World Economic Forum downgrades America
In its latest listing of the world’s most competitive economies, the United States has slumped down to slot number five, trailing (in order) Switzerland, Singapore, Sweden and Finland. The US held the first-place position back in 2008, but the recession that started a downward spiral late that year has displaced the United States into lower standing in the years since. Last year the US held on to spot number four, but the 2011 report by the forum has America usurped, barely clutching onto fifth place. This year’s fourth-place holder, Finland, is up from seventh place last year.Those looking for a reason for America’s decline in standing needn’t look much further than the debt dilemma that has plagued politics and have caused bipartisan blight throughout 2011. The forum explicitly states that "a number of escalating weaknesses" exist in America, but singles out rising government debt and a declining public faith in political leaders and corporate ethics as among the largest contributors to the fifth-place ruling. While Congress may have voted in a temporary measure to make-over the debt crisis, the latest polls show that that isn’t enough for Americans to stand behind President Barack Obama. A survey conducted by the Washington Post in conjunction with ABC News revealed this week that the commander-in-chief’s disapproval rating is at an all-time high. Similar studies by Gallup and NBC News and the Wall Street Journal show comparable conclusions. Meanwhile, however, Obama’s appeal to Americans, unrelated to his work approval, remains high.The forum also writes that while America may be on the decline, its productivity, education system and innovative and sophisticated companies lends to a standing still in the top five. America is also celebrated for a “flexible” labor market, though the economists associated with the forum may have failed to take into consideration the stagnant unemployment problem that has plagued the country throughout the Obama administration. The president is set to discuss the issue in a speech to the public tomorrow. The forum has been issuing its rankings for over 30 years by surveying 15,000 business executives and analyzing economic trends for the year. 142 nations are taking into account for the analysis, which also put the nations of Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Japan and Britain in spots sixth through tenth, respectively.