November 24th, 2011
07:16 AM ET

Zakaria: Be thankful - sensible solutions do exist for U.S. problems

By Fareed Zakaria

This might seem a tough time to celebrate Thanksgiving. The national mood is pessimistic. The economy continues to limp along. The failure of the supercommittee has come to symbolize the breakdown of not just governance but democratic politics. Yet there are reasons to be cheerful about the United States this week.

The United States continues to have the most dynamic economy in the developed world. We are enamored of Germany for having maintained its manufacturing base through timely reforms. That’s good, and we could learn a lot from other countries. But let’s note that Germany’s great companies are products of the second industrial revolution — from the early 20th century — clustering around cars, chemicals and machine tools. Germany has one notable company in the information economy, SAP. The post-industrial, information economy is dominated by the United States. The industries of the future, from biotechnology to nanotechnology, are dominated by the United States. The best research centers, universities and companies remain American.

We also have the most dynamic society in the developed world. While Japan has entered and Italy and Germany are approaching a demographic death spiral, the United States remains young, vibrant and active. Demographics is not destiny, but it helps mightily to have a growing society, with a healthy share of young workers — who are also taxpayers. This country still attracts the most immigrants and most investment in the world....

The United States has problems. But unlike many other countries, it also has solutions. And since politicians won’t, citizens are increasingly finding ways to propose these solutions. That’s something to be thankful for — and hopeful about.

Read the rest of my column in The Washington Post.

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Topics: Economy • From Fareed • United States

soundoff (16 Responses)
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    November 24, 2011 at 8:48 am | Reply
    • Chris, Austin


      November 24, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Reply
  2. jal

    Lets not forget the 2008 election and how much John Mccain is a sore loser. That is where the Repbublican "NO" started. I still don't see the 2012 republicans showing up with aprons and brooms. Until I see that, I predict Obama to win in 2012.

    November 24, 2011 at 9:08 am | Reply
  3. Onesmallvoice

    Yes, there are sensible solutions to our economic chaos. The most sensible being is to get us out of all these useless and unnecessary wars overseas and to cut the excessive and unnecessary military spending. And finally, make the rich pay their fair share of the taxes. But first, we have to somehow break the stranglehold that the Military-Industrial-Complex has on this nation!!! In other words, vote Oabama along with his right-wing henchmen out of office!!!

    November 24, 2011 at 9:11 am | Reply
    • Chris, Austin

      Yes, because putting the GOP in charge of this country is how you prevent foreign wars. Compare Bush's completely foolish and unnecessary multi-trillion dollar invasion of Iraq to how President Obama handled Libya. Libya. No, Libya – it's in Africa. Africa. It's a continent. It's... Do you need to get your flashcards? We'll wait.

      November 24, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Reply
    • mary

      obama promised to raise tax on the rich (expire bush tax cut) and cut defense spending after the super committee failed. republicans oppose both proposals. so what is your point? do you fantasize about the third party, maybe?

      November 24, 2011 at 9:23 pm | Reply
    • mark o. david

      Every thing you said is true.None of it is sensible from the view point of Americas corporate masters.First America brought down the communists and then the terrorists and NOW the objective MUST be to control the "Corporatists".Until this is accomplished NOTHING sensible is going to happen

      November 28, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Reply
  4. j. von hettlingen

    Fareed, you're right! Compared to many countries – especially the European ones – the U.S. is still in a better shape. It has plenty of space, a dynamic academic environment, a carefree lifestyle and spirit and a thriving population. Very few countries in the world have all these qualities together. The U.S. economic downturn is cyclical and can be cured. it's a matter of a decade or two. that its economy regains its strength. Happy thanksgiving to all of you!

    November 24, 2011 at 9:40 am | Reply
    • USA

      Thank you for the economic downturn; it is exactly what we need >>>> a wake up call.

      November 24, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Reply
  5. Delex.

    O yes! the rest of the world have to count their losses for the U.S to give thanks. So, someone has to cry for another to laugh.

    November 24, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Reply
  6. Muin

    You don't foresee a future where other countries create a bigger global alliance. Do you have to have people of all kinds inside the country to be a global player.?

    November 25, 2011 at 3:26 am | Reply
  7. David Rudich

    It is of critical importance to understand that increased military spending substantially increases unemployment. Additional military expenditures are not used to put more personel under arms. They are used to develop and acquire weapons systems that are capital intensive, but not labor intensive. Money is taxed out of the economy that would otherwise be expended and recycled to buy goods and services, thus improving our standards of living and increasing employment. Instead, it is used to remove materials and goods and engineering services from the available supply thereby increasing inflationary pressure when the economy recovers.

    November 27, 2011 at 7:23 pm | Reply
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