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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 13, 2010 / 29 Nissan 5770

5 Ways to Keep America Great: Americans are used to being at the top. Here's how we stay there

By Mort Zuckerman

Mort Zuckerman



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | There are good news days and there are bad news days, but altogether Americans are a little sadder. Everyone seems to be talking about decline and recession, about an aging America that no longer leads the world and is falling behind a rejuvenated China. Once we had the air of what Mark Twain described as "the serene confidence which a Christian feels in four aces." No more.

We worry that we are losing our technology lead. In the year 2000, we had a $29 billion surplus in high-tech products; today, we have a deficit exceeding $60 billion.

We worry that our children will not enjoy the opportunities we so long took for granted.

We worry that our runaway financial system has not been fixed and our healthcare problems are not really solved. We face trillion-dollar deficits as far as the eye can see.

Hardly anybody, it seems, has confidence anymore in our governmental system. It is not surprising. Democrats and Republicans voting against each other has become de rigueur. One recent study found that 70 percent of bills today face a filibuster; in the 1960s, only 8 percent did. There is a sigh of "too true" in Mancur Olson's contention (in his book, The Rise and Decline of Nations) that one of the consequences of institutional aging is the creation of a culture of entitlement: Special interest groups inevitably take bite after tiny bite out of the total national wealth through tax breaks, special appropriations, earmarks, and other favors that are all much easier to initiate than to end.

Yes, yes, but sadness should not give way to despair. If the new frontier of the world today is the global economy, we are as well placed to exploit that as we were in the new continental marketplace of a century ago. In 1800, America was a nation of farmers with about three quarters of the labor force in agriculture. Today, agriculture employs less than 3 percent of the workforce, and food is cheaper and more plentiful than ever. And, troublesome as the transition is, we rely less than ever on the old industrial economy.

Sure, we are challenged in technology, but our past investments and high-tech training have increased quality control and improved information systems to adjust supply, prices, and output more quickly. Today we spend twice as much per capita on info tech as Western European firms and eight times the global average. We've replaced large, mass-produced consumer products with sophisticated goods derived from intellectual output and knowledge-based industries, now the fastest-growing segment of the world's economy. Management has been assisted by a labor flexibility that is the envy both of Europe—whose legacy is one of management demarcations by unions and crafts—and of Asia, where management is stifled by large oligopolistic networks and government mandates.

Throughout history, America has uniquely encouraged the development of a culture of enterprise and management. How else could it serve a market stretching vast distances over mountain, desert, and river? How else could it have met the needs of such diverse populations? Psychologically, our business culture has long valued individualism, entrepreneurialism, pragmatism, and novelty. But with these came an abiding respect for the rule of law by which the country was founded. So American business came to be dominated by contract and law rather than kinship and custom, not by primogeniture but by merit and a common belief in technology and scientific management. It was an American, Frederick Winslow Taylor, who pioneered time-and-motion study, and an American who developed the assembly line.

Our people are mobile physically and mentally. No other country has a population so given to self-help, self-improvement, even self-renovation. No other country invests so much in training and retraining, not to mention boasting the largest and most advanced graduate and undergraduate business schools. No other country draws so many of the world's best and brightest to its labs and universities. Of the world's top universities, the majority are American, and none is Chinese. The young Chinese—and Indians, Brazilians, and Europeans—know that the level of opportunity in America and the potential to participate in the businesses that stem from innovation are far beyond what they have at home. China's public spending on education—for a population four times as large and an economy four times as small—is about one third of that of the United States. No other country sees its most talented people move so overwhelmingly into the private sector, where the most successful are rewarded as symbols in a nation of doers.

Blue-chip companies no longer have a lock on recruiting the most outstanding workers. Instead, they compete with thousands of smaller companies, roughly 2 million in the last decade, that have the potential to blossom and grow, even as thousands have gone belly-up. And as soon as new products and services are developed, American businesses' unique marketing and advertising skills give them the potential to establish success at home and abroad.

We are even better suited for today's rapidly growing knowledge-based economy than for the mass-production industrial economy. We grow from the grass roots in a way that enhances our capacity to absorb, adapt to, and manage ongoing revolutions in technology, information, and logistics that are too dynamic and complex to be handled by a top-down system. This is how we are able to marry a new economy to an older economic culture.

In fact, everything about American society nurtures the traits that offer the greatest rewards to the industries and technologies of the future: flexibility, openness, reinvention, and a get-up-and-go spirit.

America is the only country that invests in so many of its young people, who are the most comfortable and creative with the new technologies. We increasingly fund the future, not the past; the new and not the old. And this is not short-term capital but long-term, risky investments, reflecting a merit-based, diversified financial environment. Only when there is money to back good ideas will the necessary economic synergy emerge.

To all of this we must add America's cultural sway in the world. Seven of the 10 most-watched TV shows around the world are American; Avatar is both a technological advance and the world's top-grossing film; U.S. nationals from McDonald's to Nike book more than half their revenues overseas. To a greater extent than anything else, what binds the people of the world is American culture: its music, its entertainment, its electronic games, its consumer brands, Google. We are still living in an American century, even as it frays a bit at the edges. The notion of American exceptionalism still endures.

Worry has always preceded reform in America. We have had periods of decline and loss of confidence as we do now. But America has always bounced back.

We are not (most of us!) subservient to some outdated theory or attached to some ideology. There is a developing consensus on what we have to do:

1. Invest in the nation's decaying infrastructure, including the electric grid and broadband network. Remember those long-term projects initiated by the government that were taken up and developed by private enterprise: the Internet, created by the Pentagon; the GPS networks, started by the Department of Defense; and the technologies related to the human genome, begun by the National Institutes of Health.

2. Make it easier for foreigners to come here for education and easier for them to get advanced degrees in science and engineering and then stick around after graduation. We cannot afford to lose this talent. The number of H1-B visas for which these people would qualify was reduced from 195,000 at the beginning of this century to 65,000 as a result of union pressures. This is no way to run a railroad.

3. Create an institution similar to the U.S. Export-Import Bank, which lends to companies so they can fill export orders.

4. Establish our own version of the large industrial zones in Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, and much of China. (I speak from experience, having had a hand in developing large-scale industrial parks.) They offer one-stop shopping for all the necessary permits and regulatory approvals, including land, water, and power for manufacturing facilities.

5. Re-conceptualize immigration as a recruiting tool. Immigration, I know, is a contentious issue. I don't advocate a wide-open door. Welcoming immigrants is a demonstrated core capability of America's political economy, enabling us to improve our stock of human and intellectual capital. We might well set up recruiting offices around the world to look for the best possible talent, an immigration policy practiced by countries like Australia and Canada to their great advantage. These are not people who replace American jobs; they create American jobs, even though the benefits are harder to perceive in the shorter term.

In the end, it's a question of vision and leadership for regeneration of the American dream. It can be done. It must be done.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

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Mort Zuckerman is editor-in-chief and publisher of U.S. News and World Report.

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© 2009, Mortimer Zuckerman

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