Here we are in the middle of the college football bowl season and the NFL playoffs are about to begin. During this year’s college season, everyone was shooting for that chance to be in the “Final Four” — the four select teams that would play for the coveted College Football championship, the undisputed number one team. One day my Tennessee Volunteers will be in that mix!
But the point is, that’s what America is all about — the drive to be number one. Or at least it used to be.
Who was it that came up with that 1 percent versus 99 percent stuff? Look what happened to the NFL coaches who were in the low end of the 99 percent (and yes, I was embarrassed by the Atlanta Falcons performance against the Charlotte Panthers this past Sunday).
Americans like winners and we like to win. Nothing bothered me more than to have to listen to my best friend Simeon, a rabid Dallas Cowboys fan, taunt me about their winning and the Falcons losing. So at this time when we’re all watching our favorite teams and cheering them onto victory — America can stand and cheer, “We’re Number 18!”
As reported by Forbes.com, “The U.S. is the world’s undisputed economic superpower with a GDP of $16.7 trillion last year, nearly a quarter of the global total. It is the financial capital of the world and has largely recovered from the Great Recession.Yet for all of its financial might, the U.S. lags behind many other developed nations when it comes to its business climate, and the gap is growing.” The U.S. ranks 18th in Forbes’ ninth annual ranking of the Best Countries for Business, down four spots from last year. It marks the fifth straight year of declines since 2009, when the U.S. ranked second.”
Ok, let me get this right, in 2009 we were the second best country in the world to do business and in the past six years we’ve slipped down to number 18? We are hearing all the celebrations about the Dow Jones, but is that a real indicator of our economic growth? Doggone, if we stop printing money to the tune of about $60-$80 billion a month and artificially maintaining low interest rates — just how well would our economy be doing?
I know many are thrilled about that 5.9 percent unemployment number but what about that pesky workforce participation rate at a 36-year low, somewhere around 63.2 percent?
Who is accounting for the over 90 million Americans who have completely dropped out of the workforce and are not even counted? And let’s be honest about the debt to GDP ratio which is now upside down with an $18 trillion debt and growing — oops, I forgot the unfunded liabilities which grows our national debt closer to $90 trillion. And sadly, somewhere close to 23 percent of our GDP is government spending — combine that with the atrocious monetary policy and well, ladies and gents — we have a fiscal tsunami developing due to an artificially propped up economy.
And that’s why with all these “great numbers” we continue to fall since 2009 because we are not setting the conditions for a free market/free enterprise economy — just a top-down government-driven economic system.
As the Forbes article states, “Blame an expanded government, as well as expensive new regulations in finance and health care. The U.S. is the only country to record a loss of economic freedom seven straight years in the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom. More than 130 major new federal regulations on starting a business have been added since 2009 at an annual cost of $60 billion, according to the Heritage Foundation. The U.S. ranks 81stout of 146 countries for monetary freedom, according to Heritage, with only the U.K. and Turkey faring worse among OECD nations.”
“The U.S. also gets knocked for its corporate tax climate, which ranks 43rd (out of 146 we ranked countries) in the World Bank’s Doing Business report. The statutory corporate rates in the U.S. are the highest in the world among developed countries and the complexity of the code keeps an army of accountants busy. Companies get a break on their taxes thanks to numerous deductions, but the reality of having the highest published rates in the world makes for bad PR.”
I know, all we need to do is raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour and that will solve everything, right? I trust Milton Friedman on that one. So why do we have trillions of dollars in capital sitting offshore, afraid to return to America for investment and innovation? It’s simple — the economic, regulatory, and government policies emanating from someone who stated, “If you have a business, you didn’t build that, someone else did” — in his perspective, it was government, because after all they did make the roads…and with whose money did government build roads?
If you wish, you can view the entire list here led by whom? Denmark! Where, “despite its recent economic challenges, Denmark’s business climate is extremely positive. It scored highly across the board, finishing in the top 25 in each of the 11 categories we considered with top five showings for personal freedom, technology and low corruption. One of the keys to Denmark’s pro-business climate is the flexible labor market known as “Flexisecurity,” where companies can easily hire and fire workers with out-of-work adults eligible for significant unemployment benefits. Unemployed workers are also eligible for training programs. It creates one of the most productive workforces in Europe.”
Just as a comparative look, Forbes provided this synopsis, “The world’s four biggest economies outside the U.S. turned in a mixed performance. Japan rose two spots from last year to No. 26, while China fell three places to No. 97. Germany, which has the fourth biggest economy at $3.6 trillion, jumped to No. 20 from No. 24 last year. France had the biggest fall of anyone in the top 50, down eight spots to No. 27. France endured its second recession in four years, as well as record unemployment. It’s rating fell due to plunging scores on monetary freedom under the government of socialist Francois Hollande.”
Leaders set the climate and atmosphere for a unit, organization, company, or a nation. The climate being set in America is anti-free market and business entrepreneurship while fully embracing the uber government model of the welfare nanny-state and dependency society.
I don’t suppose any real fiscal, tax, regulatory, government, budgetary, or monetary reforms will occur in the final two years of the Obama administration — after all, President Obama may “dislike” them.
Bu hey, we’re number 18! I wonder if they can make foam fat fingers to represent that dubious ranking?