The United States dropped in the Global Competitiveness Index ranking for the fourth year in a row because of exploding debt and deficits even as liberty-minded Switzerland maintained its top spot, according to an annual survey published by the World Economic Forum (WEF). Having placed fifth last year and first in 2008 before Obama assumed power, the U.S. economy continued its downward spiral, slipping to an embarrassing seventh place in the most recent 2012-2013 rankings. Even Sweden, famous for its massive government and high taxes, ranks higher than America.
According to the WEF survey, the American economy’s sharp decline in recent years is due to, among other problems, a lack of trust in government and politicians — especially by businesses — as well as declining macroeconomic and political stability. More important to the latest drop in the rankings this year, however: increasing fears over the U.S. economy’s fiscal health as the federal government continues to borrow more than a trillion dollars per year with no end in sight.
"We see this development as a result of the growing macroeconomic imbalances in the country but also due to the political deadlock that has been augmenting the problem of macroeconomic imbalances," WEF senior economist Margareta Drzeniek was quoted as saying. "There does seem to be an inability to make decisions on the political side."
The WEF think tank itself, famous for its annual gathering of global elites in Switzerland, echoed those concerns. "In addition to the burgeoning macroeconomic vulnerabilities, some aspects of the country's [United States] institutional environment continue to raise concern among business leaders, particularly the low public trust in politicians and a perceived lack of government efficiency," the Geneva-based institution explained.
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Photo of Swiss National Bank headquarters in Bern, Switzerland