In a recent study conducted by Penn, Schoen, Berland, over 60 percent of registered American voters over the age of 25 believe the quality of life for the next generation of middle class Americans will be worse than today.
Anxiety about our place in the world shouldn't lead us to ignore all the improvements happening as a result of innovation and other progress. We shouldn't worry so much about whether other countries are catching up with us. Instead we should renew our own economic vitality by doing what we've done before: investing for the long term in education, science, infrastructure and stable government.
Throughout our history, these five pillars have made it possible for Americans to apply their individual energies, their talents, and their entrepreneurial drive to make themselves, and their country, richer and more powerful. Taken together, the five make up a uniquely American formula for prosperity, one in which the government creates the foundations for the risk-taking and innovation delivered by the private sector.
Excerpts from That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back by Thomas L. Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum. Copyright © 2011 by Thomas L. Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum. Reproduced by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC.