Even in its current malaise, the U.S. still soars above the global competition.
Germany’s first chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, supposedly once said that there was “a special providence for drunkards, fools, and the United States of America.”
Apparently, late 19th-century observers could not quite explain how the U.S. thrived when by logic it should not. That paradox has never been more true than today.
The U.S. government now owes more than $18 trillion in long-term debt. Even after recent income-tax hikes for the very wealthy and huge cuts in the defense budget, the Obama administration will still run an annual budget deficit of nearly $500 billion.