National Competitiveness

James Pethokoukis had some thoughts on this in his recent AEIdeas article, “We’re #5: US gains in global competitiveness rankings.  But guess what our biggest problems are…”  In citing the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report, he noted

After having declined for four consecutive years in the ranking, the United States reverses its downward trend, rising by two positions to take 5th place this year and overtaking the Netherlands and Sweden.


While the economy is getting back on track, the deleveraging process in the banking sector continues to show positive effects on the stability and efficiency of the country’s financial markets, improving from 31st three years ago to 10th this year in that pillar.

But.  There’s always a but, and Petholoukis doesn’t disappoint.  See this graph:

The graph is hard to read; the “most problematic factors” in the red box are, in order, Tax regulations, Tax rates, and Inefficient government bureaucracy.  (Note: The numbers (e.g., Tax regs’ 16.3) are businessmen responses on a scale of 1 (best) to 5 (worst), which are then weighted so that the final values for the 16 factors sum to 100.  Thus, Tax regulations can be interpreted as held roughly 16 times more important than Foreign currency regulations.  The bars visualize the numbers.)

Yet our man in the White House demands to continue raising taxes, to the point he’s willing to shut down the government and blow up our economy (he also refuses to negotiate over the debt ceiling, remember) if he can’t get more and higher taxes.  And it’s his tax collection agency that targets political groups and their speech of which he disapproves.


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