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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 3/6/10

The wealthiest nation in the world? Wrong!

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I am so weary of hearing this same old, worn out phrase "we are the wealthiest nation in the world." On what planet do the people who utter that non-factual statement live? While that was once a fact, we need to accept reality; those days are over, we are living in a new world in which America is just trying to survive. The once largest creditor nation in the world has become the largest debtor nation. And we have only ourselves to blame.

If you measure nations by the largest total gross national product, the United States still comes out on top. But when the measurement is done based on the largest per capita gross national product, the U.S. ranks 4th (IMF) or 6th (World Bank). That is clear proof that we are not the wealthiest nation in the world; but that is not the worst of it.

It should be understood that "gross" national product does not reflect the actual wealth of a nation, just as gross income is not indicative of an individual's actual financial condition.

So let's take a more in-depth look into what actual wealth really is. Let's start with this observation. If you are the largest debtor nation in the world, i.e., you have maxed out all your "credit cards" from China, Japan and other nations, you have a budget deficit of $1.4 trillion, total national debt approaching $13 trillion, and an economy that is near collapse, then you are not the wealthiest nation by any measure; you are America; a nation in a serious state of economic regression.

Okay, but even though America is in a critical financial condition, there is a way to address and solve our dilemma. To do so we will need to rebuild our entire national infrastructure; that must include our highways, bridges, waterways, the electrical grid, and rail systems. And, in addition, we need to develop a new 21st century manufacturing base to include a myriad of new alternate sources of energy.

Our old manufacturing base has been disseminated, those millions of lost jobs are now in China and other nations and they are not going to return. We have no choice but to rebuild this major element of our economy because a consumer driven economy cannot be sustained when millions of unemployed workers don't have the disposable income with which to buy goods and services. So, in addition to rebuilding our infrastructure we must create a new and vibrant manufacturing sector.

So, how exactly are we going to accomplish all this when we don't have the funding and have maxed out our foreign credit cards? I like "what if" analyses so here is just one more. Our annual defense budget, as I keep harping about, is nearly $1 trillion with all the various elements included. That's a fact. As I have previously proposed let's ask the question, "what if we reduced that budget by one-half, or about $500 billion?" What might then happen?

First, the remaining annual Pentagon budget of $500 billion (that's $500,000,000,000) would still be a monumental sum that would continue to make the U.S. the most powerful military force in the world many times over. The safety of Americans would not be compromised in the least if the military scaled back its massive, bloated empire of about 750 military installations worldwide.

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Michael Payne is an independent, progressive activist. His writings deal with social, economic, political and foreign policy issues. He is a featured writer on OpEdNews and Nation of Change and his articles have appeared on many other websites (more...)
 

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