Why is the U.S. no Longer the Greatest Country in the World:
The Un-American Idea
Virginia Commonwealth University
America isn’t the greatest country in the world anymore. It no longer is the only country with freedom, several countries now have the same freedom we have. With all our debt, most of which is held in bonds to other countries, we continue to spend money we aren’t in possession of. The U.S. has failed to better our educational systems, resulting with lower ranking in the science and math worlds. America has passed the “greatest country in the world” trophy onto its next successor, however this doesn’t mean the U.S. can’t claim it once again. Our country has become another in the timeline to rise and fall, slowly on a decline due to the loss of power the U.S. holds on the world scale.
There are some important things to keep in mind as we go down the path to discover why America is no longer the greatest country anymore. One is that in the year 1971 President Nixon declared the “war on drugs” which has become even more prevalent in our day and age. Another idea to be kept in mind is that history repeats itself and that every great nation before ours rose and fell. Along with those, recall to the time of the Cold War where America and Russia were the ones holding the dice or power. They were the emerged super powers from WWII, and at the end of the Cold War, America held the worlds attention. Also the definition behind greatest country is this: country with smallest amount of debt, largest GDP, largest labor force, largest military spending, electricity production, standings in education, and low unemployment rate.
One of the main reasons America is no longer the greatest country is thanks to the amount of debt owed to other countries. Even though most countries have a form of debt, the United States still has a crippling amount looming over their head. The system behind how the bonds of borrowing money from other countries and how it works is ludicrous, see each country will borrow more and more just to pay what they have already borrowed from other countries. As of 2014 the amount of public debt that America owes is 71. 20% of its original GDP or gross domestic product. This data shows that more than half of our original purchasing power is owed in debt to other countries.
The political system that we live in has become mutated and different from what it was originally. Our politicians and even our voters are failing to deal with the big issues. We focus on meaningless political squabbles as the cost and reality of rapidly growing entitlements threaten to send us into an economic tailspin. Both political parties have made it more increasingly difficult to get the things we need to get done because it has become more about which side are you on, not about what should we do about this and that. We are living today rather than investing for tomorrow. And we are raising youth who may not understand the values that we once shared as a nation. We also throw a president straight into office and already have him planning for his reelection. And with America being as media driven as it is, any mistake by the president can be linked right up to the internet and thus ruin his whole term. This leave us with presidents who spend their days waking to the prospect of bland compromise and turn in having abjectly sold out.
GDP (purchasing power parity) compares the gross domestic product (GDP) or it’s the value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year. As of 2014 American is not ranked number one in GDP, the country who holds this number one spot is China at a large sum of 17. 63 trillion dollars. Although American is only two spots away from being number 1 in GDP, it still is a large enough sum between the two to show a direct change in power between countries. On an added note, there is an extremely large gap between number 3 and 4 on the world fact book, this gap is between India and the United States, the gap is close to exactly 10 trillion dollars. This number shows that American is still above most countries but there are only a few above America.
The labor force of America as of 2014 is only 156 million, although it’s still higher than most of the world. There are 3 different countries that hold a higher output in labor force, although this could be due to the fact that those countries are much larger than America. But it’s still disappointing to know that we don’t hold that top spot or at least the spot of almost the whole population that can work is a part of the labor force. As of 2014 our unemployment rate was at 6. 20% of the total population. This number is better than most countries out there but it still isn’t as low as we could be. However there are several factors that could contribute to this higher percentage that’s higher than a ¼ of the world, the fact that jobs are always coming and going. The population is always rising and people are always growing older to where they reach the age to start to work. The main reason that we don’t hold these top spots and have a lower employment rate is because no one in our government can agree upon which jobs to create and to not create.
Honestly we don’t spend enough money on our military to put us at the top spot to compete with other top spending military countries. Although we are in the top 10 for military spending, there are still 8 countries that spend an increasingly larger amount of GDP on their military. Military defines greatness in a country because it is the first line of defense for the people. The countries that out spend America in this area are all mostly located near Israel. This could be due to the fact that so much is going on with Israel, and there feuds between countries in that area. In all most countries are benefiting militarily wise because of all the newfound technology, thus leaving America in the dust. Most countries are deeming it a better idea to invest more money in their military while (America) the so called reigning champ of military style for most of the 1900’s and part of the 2000’s is sitting it all out and putting the money to other uses.
