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TMFFlushDraw (58.34)

The US Has Problems -- But We're Still the Best

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August 22, 2011 – Comments (19)

As I was watching pictures on CNN of the conflict in Lybia this morning I started considering how good we have it here. Sure the US has issues. The deficit is at unsustainable levels, debt is piling up, and entitlement programs are in need of drastic changes. 

But all of our problems are fixable. Taxes are at historically low levels, the debt isn't nearly as bad as many other countries, and entitlement programs have fixes available (whenever the political will emerges). And last time I looked out my window there weren't tanks in the streets or rioters breaking windows.

If you think things are bad here... Where would you rather be?

Europe: The deficits and debt in Europe are due to structural challenges. Society has gotten used to short work days, lots of vacation, and an early retirement. Taxes are already high in most of Europe and cuts have only made economic conditions worse. Compare that to the US where hard work is still the best way to get ahead and we have lots of capacity to balance the budget. Which one would you rather live in?

China: Your water may be glowing green, the air you breathe may be filled with toxins, rolling brownouts are the norm, fraud seems to be the norm, and if you don't like government intervention in business in the US, good luck in China. But GDP is growing double digits, so you can overlook all of that right?

Middle East: Do we really need to discuss this one? 

Africa: Who knows when rebels with machine guns are going to come rolling through your neighborhood. Or your own government is going to attack you. Or food becomes so scarce entire cities are forced to flee. Would you really leave the US for Africa?

Russia: I admit Russia would be interesting but are you willing to give up the comforts of the US for a country with infrastructure issues? 

South America: Again, an interesting choice but have you spent time there? Infrastructure is iffy, political leaders may or may not be crazy, and even in the best countries povery is the norm. I'm not about to give up the relatively nice roads to drive on for whatever it was I drove on in Central America.

Canada: Like taxes? Nuff said.

Sure, we have problems in the US. But they aren't insurmountable and they pale in comparison to most of the rest of the world. So quit freaking out about the conditions here and start considering how good we have it. We're still the best, and no matter what anyone says, there's no place I'd rather be.

Travis Hoium

TMFFlushDraw 

19 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On August 22, 2011 at 1:57 PM, TMFAleph1 (96.59) wrote:

Taxes are at historically low levels, the debt isn't nearly as bad as many other countries, and entitlement programs have fixes available (whenever the political will emerges)...

Which countries are you referring to? Japan, Italy, Ireland and Greece? Japan and Italy's government debt is almost entirely financed by domestic investors. I don't think anything needs to be said regarding Greece and Ireland.

Thankfully, the dollar is the world's reserve currency, but that advantage is being chipped away. It is imperative that the U.S. produce a credible plan for medium-/ long-term fiscal sustainability.

Alex Dumortier

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#2) On August 22, 2011 at 1:57 PM, TMFBlacknGold (98.62) wrote:

Where would you rather be?

Iceland. Free college, free healthcare, free energy.

...on second thought they don't have an army and interest rates were at 18% last year after their banks had debt equal to 6x GDP. Yikes! I'll take the USA =)

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#3) On August 22, 2011 at 2:25 PM, portefeuille (99.67) wrote:

in Düsseldorf. And quite a few other places ...

http://caps.fool.com/Blogs/düsseldorf/357967

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#4) On August 22, 2011 at 2:43 PM, TMFFlushDraw (58.34) wrote:

Alex,

Those four countries would be tops on the list. You could include France, Iceland, Singapore, Spain, Portugal, United Kingdom, and a bunch of smaller countries, just based on the 2 minute search I did. 

Not disagreeing that we need a plan, just pointing out that the US isn't falling apart like Europe, Africa, the Middle East; and we still have credibility unlike China's deteriorating status (at least in my opinion given everything that's going on there).

Travis 

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#5) On August 22, 2011 at 3:02 PM, portefeuille (99.67) wrote:

You could include France, Iceland, Singapore, Spain, ...

Spain?

http://media.economist.com/sites/default/files/media/2011InfoG/Interactive/EuroGuide_24May2011/main.swf

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#6) On August 22, 2011 at 3:25 PM, miteycasey (30.29) wrote:

I work with a guy who was born in Spain, went to high school in South Aferica, and moved to Venezuela after college.

He said in the USA an individual has more oppurtunities to succeed than all the others combined.

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#7) On August 22, 2011 at 4:53 PM, outoffocus (23.43) wrote:

Best or not, we often use the "US is the best" excuse to justify the very things that are killing us as a country.  Thats like eating McDonalds everyday and saying "it doesn't matter, I'm a size 4".

 Point being, we shouldn't take these things for granted. Just because we have these advantages don't mean we will keep them. 

Dont it always seem to go that you dont know what you got til its gone ~ song lyric (cant remember the artist)

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#8) On August 22, 2011 at 5:04 PM, Starfirenv (< 20) wrote:

Re #7-  Joni Mitchell.  "Take paradise and put up a parking lot"

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#9) On August 22, 2011 at 5:13 PM, reflector (< 20) wrote:

lol, "the best", huh?

you know, the roman empire was the best once, and even while they were in the process of crashing and burning, they were still the best for a while.

i don't like seeing america go down the tubes, but let's not kid ourselves as to what's going on.

when TSHTF, america's riots will make the london riots look like a picnic in the park.

those who don't prepare for what's coming, will perish.

 

 

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#10) On August 22, 2011 at 5:15 PM, leohaas (30.99) wrote:

Iceland? Really, there is a reason they call it "ice" land...

