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Is America In Decline? - Peter Grandich

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November 08, 2010 – Comments (16)

(In keeping with my policy of only listening to people named Peter, I present the following.)

Does anyone really want to hear that America is in decline? 

For decades, most of us have been raised to believe that the United States is “number one” and that anyone who doubts that fact is a “gloom and doomer” that should just pack up and move to “Russia” or “Iraq” or some other country where things are not nearly as good.

But does it do us or future generations any good to ignore the very serious signs of trouble that are erupting all around us? 

The truth is that it is about time to wake up and admit how much trouble we are actually in.  The U.S. government is absolutely drowning in debt.  The entire society is absolutely drowning in debt.  We are being slaughtered in the arena of world trade, and every single month tens of billions of dollars (along with large numbers of factories and jobs) leave our shores for good.  Our infrastructure is failing, our kids are less educated and our incomes are going down.  We have serious, serious problems.

At one time, the U.S. economy was so dominant that it was not even worth talking about who was in second place.  That is no longer the case in 2010.  Our forefathers handed us the greatest economic machine in history and we have allowed it to fall apart right in front of our eyes.  A national economic crisis of historic proportion is getting worse with each passing month, and yet most of our leaders seem to be asleep at the switch.

So is American in decline?  Well, read the statistics below and decide for yourself.  The reality is that when you start connecting the dots it gets really hard to deny what is going on.

Urgent action must be taken if things are going to be turned around.  It is time to get our heads out of the sand.  It is not guaranteed that the United States will always be the greatest economy in the world or that we will even continue to be prosperous.

For many Americans, it will be incredibly difficult to admit that our nation has become a debt addict and an economic punching bag for the rest of the world.

But if we are never willing to admit what the problems are, how are we ever going to come up with the solutions?

What you are about to read below is going to absolutely shock many of you.  But hopefully it will shock you enough to get you to take action.  We desperately need to change course as a nation.

The following are 24 statistics about the United States economy that are almost too embarrassing to admit….

#1 Ten years ago, the United States was ranked number one in average wealth per adult.  In 2010, the United States has fallen to seventh.

#2 The United States once had the highest proportion of young adults with post-secondary degrees in the world.  Today, the U.S. has fallen to 12th.

#3 In the 2009 “prosperity index” published by the Legatum Institute, the United States was ranked as just the ninth most prosperous country in the world.  That was down five places from 2008.

#4 In 2001, the United States ranked fourth in the world in per capita broadband Internet use.  Today it ranks 15th.

#5 The economy of India is projected to become larger than the U.S. economy by the year 2050.

#6 One prominent economist now says that the Chinese economy will be three times larger than the U.S. economy by the year 2040.

#7 According to a new study conducted by Thompson Reuters, China could become the global leader in patent filings by next year.

#8 The United States has lost approximately 42,400 factories since 2001.  Approximately 75 percent of those factories employed at least 500 workers while they were still in operation.

#9 The United States has lost a staggering 32 percent of its manufacturing jobs since the year 2000.

#10 Manufacturing employment in the U.S. computer industry is actually lower in 2010 than it was in 1975.

#11 In 1959, manufacturing represented 28 percent of all U.S. economic output.  In 2008, it represented only 11.5 percent.

#12 The television manufacturing industry began in the United States.  So how many televisions are manufactured in the United States today?  According to Princeton University economist Alan S. Blinder, the grand total is zero.

#13 As of the end of 2009, less than 12 million Americans worked in manufacturing.  The last time that less than 12 million Americans were employed in manufacturing was in 1941.

#14 Back in 1980, the United States imported approximately 37 percent of the oil that we use.  Now we import nearly 60 percent of the oil that we use.

#15 The U.S. trade deficit is running about 40 or 50 billion dollars a month in 2010.  That means that by the end of the year approximately half a trillion dollars (or more) will have left the United States for good.

#16 Between 2000 and 2009, America’s trade deficit with China increased nearly 300 percent.

#17 Today, the United States spends approximately $3.90 on Chinese goods for every $1 that China spends on goods from the United States.

#18 According to a new study conducted by the Economic Policy Institute, if the U.S. trade deficit with China continues to increase at its current rate, the U.S. economy will lose over half a million jobs this year alone.

#19 American 15-year-olds do not even rank in the top half of all advanced nations when it comes to math or science literacy.

#20 Median household income in the U.S. declined from $51,726 in 2008 to $50,221 in 2009.  That was the second yearly decline in a row.

