American economy needs further boost20 February 2014
Carrie Sheffield :
An interesting trending online compares the economies of American states with global economies. There isn't uniform thinking about this, with various maps highlighted by Policy Mic, TIME magazine, and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune (there's even one from 2007 from a blog called Strange Maps).
The United States is punching way above its weight, with just 4.4 percent of the world's population producing 22.3 percent of world GDP in 2012, and these maps help visualize this.
But what's missing from these posts is a discussion of how American exceptionalism (and yes, Russian President Putin, it's real) wrought by a culture of economic freedom coupled with the rule of law and a robust higher education system are the secrets behind our phenomenal success.
Even the handful of countries with higher per capita GDP than the United States each have a dramatically lower total GDP than our $16.2 trillion. And the second-largest economy, China with $8.2 trillion, has a per capita of $9,100 compared to America's $51,700. Democrats are trying to shift attention away from Obamacare onto income inequality this election cycle, yet we're light years ahead of the rest of the world in a relative sense.
Yes we must improve educational opportunities to train impoverished adults and kids for an information-based economy, but we shouldn't do this at the expense of economic growth.
And in this economic recovery, states with the best economic growth tend to be the ones with a more hospitable business climate.
States with the most troubled urban areas have the highest tax burdens and restrictive regulations, which in turn trigger economic slowdown that kill jobs and blight communities. We can do better.
The map from Adam Belz of the Star-Tribune does a good job overlaying some of the higher populated countries, illustrating the stark contrast between nations vs. states.
For example, Egypt has a population of nearly 81 million and its GDP is roughly the size of Wisconsin's, which has less than 5.7 million people. Russia has 143.5 million people compared to California's 38 million people, yet both have GDP around $2 trillion.
Pakistan's GDP of $225 million with 179 million people is just below Connecticut's $229.3 million GDP from a mere 3.6 million people.
These maps also doesn't compute how much U.S. innovation ignites GDP growth in other countries. As Greg Mankiw points out, globalization is overwhelmingly good for economic growth.
However, this map from Trading Economics shows we've still got to get our fiscal house in order in terms of lowering our debt-to-GDP. Right now we're peers with Japan, Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Italy, not exactly best in show.
(Carrie Sheffield is a writer and political analyst based in New York City. Sheffield is a former editorial writer for The Washington Times, a reporter for Politico, and The Hill newspaper.)