May 1, 2016


U.S. Decline Is Campaign Hype, Not Reality (Albert R. Hunt, 5/01/16, Bloomberg View)

[N]o Western economy has recovered from the recession as well as the U.S. The unemployment rate has been cut in half, with 14 million jobs added over the past six years. 

Most other indices are encouraging: Consumer confidence has risen and the housing market has basically recovered. Budget deficits have plummeted, there's less reliance on foreign oil than any time in almost three decades, and the health care overhaul has had more positive consequences than negative ones. [...]

There are encouraging developments on issues emphasized by conservatives. There are only about half as many abortions as 30 years ago. Teenage pregnancies have plummeted. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported last week that the birthrate among American teenagers has fallen to a historic low. This continues a quarter-century of improvement; especially important to experts is that the sharpest drops have been among Hispanic and black teenagers.  

And there is good news on crime. Both the murder rate and overall violent crime rate have been cut almost in half since the 1980s. There's bipartisan consensus to try to do something about the outrageously high incarceration levels, particularly for blacks. There is a chance that even this do-nothing Congress might pass measures.  

The world is a dangerous place, but it's not as threatening to the U.S. as it was 10 years ago when two wars raged. There is slow progress in the fight against the Islamic state, though future terrorist acts are inevitable and the danger will remain for years.

Critics claim that President Vladimir Putin of Russia has consistently outmaneuvered President Barack Obama. Yet Russia is more isolated today and subject to economic sanctions. And Putin's Syrian involvement could become a quagmire. China is more important and has been more aggressive in Asia, but its internal political and economic problems dwarf those of the U.S.  

Posted by at May 1, 2016 6:38 PM