcare, compared with the rest of the world. See here and here. Solving this difficult problem is the only way to get our national debt under control.

But now contrast these serious but solvable problems with progress now occurring in the U.S. and around the world:

 The rapidly growing middle class.  Since 1967, there are fewer and fewer and fewer low-income households and a concomitant expansion of middle-income and higher income households.  See chart below:

Low wage workers are finally getting the biggest raises.  In the last few years the wages of the lowest paid workers are finally beginning to increase significantly. This is because the unemployment rate, under 4% (3.5% in November 2019) for almost two years, has created a major labor shortage. See graph below:

The advance of technology.  The top five public companies in the world, by market value, are American technology companies.  Our domination of technology world-wide vividly illustrates the overwhelming superiority of our free enterprise economic system.

Freedom and democracy around the world.  Freedom House rates democracy around the world as very strong even if there are several instances of nationalistic retrenchment.  See chart below:

The world is getting better overall.  In 2019 illiteracy and poverty fell around the world. Access to electricity and piped water rose. 

Conclusion.  The U.S. is very strong, both economically and militarily. Our immediate, pressing problems are minor compared to our great strengths.  The outbreaks of nationalism around the world are being addressed through democratic processes and represent no serious threat to the continued increase of freedom and prosperity in the U.S. and elsewhere.

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