OK well. Inflation is a pain. Politics is toxic. COVID may never end. But the United States is doing better than anywhere else in the world, in a time of war and other massive disruptions. If you don’t like it here, ask yourself, where are things best?
The US inflation rate is 8.5% and is likely to be falling. In Europe it is 8.9% and is probably on the rise. In the UK, inflation is 10.1%. Europe is either in a recession or is about to enter one. In the United States, growth has slowed, but the labor market remains remarkably strong and employers still can’t get enough workers.
The war in Ukraine is likely to wreak havoc on the European energy market this winter, due to Europe’s heavy reliance on Russian oil and natural gas. Russia has cut off gas supply to Europe through its main pipeline and could completely cut off gas supplies, imposing radical measures such as rationing, price caps and government intervention in energy markets. Gas prices in Europe are already seven times higher than a year ago and 14 times higher than two years ago. Imagine a monthly energy bill comparable to the rent or mortgage payment.
China is eating our lunch, right? This is what Donald Trump repeated over and over when he was president, given China’s rapid growth and its manufacturing dominance. Yet China has drifted amid a bewildering array of COVID restrictions and long-infesting policy blunders. China allegedly has a zero-tolerance policy on COVID, with the Communist government enforcing the blockade whenever an outbreak occurs, which always seems to be. At the moment, 313 million Chinese, almost the equivalent of the entire US population, are in lockdown. This is depressing the once unstoppable Chinese economy.
“The stagnation of COVID-19 in China has no end in sight,” Foreign Policy recently said.
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Home-grown COVID vaccines in China are less effective than Pfizer and Moderna vaccines used in the West and much of the rest of the world. With Chinese vaccines, people in poor health are still at risk of serious illness or death, like in the early days of the pandemic here. This requires ongoing lockdowns to keep the death rate down, which limits exposure to COVID but also prevents the kind of herd immunity taking hold in the United States. Nobody knows when it will end.
Even without COVID, China’s economy is set to slow as the old one-child policy has now left a shortage of young workers. China’s working-age population has shrunk since 2016, according to Oxford Economics, and this problem is very difficult to address with political levers. A real estate slump is also devastating China’s inflated real estate sector, which accounts for around 25% of GDP. All fast-growing emerging market economies slow down at some point, but Oxford Economics believes China is stabilizing at considerably lower levels of prosperity than the economies of South Korea and Taiwan at similar times in their development. It once seemed inevitable that the Chinese economy would grow larger than the US, but now economists have doubts.
Japan has high living standards, but the government is so concerned about COVID that it still has travel restrictions in place. Some Americans think the grass is greener in Canada, but even north of the border there is high inflation, risk of recession, and an overactive central bank raising interest rates. Scandinavia consistently ranks as the happiest region in the world, but it also has to contend with the world’s worst neighbor, Russia.
If you had an audio filter that was able to rule out bad news and bluster, you might notice a few things going right here at home. Congress passed the biggest package yet to tackle global warming and another bill designed to strengthen Americans’ competitive advantage against China. Another bill passed last year to rebuild much of the nation’s infrastructure. All this, yet the US tax burden is among the lowest in the world.
The US economy has fully made up for all the jobs lost during the COVID crisis and economic output is above pre-COVID levels. The US economy has recovered faster than any other. Gas prices, which hit $ 5.02 per gallon in June and depressed the entire nation, have plummeted in recent weeks and are now at a more manageable $ 3.72.
The share of Americans with health insurance has risen to 91%, about 7 points higher than 10 years ago. The poverty rate in the United States is near historic lows and the child poverty rate has dropped dramatically over the past 30 years. COVID persists, but nearly all vaccinated people now survive without hospital treatment, and the government is switching to a flu-like strategy of annual boosters. The mask requirements have largely disappeared.
Sure, there are a lot of things wrong. Our levels of gun violence are insane. Illegal immigration is an intractable problem. While health coverage is improving, the costs are double the average for rich countries. Public debt is astronomical. The main problem is usually politicians who don’t have the backbone to do something risky. Many voters are again disgusted by a conservative Supreme Court that overturned abortion protections this year, despite public opinion.
But if you think it’s better elsewhere, try to move there and report. You will most likely find that there are some idyllic pockets in the world, but virtually no big country that gets confused and cleansed up like the United States.
Everything is politicized these days, so everything that happens, good or bad, must have a political cause, at least if you watch the news on cable. But America’s main advantages are geographic and geological, as they always have been. The oceans are an invaluable buffer against the kind of instability Europe faces now, with the barbaric Russian invasion of Ukraine. Large amounts of natural resources, including fossil fuels, are an economic buffer against the chaos that satanic figures like Russian President Vladimir Putin seek to sow. American-style capitalism may be cruel, but it is also the most dynamic and innovative economic system in the world.
Biden deserves some credit for getting the US back on track after Trump’s tumultuous years. He restored some professionalism to the government after Trump used him as a personal enrichment office. Biden also spearheaded infrastructure and climate legislation that Trump couldn’t or wouldn’t have done.
More importantly, Biden is discreetly and competently directing a massive aid program to Ukraine that is simply indispensable. Ukraine is finally pushing back the Russian invaders, and it’s hard to imagine that this would have been possible without billions of US military aid and other types of support. Europe could not do it alone, without American leadership. Trump, who praised Putin and tried to shake Ukraine for political gain, may have invited Putin to send his troops across Ukraine, to NATO’s back porch, making Putin an even bigger threat than he is. it’s time.
Every American has a right to be unhappy, so shake it if you have to. Biden is old and out of the way, and the Democrats are still tied to socialists like Bernie Sanders. Republicans are Trump puppets obsessed with white male patriarchy. Big business doesn’t care about the little guy and the system is rigged. Yet things can be okay if you want them to be.
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