Despite the rhetoric the United States has many gifts and accomplishments that still firmly place as the top country in the world. That being said it also has its flaws and areas that could be dramatically improved.
Some of the gifts and accomplishments that make the United States a world superpower include:
- 1st in GDP of all nations with around 18.5 trillion which is more than the entire EU (around 17 trillion) and far ahead of second place China (11.5 trillion).
- 6th in GDP per capita among all countries ($56,084* disputed amongst certain sources).
- 6th in median income per household ($53,836)
- 3rd or 4th largest country in the world only behind Russia, Canada, and China (depending on how you judge China’s territory claims).
- 1st in amount of cultivated and arable land of any country.
- 3rd Largest Population of any country (around 325 million second only to India and China with well over a billion people each)
- 2nd in natural resource worth (though the methodology is dubious the fact is the United States is incredible resource rich)
With the world’s largest amount of capital on one of the world’s biggest land areas which includes the most arable land of any country, an abundance of natural resources, and one of the biggest populations with one of the highest median incomes in the world to tend to it all, its no wonder the United States is arguably the greatest country on Earth.
However, despite these massive advantages the United States still has room for dramatic improvement even when or especially when compared to the rest of the world.
Some of the major problems facing the United States include:
- 3rd in inequality among OECD countries behind Chile and Mexico (the top 10% own 76% of the wealth in the US)
- 1st in healthcare costs per capita in the world ($9,025 per person; 2nd place Switzerland spends $6,300 per person)
- Worse health outcomes than the majority of the OECD
- Wage stagnation even with higher productivity
- Childcare costs which are skyrocketing and taking a huge chunk out of the average American’s wallet
- Student Debt is now reaching unimaginable proportions weighing down the younger generation and the country
- Lack of good public transportation in the majority of cities
- Housing Costs especially in cities is putting a strain on younger Americans and reducing home ownership dramatically.
- The shifting of the economy which is causing deep emotional wounds to men and might ironically be helping woman
Healthcare, childcare, student debt, transportation and housing costs are ever present in the life of Americans striving to build wealth and remain middle class. Wage stagnation, trickle down economics, and our burgeoning oligopolies are macroeconomic causes that also suppress the middle and lower classes ability to save and grow. Further compounding the issue the economy has shifted from a manufacturing one to one that relies on the service industry which has not only displaced the majority of working men in America, but also erodes their sense of purpose as service jobs are typically woman dominated. All of these factors has lead to skyrocketing inequality and general disappointment in the direction the economy is headed.
Nonetheless, the United States has the wealth, the resources, the land, and the people to overcome these challenges. Some are a matter of policy direction such as embracing middle out economics instead of trickle down, investing in infrastructure, and offering child care credits that help the middle class grow. Other problems might require more creative solutions such as an expansion of the EITC or replacing it with a basic income, transforming our healthcare system into one that more closely resembles a single payer system, and investing more into colleges and alternative post-secondary education sources such as vocational school.
Regardless, the United States is an a unique position to not only face these challenges, but to embrace them and lead the world as the first major economy to transition from a manufacturing economy to a service economy while still growing its GDP and improving its quality of life.