NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

This Is America's Moment, If Washington Doesn't Blow It

January 26, 2012

The vast majority of Americans believe the country is heading in the wrong direction, and, according to a 2011 Pew Survey, close to a majority feel that China has already surpassed the United States as an economic power.  However, these views ignore some of the greatest components of America's economic, political and social success that will continue or increase in importance in the near future, says Joel Kotkin, executive editor of

  • In energy resources, America finds itself in one of the best positions it has ever known: increased technology and new discoveries have made it the world's largest producer of natural gas, and it could emerge as the leading oil producer by 2017.
  • The U.S. agricultural sector is also booming, with exports reaching a record $135.5 billion in 2011, and food prices are projected to continue to increase.
  • In manufacturing, while China has been plagued with rumors of worker unrest (making investors uneasy) and Japan, Germany and Brazil have scaled back production, U.S. manufacturers have expanded their payrolls for two straight years.

These are advantages that America is rapidly exploiting, yet they are only a small manifestation of America's thriving economy.  This can be seen in the demographic and competitive fundamentals of the economy, which remain strong and portend future growth.

  • America is one of the most competitive economies in the world, with foreign investment in the United States rising 49 percent in 2010, while overall investment in the European Union dropped 36 percent in 2009.
  • In information, America's domination appears invulnerable, with more than two-thirds of the world's 500 largest software companies and nine of the top 10 located in its borders.
  • In terms of demographics, America's population growth has remained relatively stable, thereby sidestepping the issues involved in having a large elderly population that Germany and Japan will encounter.

In order to capitalize on these fundamental boons, both political parties will need to amend their policies and belief systems.  Democrats will need to realize the damaging effects of higher income taxes on entrepreneurialism and free markets.  They must also embrace America's natural advantage in fossil fuels.  Republicans, on the other hand, will need to surrender their vendetta against immigrants, who diversify America's pool of skills, and bow to infrastructure needs.

Source: Joel Kotkin, "This Is America's Moment, If Washington Doesn't Blow It," New Geography, January 19, 2012.

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