It’s easy to feel negative about all the problems facing our country today. We have been embroiled in an economic calamity for the last four years that I believe rivals that of the Great Depression. Our housing market has tanked and does not seem to be going anywhere. Plus, we’ve lost millions of jobs overseas and lose more every day to corporate greed.
But if you look at the U.S. from the perspective of other countries in the world, you would see the things in a different light. You might not get bogged down in all the negatives and even be able to focus on the amazing number of positives with which we are blessed.
Start with the economic picture: While it is not as positive as it was four years ago, our GDP is still nearing $16 trillion. We triple the next largest countries, China and Japan, who are at a mere $5 trillion. Our per capita GDP is a staggering 12 times that of China’s. That means it takes 12 Chinese workers to produce the same output as one American.
This is why America’s per capital income stands at $47,200, compared with only $4,260 in the Middle Kingdom. Many Chinese have to work nearly 70 hours a week to take that home.
While the U.S. has been running large trade deficits for the past 50 years, we have a surplus of services that go unnoticed. We remain a leader in banking and finance, thanks to the dollar being the reserve currency globally. If you were to transfer dollars from the U.K. to Japan, it would have to go through New York. We trade oil in the dollar, and more than half of the printed dollars in existence today are held overseas.
The world’s wealthiest send their children to our great universities. Six of the world’s 10 best schools are here, matched only by Oxford, Cambridge, Tokyo University and Beijing University.
While our debt level is a concern, our credit markets are doing better than expected. With our 10-year Treasury bond rates at 1.47 percent and our long term inflation rate appearing to be around 3 percent, this means our government can continue to borrow for practically nothing.
And while I have discussed in the past the problems we face with a large number of aging Americans entering retirement, the echo-boomers are right around the corner to help us out on that front. We have nearly 68 million young Americans growing up right now and poised to turn around the economic picture in the next decade. China and Japan, meanwhile, are still embroiled in a “one child act” that could have devastating effects on them in the future.
So the next time you are feeling pessimistic about some news story you saw, please remember that from the outside we are still looking great and should continue our global leadership in the future.
Joe Wirbick is the president of the Lancaster financial services firm Sequinox. Joe specializes in retirement planning and distribution. This allows him to concentrate on developing strategies that help address the unique issues that confront retirees and those approaching retirement.