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#11) On August 22, 2011 at 6:13 PM, miteycasey (30.29) wrote:

@#7 Cinderella?

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#12) On August 22, 2011 at 7:47 PM, SultanOfSwing (95.58) wrote:

Now if we can just get our Commander-in-Chief to stop the 90 degree bows to Saudi Kings.  I cringe every time I see this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WlqW6UCeaY

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#13) On August 22, 2011 at 11:47 PM, VExplorer (29.67) wrote:

US is not bad place at all. yet. In general, "the best" is very personal. Nobody need universal solution. Just think a second will the same country "the best" for single young man with master degree without college debt (new immigrant fro India to US) and for mid age married construction worker with 3 children, without college degree, savings (probably, this guy will prefer to live in Canada, Australia or New Zeland).

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#14) On August 23, 2011 at 11:20 AM, russiangambit (29.36) wrote:

> Sure, we have problems in the US. But they aren't insurmountable and they pale in comparison to most of the rest of the world

That is why the rest of the world is forced to solve their problems while US does nothing and will continue to do so until it is too late to solve them. Think about it. You don't want to be in the US when it happens. 20-30-50 years from now.

I like Canada, except for the cold. Germany, Austria, Swizerland are also good, but it is impossible to get  citizenship there through legal means.

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#15) On August 23, 2011 at 12:13 PM, TMFBlacknGold (98.62) wrote:

@#10: Iceland has more green than Greenland. They named them to attract settlers centuries ago. Warmest month is June, about 55.3 F for average highs and 38 F for average lows. It's actually quite mild in climate because it's warmed by the Atlantic current.

I also agree with people's disdain for the use of "the best". Our arrogance and cockiness doesn't do us any good in the international business world. More and more emerging markets are doing business in their local languages - not just English. Twenty years from now when cocky Americans only know English, how will we penetrate markets where people can speak several?

Here's a thought on education.

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#16) On August 23, 2011 at 1:29 PM, dragonLZ (99.36) wrote:

If you think things are bad here... Where would you rather be?

Europe: The deficits and debt in Europe are due to structural challenges. Society has gotten used to short work days, lots of vacation, and an early retirement. Taxes are already high in most of Europe and cuts have only made economic conditions worse. Compare that to the US where hard work is still the best way to get ahead and we have lots of capacity to balance the budget. Which one would you rather live in?

Take 100 or 1,000 factory workers or middle class workers here and in Germany (or France, England, Sweden, Holland, Norway,...), and compare how they live, what they do for fun, and what they have (own).

Americans are happy if they can buy a 6-pack and have enough left for a lottery ticket (OK, they do go to local bars on weekends). Europeans go on a 2-week vacation to a different country every year. I think it's safe to say that 50% of Europeans visited another continent; 95% of Americans (the group we are using for comparison) never left their state.

50% of Europeans speak another language; Americans can hardly learn they own (although, to be fair, speaking is not as bad as spelling).

You get sick in U.S. and can't work, you are screwed (you move one class below middle class - poverty). You get sick in Europe, you are still middle class.

In 90% of American cities/towns, outside the downtown, 70% of areas are total garbage and filled with crime; In most of the Europe, there is nothing like that.

The only thing Europe can't compare to U.S.: The very rich people have it much better here.

In U.S., the rich people can (and do) always get richer and richer (while the people working for them get poorer and poorer); In Europe rich are taxed more so they usually can't get way too rich.

In U.S., people are trained to believe having 1 or two weeks vacation is better than having 5 or 6 (which is what they have over in Europe). Actually, many Americans are so ignorant they don't even know there are countries in the world that have more than two weeks vacation.

Americans are also trained to think "they are best in the world", have the most freedom, are the only country with freedom of speech, have the best standard,... but how many other countries agree with that (based on facts). 

I especially like when I hear that from somebody who didn't go to a dentist in 15 years, drives a car 18 years old, lives in a trailer with sheets of plastic as the windows: "Who cares I live like a piece of crap, U.S. is still the greatest."

p.s.

Best in brainwashing maybe? 

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#17) On August 23, 2011 at 10:44 PM, VExplorer (29.67) wrote:

dragonLZ, to be a middle class is not easy in Europe too. To loss job even in Germany is much bigger issue than in US now. Your social mobility in Europe is very limited. You can just shift single level in generation: for examle from lower middle class to really middle. To start business in most European countries is an issue. To immigrant and to do career in Europe is an issue. To build wealth outside of standard employee "benefits" is an issue. And so on. They are really Socialized.

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#18) On August 24, 2011 at 9:21 AM, TMFBlacknGold (98.62) wrote:

dragonLZ:

Americans are also trained to think "they are best in the world", have the most freedom, are the only country with freedom of speech, have the best standard,... but how many other countries agree with that (based on facts). 

Singing the truth here. The sad thing is that this is why we as a country will never change. We think we're the best. Iceland for example recently voted on an ENTIRELY new constitution. Would that ever happen in the US? No way! But do you think a document written several hundred years ago (projecting to the future) will be sufficient to run a 21st or 22nd century society? We don't want to change it, but we have no problem interpreting the s*** out of it.

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#19) On August 24, 2011 at 9:36 AM, russiangambit (29.36) wrote:

#17 -  the truth is, most people don't want to be wealthy/ rich, they just want a comfortable life without stress. You cannot take your wealth to the grave, all you can hope to take is good memories.

But in the US it is not an option, in the US either you become wealthy or you end up in poorhouse ( US doesn't even have the poorhouses, you end up on the street) when you are old. That is why everybody is spinning like mad in the US, stepping on each other, trying to get to the top.

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