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Reality Check

We all know the story of the tortoise and the hare.  The United States has always been the hare. We have been out in front of the rest of the world for the past two centuries, setting the standards in industry, trade, technology, economics, and democracy.  Unfortunately we were so impressed with ourselves, we decided to rest under a “laurel” tree and the tortoises are slowly and steadily passing us by. If we don’t wake up and get back in the race, our kids will be graduating college and moving to other countries for opportunity. We are broke, our infrastructure is in shambles, and our young people’s test scores indicate we are raising workers rather than innovators.

The statistics below are not pretty. We all know from watching American Idol tryouts what happens when people believe they are great singers when the fact is… they can’t hold a note. It is an embarrassment to watch.  It is time to take the earplugs out and fix the mess we are in—for us, for our children, and so our sense of national pride can be restored.  Read this and let it shock you. Then take positive action to fix it.

The following are 24 statistics about the United States economy that are almost too embarrassing to admit….

#1 In the past decade we have fallen from holding the number one ranking in the average wealth per adult to the seventh.

#2 The United States has long held the distinction of having the highest percentage of young adults with post-secondary degrees in the world.  Now we are twelfth.

#3 We have fallen five places in the 2009 “prosperity index” published by the Legatum Institute. The United States is now ranked as the ninth most prosperous country in the world, down five places since 2008.

#4 In 2001, the United States ranked fourth in the world in per capita broadband Internet use.  We have now fallen to 15th place.

#5 India’s economy is projected to surpass the U.S. economy in 2050.

#6 A leading economist believes the Chinese economy will be three times larger than the U.S. economy by the year 2040.

#7 According to a new study conducted by Thompson Reuters, China is on its way to becoming the global leader in patent filings.

#8 The United States has “lost” over 40,000 factories since 2001. Three-fourths of those factories provided at least 500 jobs each to local workers.

#9 The United States has seen 32 percent of its manufacturing jobs slip through its fingers since the year 2000.

#10 Manufacturing employment in the U.S. computer industry was higher back in 1975 than it is today.

#11 U.S. manufacturing represented 29 percent of our economic output in 1959. That number has dropped to 11.5 percent.

#12 Even though the television manufacturing industry originated in the United States, absolutely ZERO are manufactured in the United States today. This shocking fact is compliments of Princeton University economist Alan S. Blinder. Hmmm…Perhaps it is because we are watching so much TV.

#13 There are currently less than 12 million Americans employed in manufacturing. We have not had numbers that low since 1941.

#14 In the 80s we only imported 37 percent of the oil we used. That number has risen to nearly 60 percent.

#15 The U.S. trade deficit averages about 40 or 50 billion dollars a month.  That means that by the end of the year approximately half a trillion dollars will have left the United States shores forever.

#16 Our trade deficit with China has increased nearly 300 percent since the year 2000.

#17 For every $3.90 we spend buying Chinese goods, they only spend $1 buying goods from us. Keep that in mind when you are buying toys for holidays.

#18 According to a new study conducted by the Economic Policy Institute, if the U.S. trade deficit with China continues to increase at its current rate, is will cost the United States nearly 1 million jobs in the next year alone.

#19 American 15-year-olds are not even in the top 50 percent when compared with other advanced nations in the areas of math and science literacy.

#20 For the second year in a row, the median household income in the U.S. declined. It slipped from $51,726 in 2008 to $50,221 in 2009.

#21 The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has rated the United States as having the third worst poverty rate among our peer nations. (At least we ranked in the top three of something.)

#22 The purchasing power of the U.S. dollar has plummeted over 95 percent since the Federal Reserve was created in 1913.

#23 U.S. government spending as a percentage of GDP is at 26 percent.

#24 The Congressional Budget Office is projecting that U.S. government public debt will be 716 percent of our GDP by the year 2080.

The elections on November 2nd indicate that all is not lost.  Looking at the polls it seems as if the American people have finally awoken from an extended period of apathetic hibernation.  People are starting to believe their voice and their vote really can make a difference. The American people voted in 39 tea party candidates in this election, and there will be more elephants than donkeys stomping around the House once again.  Let’s hope this is just a start. It looks like the rabbit just might be back in the race.

Please share these statistics with as many family members and friends as you can.  Let’s admit our problems and then seek out solutions.

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