I was watching CNN tonight and came across this special that I think everyone should watch called Fareed Zakaria: Restoring the American Dream. They do a really great job of illustrating how the world economy has changed over the past 150 years and clearly shows how the United States isn’t number 1 anymore in several important areas. It’s clear how the rest of the world is catching up to us at an alarming rate. The scariest part is there is overwhelming evidence that the United States is basically teetering at the edge of a cliff right now. Some of the special documents cold hard facts that you just can’t refute. Other parts of the special caution how the United States is setting itself up to make the same mistake of other great world empires. Either way you look at it, we’re in trouble.
Here are some bone-chilling stats about the United States:
– The United States is the fourth most competitive country in the world economically.
– The United States only the fifth best country in which to run a business.
– America’s enrollment rate for elementary school ranks 79th in the world.
– The United States is 12th in the percentage of college graduates among rich countries.
– America’s 15-year-olds are ranked 19th in science and 24th in math.
– The United States infrastructure ranks 23rd.
– The United States is 41st in the world on infant mortality
– The United States is 49th in the world in life expectancy.
– The United States ranks behind Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Germany, France, and Canada in social mobility across generations.
– The United States is number 1 in the number of guns we own accounting for 50% of the world’s annual production, far exceeding any other country.
– The United States is number 1 in terms of our total debt to other countries.
– The United States has the number 1 military, spending WAY more than any other country.
It’s the American way to ignore problems until they are imminent threats. Take SUVs and gas consumption for instance. When the price of gas was low, everyone wanted an SUV. This is in total disregard of what vehicles that get low MPH do to the environment, or what it would do to your wallet in the event of higher fuel prices. As soon as fuel prices shot up a couple of years ago, everyone wanted to dump their SUV and buy a hybrid or other fuel efficient cars. When the prices fell back down, everyone forgot about the pain of fuel prices (really quickly) and there was a run on SUVs again.
At some point, if the United States continues on the reckless path it’s on, there won’t be a period of recovery anymore. Imagine going to the pump and getting no gas. Imagine going to the grocery only to find the shelves empty. Imagine mass riots in the streets. That is exactly where we are heading if we don’t think ahead for once and stop putting off our problems until “tomorrow”.
I encourage everyone to watch the Fareed Zakaria: Restoring the American Dream special and form your own opinion.