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Monday, October 19, 2015

We didn't stop being great, Mister Trump

If you came here expecting another neo-con rip of Donald John Trump, you'll be disappointed. I have a great admiration for him, his willingness to enter the fray, and his appreciation of the hoi polloi. Trump gets what few other candidates this year understand: Americans want a president who will stand up for America.

But his campaign slogan, "Make America Great Again," is a little off.

The fact is that despite the best efforts of the Speed-o wearers in both parties to transform America into a second-tier European country, America is great. America does it all.

We still do capitalism better than anyone else. The five largest companies (by market cap value) are all American: Apple, Google, Exxon, Berkshire Hathaway, and Microsoft. That those five companies were founded in 1870, 1955, 1975, 1976, and 1998 shows a vibrancy across the generations.

We are second only to China in patent applications.

Despite Obamacare, we continue to have the greatest health care system in the world. It is the largest, a $2.8 trillion system.

Only Norway and Sweden spend more per capita on health care. My mother is 91. She got a pacemaker this year. How many other nations "allow" 91-year-olds to get pacemakers?

Health care is not measured by life expectancy because health care cannot be held responsible for things such as traffic accidents and the like.

We also are fifth in education spending per student on education. In fact, when local and state money is included, we spend nearly a trillion a year on education. That dwarfs military spending, which will dip below $600 billion this year.

We also spend more per capita on social welfare than any other country: $3.35 trillion in 2013, as 20 percent of our GDP now goes to social welfare programs. By the way, Canada spends only 18 percent.

That is five times what we spend on the American military.

Crime on the rise? Do not believe it. The homicide rate in 2013 and again in 2014 was 4.5 murders per 100,000 population -- the lowest on records, which go back only to 1960. That rate is less than half the record 10.2 set in 1980.

Adjusted for race, America has a low homicide rate. It is 2.6 per 100,000 for white people versus the European average of 3.0.

The black rate of homicides is four times as high, or 10.4 per 100,000 versus the African average of 12.3.

In fact, our hemispheric average is 16.3, while we are at 4.5.

But the greatness of America continues to be in the private sector. While much is made of the fact that the percentage of people in the labor force (16 and older) is not seeking work, that figure includes retirees and the disabled, Baby boomers like me are retired and really should not be included in the work force. You would think the government would know better than to include us.

We represent only 4% of the world's population, but 16% of its industrial output.

But we also have the most porous border in the world, the most inane "environmental" regulations in the world, and the weakest leadership in the world.

Trump can fix that. Carly can. Ben Carson can. They get it. I am not sure the rest do.

The problem lies in Washington. The state of the union is that the nation is great and getting better; it is the federal government that is a mess.


  1. I get The Donald's point, but I agree, we haven't stopped being a great country, try as the Choom Gang and the Demos might.

  2. A good post for once. Don - you are slowly seeing my point of view. The federal government - thanks to Rs and Ds alike - is a mess. One mistake in this column: "Trump can fix that. Carly can. Ben Carson can. They get it. I am not sure the rest do."

    Be real - none of those aforementioned - or any other candidate from either side of the aisle "get it." I totally agree with you (a rarity). America is - and has been - great. My fear is that such a sentiment will change noticeably and drastically - with the next president, no matter who it may be; no matter his/her party affiliation.

  3. "We still do capitalism better than anyone else"

    You need to get out of WVa more and see the rest of the world. The most committed capitalists in the world today are the ChiComs, seriously. They've seen the light and have taken the good-life message of capitalism to the next level, as only the natural entrepreneurial spirit of the Chinese can.