Here is CNN commentator Fareed Zakaria’s column at The Washington Post:
The United States’ debt ceiling crisis is, once again, provoking the usual commentary about the country’s presumed dysfunction. But the truth is that this unprovoked madness, causing self-inflicted wounds, is taking place against a backdrop of astonishing strength.
The facts cannot be disputed. The United States has recovered from the coronavirus pandemic faster than any major economy in the world. As Bloomberg’s Matthew A. Winkler recently pointed out, unemployment is stunningly low. Gross domestic product growth has grown at three times the average pace as under President Donald Trump, real incomes are rising, manufacturing is booming, and inflation has eased for 10 straight months. Even the budget deficit, which was at 15.6 percent of GDP at the end of the Trump presidency, has dropped to 5.5 percent of GDP at the end of last year.
The picture is even better when viewed more broadly. The United States remains the world’s leader in business, especially in cutting-edge technology. Scholars Sean Starrs and Stephen G. Brooks found that, looking at the globe’s top 2,000 companies, Chinese firms come first in shares of global profits in only 11 percent of sectors, but U.S. firms are ranked first in 74 percent of sectors.
Or look at artificial intelligence, which most agree is the bold new frontier of technology, likely to shape every industry. U.S. companies such as OpenAI, Microsoft and Google produce the best applications on the market, and a host of other new start-ups are surging forward. As Paul Scharre points out in a Foreign Affairs essay, “Of the top 15 institutions publishing deep learning research, 13 are American universities or corporate labs. Only one, Tsinghua University, is Chinese.” He notes that while China publishes much more AI research than the United States, American papers are cited 70 percent more often. These U.S. advantages are likely to grow dramatically now that China has been blocked from the advanced chips that are absolutely essential to developing and using AI.
Or consider finance. Despite the recent banking crisis, the biggest U.S. banks are now more dominant than they have ever been worldwide. They have passed rigorous stress tests and built up their capital reserves, and as a result they are now better positioned than their European and Japanese counterparts. China’s state-owned banks are saddled with huge government debt and cannot operate in the open global financial system because that would almost certainly trigger massive outflows of funds, as the Chinese people seek to move their money to safer locales. And despite many challenges and efforts to unseat it, the dollar remains the global reserve currency (as the International Monetary Fund’s managing director said recently), which gives the United States a financial superpower. (It is one that I worry we are misusing, which will trigger even more efforts to replace it. But there is no denying that the dollar, for now, reigns supreme.)
Read the rest here.
Seriously, past President’s would have loved to be running for re-election in these conditions. It makes one question whether the Clinton campaign adage, “It’s the economy, stupid,” still holds true.
This may also illustrate one of Joe Biden’s weaknesses: communicating directly to the American people. On the other hand, one might question whether any President can communicate directly in the fractious media landscape that exists today. Could a Reagan still be a Reagan in 2023?
John Fea says
I think Biden HAS been communicating these things, but, as you point out Ben, the country is so divided that only people in his silo are listening. People can’t see things objectively any more.