For an old curmudgeon like me, this is incomprehensible. Somebody somewhere made a big mistake and once they find it, all will be well and back to normal.
Well, they’ve found the mistake; America elected a man dedicated to the proposition that Americans have too much, use too much of the world’s resources, and needs to humble itself before the world and beg its forgiveness.
Powerline points us to this study that shows for the first time in history, America has dropped out of a list of 10 most prosperous countries in the world:
The London-based Think Tank Legatum Institute recently offered empirical evidence of what many Americans have been thinking lately. Our national well-being is slipping.
Over the past four years, prosperity has increased around the globe, while it has remained stagnant in the United States, the Legatum Institute reports. As a result, the Institute ranked the United States 12th out of 142 countries on its 2012 Prosperity Index, putting the country outside the top ten for the first time.
Returning us to prosperity is central to the agenda of our newly elected and reelected leaders. But doing so requires an understanding of the causes behind our stagnant wellbeing. The Legatum Institute finds that a decline in entrepreneurship and economic opportunity, rather than slippage in education, health, safety or personal freedom, is to blame.
In particular, the authors say that the fall in prosperity:
“. . .is driven by a decline in the number of US citizens who believe that hard work will get them ahead.”
Quite a change from traditional American attitudes.
There are two sides to this coin. The first is what might be called the Occupy Cynicism — those who believe the system is rigged for the rich and there’s no shot for the average Joe to get ahead. The other side is what could be termed Obama Cynicism — the idea that there’s no need to work hard because the government will take care of you anyway and besides, as John Hinderaker points out:
[I]n Barack Obama’s America, hard work doesn’t cause you to get ahead; being politically connected does. We are all paying the price for the corruption of the Age of Obama.
Both constructs are toxic and are dragging the country down. What is perhaps more worrisome, however, is the “decline in entrepreneurship and economic opportunity.” It isn’t just that entrepreneurs create a lot of jobs. They also supply enormous energy to the economy; competition, expansion, new products, new industries. The Engine of Democracy unleashes creativity that drives both owner and worker to excel.
The decline began before Obama took office. But there is no doubt it has accelerated on his watch. Redistribution is not the answer. Creating new wealth and new opportunities is.