#21 The United States has the third worst poverty rate among the advanced nations tracked by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

#22 Since the Federal Reserve was created in 1913, the U.S. dollar has lost over 95 percent of its purchasing power.

#23 U.S. government spending as a percentage of GDP is now up to approximately 36 percent.

#24 The Congressional Budget Office is projecting that U.S. government public debt will hit 716 percent of GDP by the year 2080.

Please share these statistics with as many family members and friends as you can.  It is time to get real.  It is time to admit that we have some really big problems.

America is in decline and the situation is getting worse by the day.  If we are not willing to admit how bad things really are, then we are never even going to have a chance to find the solutions that we need.

16 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On November 08, 2010 at 10:49 AM, topsecret10 (< 20) wrote:

 I rest my case....   +1   TS

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#2) On November 08, 2010 at 11:05 AM, Jbay76 (< 20) wrote:

#24 seems a bit too much as the prediction is 70 years from now and anything can happen.  But, suffice to say, the other data points are sobbering for sure.

+1 

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#3) On November 08, 2010 at 11:41 AM, ikkyu2 (99.36) wrote:

The only good thing about this list is #19; those innumerate, illiterate kids will have to grow up and take scut labor jobs, the only sort that the civilized nations of the world care to expropriate to the United States.

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#4) On November 08, 2010 at 12:05 PM, BillyTG (29.27) wrote:

+1 for listening only to Peters! It probably gives you a good random cross section of ideas.

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#5) On November 08, 2010 at 2:41 PM, Rehydrogenated (32.26) wrote:

Too bad we can't export car insurance to China...

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#6) On November 08, 2010 at 4:53 PM, brizzlekizzle (37.03) wrote:

Yes America is in decline. 

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#7) On November 08, 2010 at 5:13 PM, devoish (97.62) wrote:

Relax,

free markets and smaller Government will solve this. You need to do nothing but your job.

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#8) On November 08, 2010 at 6:45 PM, loverandfighter8 (< 20) wrote:

America is finished!  What a pathetic ending to such a brilliant experiment in freedom.  All we can do is protect our assets by investing in precious metals, agricultural commodities, etc. and ride the wave.  Once things settle down we'll be able to use our money to rebuild this country and hopefully return it to what the Founders had in mind, not the evil empire we have now. 

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#9) On November 08, 2010 at 8:17 PM, portefeuille (99.60) wrote:

#1 Ten years ago, the United States was ranked number one in average wealth per adult.  In 2010, the United States has fallen to seventh.

and it is looking worse for the U.S. if you use "median wealth" instead of "mean wealth" ...

see table 3-1 here (starting on p 83/128).

Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook (pdf)

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#10) On November 08, 2010 at 8:18 PM, portefeuille (99.60) wrote:

#9 (The U.S. is slightly ahead of Cyprus ...)

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#11) On November 08, 2010 at 8:24 PM, portefeuille (99.60) wrote:

#10 I am pretty sure the rise in the EURUSD exchange rate since the report was written has left Cyprus easily ahead of the U.S., hehe ...

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#12) On November 08, 2010 at 8:29 PM, portefeuille (99.60) wrote:

I can add an "unofficial data point". I was convinced until about 2 years ago that Germans were word champions in whining. I am now convinced that they are easily surpassed by U.S. Americans. Oh well ...

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#13) On November 08, 2010 at 8:37 PM, portefeuille (99.60) wrote:

#10,11 For those unfamiliar with Cyprus. Around 77% of those living there are Greek ...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyprus

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#14) On November 08, 2010 at 9:16 PM, russiangambit (29.31) wrote:

#12 - americans only whine in the blogs where they are anonymous, they never whine in person. Something I find hard to understand since russians love to engage in long and philosophical discussions about purpose of everything and anything. With americans what you see is what you get. So, I think german reputation is safe on this count, lol.

As for the US, the first thing that comes to mind for me is how undervalued education is, and here I mean the ability to think and create, not memorize. Since elementary school US kids are conditioned to memorize with endless spelling assignments. In Russia we solve riddles instead. Ability to think out of the box is valued highly, ability to memorize not at all.

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#15) On November 09, 2010 at 11:44 AM, portefeuille (99.60) wrote:

#11 assuming a considerable "home bias".

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#16) On November 13, 2010 at 5:46 AM, dwot (56.31) wrote:

http://caps.fool.com/Blogs/the-prophet/307260

The stage was set long ago and the truly great were warning about it but being ignored.

We tend to live in the glory of ignorance, and it hasn't been that big of problem for the now retired generations, but it has left an enormous problem for future generations.

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