Another occurrence that’s cost the U.S. its “greatest country” title, the war on drugs. This so-called “war” has changed the way we look at police officers and other officials of the law. These officials have made it so we look at the law and think of it as our prosecutors. We have wasted countless time, and truck loads of money on this effort to control drugs, because we live in an era where drugs will still continue to thrive underground no matter what we do. Over the past 15 years, the amount of people that have been arrested for use of marijuana has grown increasingly over this period of time. In the year of 2013 it was reported that the DEA performed 270 medical marijuana raids in the first 4 and ½ years of Obamas presidency, which out pales the comparison of the previous 12 years. There have been four states where recreational marijuana has been legalized. Even though these states have this law, under federal law it is still an illegal substance. Back in the 1920’s we had prohibition on alcohol and that didn’t turn out well because we then saw a rise in crime. This war on drugs has literally hindered the economy we live in. If we no longer had a major war on drugs there could so many benefits to be found from any drug that has been scheduled and deemed dangerous. If we created safe environments to discover these benefits, we could become limitless. Even though most countries in the world hold the same ideal of drugs being illegal, there are few that hold them at higher standards and make them ceremonial. This war also created countless over the counter drugs that were made by the government that normally have loads and loads more side effects than other natural drugs that have been deemed more dangerous than drugs made in a lab. This has changed the way we as Americans look at doctors, we don’t see them as people who diagnose us but more as our drug dealers who write the prescription and send us on our way. Overall the war on drugs has become a bottomless pit where our government has spent countless amounts of money to stop something that won’t end.
Most people will say American is the greatest country because of the amount of freedom we have in this nation. Even though we have freedom and it is a factor that makes one great, we are no longer the only ones with freedom. Of all the sovereign states in the world, 89 are completely free. Although a main point to bring up is that America was the first country to truly have freedom. Although it is most likely true that the freedom of Americans is completely different from these other 88 countries.
Another point that people will use to support that America is the greatest is our form of government. See it is set to where there are three different branches that all come together form one whole: the Legislative (makes laws), the Executive (carries out the law), and the Judicial (evaluates the laws). Also with the three branches each one has the power to check up on the other from the system of checks and balances. This system makes America great because it shows that each part of government is equal, no one part has more power over the other. People will also state that the way we have represented officials in our government is far fairer because of the voting system. The voting system lets each individual put their vote in consideration so they can help to elect a victor from the race for the particular office.
A point that some few people could argue as to why America is great is because of the civil rights movement. This could be said because the people who lead that movement, names like Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks, Malcom X, and etc. were people who grew up in America, who changed, and transformed the way America defined their forms of freedom. This movement is a great piece of history about America but it can also shed a light into the harshness of America even though some countries there are still have more forms of prejudice that exist even today. This period shows that we as Americans can overcome a strong presence of discrimination even though it took a lot longer than Abraham Lincoln intended, we still prevailed in the end.
As an American believing the idea that America is no longer the greatest country is not an ideal that an American should hold. Believing this idea makes this whole thing an un-ethical idea because it questions the power of the place they live in. This whole concept is something that an American shouldn’t believe because they live in the United States, they should support and believe that their country is the greatest. Although each American is entitled to believing in what they want, there should still be a sense of proudness behind their country’s system and power.
America has lost sight what it means to be great as a country as a whole, and the country is slowly caving in on itself. The government has failed the America public because we elect officials who are supposed to represent the people of the nation even though they take ‘legal’ bribes from different people so those people can get what they want. Our economy is hurting from the current war on drugs declared by Richard Nixon more than 40 years even though the most harmful drug known as marijuana could be used to sustain and uplift our economy. On a statistical level we have lost our place as number one in many categories like labor force, unemployment rate, GDP, military spending, and our electricity production. America is also in so much debt that if we don’t do something about it soon, we are most certainly going to fall. The idea that America is still the greatest country is only an ideal held up by propaganda in order to keep Americans believing that they are 100% safe and have nothing to be worried about. The United States of America may one day find themselves back at the top of being known as the greatest country in the world but for now that ideal has been lost.
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