I have a real problem with progressives and others that claim that America’s wealth threshold has already been reached and we have nowhere else to go but down. I couldn’t disagree more.
The Economist has reaffirmed that America remains the world's richest large country. “It's generally estimated to have a per capita GDP level around $45,000, while the richest European nations manage only a $40,000 or so per capita GDP (setting aside low population, oil-rich states like Norway). Wealth underlies America's sense of itself as a special country, and it's also cited as evidence that America is better than other economies on a range of variables, from economic freedom to optimism to business savvy to work ethic.”
An article on the Western Journalism site sums it up nicely: “America is great because we are a nation of dreamers, inventors, artists, builders and doers. We exalt in achievement, rebound from failure and encourage one another every step of the way, from the little league, to the majors, in every walk of life.”
According to the SBA, small businesses account for about 74% of all new jobs created in this country. Entrepreneurship stimulates job growth, creates new opportunities in cities that need them, and makes people better versions of themselves.
“To be an American is to become an American: a person has to make a conscious effort to consider and believe in our principles, the most successful applied principles ever seen anywhere at any time.”
The United States has the largest consumer market in the world, with a household final consumption expenditure five times larger than Japan's.
Of the world's 500 largest companies, 128 are headquartered in the US.
We can start with Apple, which according to Forbes, continues to outshine its peers in every metric that counts. Among global tech companies it has the highest revenue ($233 billion), profit ($53 billion), assets ($239 billion) and market cap ($586 billion) for the past year.
“These results make Apple not only the biggest tech company in the world, but also bumps it to the 8th largest company in the world- -marking a return to the global top ten–and 4th largest in the U.S. on the 2016 Forbes global tech list.”
Or look at America’s professional services sector, which according to Select USA, in 2014 (the latest data available), the U.S. professional services industry comprised about 883,000 firms, up from 869,000 in 2013. The industry employed 8.6 million Americans in 2014, up from 8.3 million in 2013. The industry achieved combined annual revenues of $1.6 trillion in 2015 (a 4.0 percent increase from 2014).
“The world’s leading professional services companies locate in the United States to serve the large and dynamic U.S. corporate sector. The United States features a transparent, stable regulatory environment, strong intellectual property rights protection and enforcement, and a reliable judicial system. Together with a highly skilled workforce and intellectual leadership from the boardroom to the classroom, the United States generates a greater and more stable demand for professional services than any other country.”
And we can’t forget manufacturing, where according to the National Association of Manufacturers, there are 12.3 million manufacturing workers in the United States, accounting for 9 percent of the workforce. Since the end of the recent recession, manufacturers have hired more than 800,000 workers.
In 2015, the average manufacturing worker in the United States earned $81,289 annually, including pay and benefits. The average worker in all nonfarm industries earned $63,830. Looking specifically at wages, the average manufacturing worker earned nearly $26.00 per hour, according to the latest figures, not including benefits. (Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis and Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Remember those days when everyone was wringing their hands over China? Well, the latest data indicates that China's economic growth slowed in 2016 to its softest pace in 26 years.
In short, while many parts of the world are in decline, America is on the rise, creating wealth and good paying jobs. And as regulations begin to fall and the corporate tax rate is reduced, we will see even more wealth created.
Over the next decade, nearly 3½ million manufacturing jobs will likely be needed, and 2 million are expected to go unfilled due to the skills gap. Moreover, according to a recent report, 80 percent of manufacturers report a moderate or serious shortage of qualified applicants for skilled and highly-skilled production positions.
Let’s not forget about trade. Despite the rhetoric from both sides of the political spectrum that denounces trade, when American manufacturers are given a fair chance to compete, they do amazingly well. The United States enjoyed a $12.7 billion manufacturing trade surplus with its trade agreement partners in 2015, compared with a $639.6 billion deficit with other countries. (Source: U.S. Commerce Department).
We need more trade agreements, not less. Imagine the wealth and jobs that would be created right here at home if America had an overall trade surplus with all our trading partners. You may call me a dreamer but the facts support this proposition. It is time to unshackle the American entrepreneur and give them access to foreign markets in the same way foreign manufacturers have access to our market.
I fervently believe the vast majority of the wealth in the world has still not yet been created. The question is: where will it be created? Will it be in our country or somewhere else? The answer to that question will largely be decided by the decisions we make on tax reform, regulatory relief, trade policy, healthcare and energy policy. America has yet to realize its wealth potential. Will we stand in the way, or will we lead the way?
Neal Asbury is chief executive of The Legacy Companies.