Is U.S. Losing Its Competitive Edge?

Investor’s Business Daily

Economy: Our slip is showing. The United States now ranks fourth among all nations in competitiveness, down from first just two years ago. Not surprisingly, it’s government — not business — that’s to blame.

The annual rankings put out by the World Economic Forum are comprehensive — evaluating 139 countries in 12 broad categories, including strength of institutions, infrastructure, health, education, innovation, regulation, financial markets and innovation, among others.

The idea is to use data — along with surveys of business executives around the world — to gauge just how competitive each country is when compared with the others.

This has not been a good two years for the U.S. As recently as 2008, we were viewed as the most competitive economy in the world. Last year, we slipped to No. 2. This year, we’re down to No. 4 behind Switzerland, Singapore and Sweden.

Why did we lose our spot at the top? Broadly speaking, the Geneva-based forum report cites “a weakening of the United States’ public and private institutions, as well as lingering concerns about the state of its financial markets.”

The group stressed that the U.S. remains innovative with a flexible labor market and outstanding higher education. But its soaring deficits, burgeoning debts and declining public confidence in the nation’s leaders and businesses are dragging it down. Finding a way to end the massive federal stimulus of the last two years will help boost U.S. competitiveness, the WEF also said.

The report doesn’t come right out and say it, but it might as well: Not only is Obamanomics not working, it’s doing material damage to America’s economic well-being.

What else can you surmise about our sharp drop over the past two years? Clearly, the failed stimulus and massive debt buildup are seen as major threats to our prosperity. And no wonder, given recent items like this from

“In the first 19 months of the Obama administration, the federal debt held by the public increased by $2.526 trillion, which is more than the cumulative total of the national debt held by the public that was amassed by all U.S. presidents from George Washington through Ronald Reagan.” Or this from Reuters: “Projected U.S. economic growth for the rest of this year and next was revised down for a third month in a row by a panel of about 50 economists.”

All this due to the $1 trillion-plus “stimulus” package, the $700 billion TARP bill, the dangerous socialization of health care and all the other tinkering by the Obamanauts.

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