America losing competitive advantage

During the past four years, the U.S. has been losing its competitive advantage — fast. This ranking is according to the Global Competitiveness Index released annually by the World Economic Forum. Under the Bush years, America was number one, a position we dominated. This year we’re seventh. Your vote will determine our future direction.

It’s hard for Americans to think we’re no longer leading but thanks to progressive policies (of both parties) dramatically increasing the budget debt, sovereign debt, and debt interest payments — “macroeconomic environment” — we’re on a downward trajectory. This does put into question Mitt Romney’s political theme that “Obama is leading us to European-style socialism.” I think Romney is falling short on Obama’s target, which seems more focused on taking us to a hyperinflationary third-world country.

It’s true that Obama inherited a financial mess, one created by both political parties using borrowed money to appease their supporters with “free stuff,” “relaxed rules” and “favoritism.” But remember, the two years leading to Obama’s election, Congress was controlled by the Democrats, so any complaints about what Obama inherited can be pointed squarely at Rep. Norm Dicks, Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray. Congress sets the budget and spends the money. Of course, the president sets the economic tone. Now six years into a Democratic monopolized Senate, which for three years has refused to offer or pass a budget, the world rating agencies and financial evaluation groups have been devaluing us.

All is not hopeless. Of the 12 pillars used in the evaluation, America still is high in innovation, higher education, labor market flexibility, and productivity. But this election will determine even if those will stay high as labor unions continue to strangle workplace flexibility and productivity with arcane rules. Our teachers’ unions protect lousy instructors and try to block merit pay for the good ones. And higher taxes, sought by the progressives, will stifle innovation, which contrary to government leaders, does not originate with bureaucrats, but in the private sector.

Randy Dutton