Is the American Dream in Jeopardy?

Dear PGM Capital Blog readers,

As predicted by our research team USA president Barack Obama won a second term in the White House in yesterday’s USA presidential elections by defeating Republican nominee Mitt Romney, hereby making history as the first US president to survive a dragging economy and stifling unemployment, that already haunted him during his first term and will continue to do so in his second term.

However, once the euphoria fades away, the president will face the challenge of dealing with the US fiscal cliff and debt ceiling before December 31st of this year.

The coming four-year-term will not be an easy one for president Barack Obama and the USA.

Americans have lived beyond their means for decades. It was a culture long defined by a mantra of entitlement, one that promised opportunities for all, while ignoring the risks of going deeper and deeper into debt. The current National debt is over 16,2 Trillion USD (about 102% of GDP) and will reach the debt ceiling of 16,4 Trillion USD by mid December this year.

The number of Americans with incomes at or below 125% of the federal poverty level – the income limit for qualifying for legal aid – is expected to reach an all-time high of 66 million this year, as can be seen from the chart below.

In the 2012 Legatum Prosperity Index, which was released on October 30th, the USA drops out of global prosperity ’top ten’ ranking for the first time.

The six-year-old Legatum Prosperity Index is a study of wealth and wellbeing in 142 countries, based on eight categories such as:

  • Economy
  • Entrepreneurship & Opportunity
  • Governance
  • Education
  • Health
  • Safety & Security
  • Personal Freedom
  • Social Capital

In the 2012 Prosperity Index Ranking USA fell from 10th to 12th position, amid increased doubts about the health of its economy, while Asia’s emerging economies overtook the US in the Economy category.

According to the Index, the national ethos of the US is under threat, as fewer citizens perceive that working hard will indeed get you ahead (85% down from 89% last year). Plus, as business start-up costs rise (to 1.4% of GNI up from 0.7% two years ago) and Information Communication and Technology export levels drop (to 2.4% of exports from 2.6% last year), the US has fallen eight places in the Entrepreneurship & Opportunity category.

Falling consistently since 2009, the US Economy score has now declined to the 20th position, far behind Asia’s leading economies and in the shadow of Eurozone’s powerhouse Germany (6th place).

Extremely high health expenditure has secured second place for the US in the Health category. However, this top position masks the true ailing picture of the Health Care situation in the US.

Not only is the infant mortality rate of 6.5% in the US close to double the European average of 3%, but the US now ranks 33rd overall for life expectancy. Alongside this, almost a quarter (24%) of US citizens stated that health problems prevented them from doing things people of their age would normally do, which is 5% higher than in the UK (19%).

The Education category was the only one in which the US has advanced. Now in 5th place in Education category rankings, the US has climbed eight places since 2011, above the UK and Germany (30th and 15th respectively), but is still falling behind its neighbour Canada (3rd place).

Higher education costs have risen to such a level that it’s almost impossible for most US middle class citizens to afford college tuition. This in comparison to many European Nations, where college costs are much lower and students are entitled to receive a basic scholarship.

The above mentioned results of the 2012 Prosperity Index clearly shows that the USA is on the way of losing its status as Economic Super-Power and a haven for entrepeneurs.

Stocks fell sharply globally on Wednesday, November 7th 2012, with the Dow down 312.95 points and trading below 13,000 for the first time since early August this year. Crude Oil fell more than 4.5% in New York to close below USD 85.00 a barrel. Gold, the canary in the coalmine, on the otherhand closed into the green today.

It is also worth mentioning that our PGM-50 index today closed into the green!

The big question most people should ask themselves, is today’s reaction in the market simply an indicator of the development in the global market, or is this a foretaste of what America may expect for the future?

Until next time.

Yours sincerely,

Eric Panneflek



One thought on “Is the American Dream in Jeopardy?

  • Although the figures presented in your article are irrefutable and carry the message of doom, I refuse to accept a doom’s day scenario for America for the following reasons.
    1. Mr Obama does not need to play ‘mr nice guy’ in his last term of office. He knows that this is it. Either he goes down in history as the president during whose watch America went down the drain, or he will rise to the occasion as Churchill did in Great Britain when the country needed a strong leader. Now, Mr Obama may not be the strong leader Churchill was, but he does have a vision for what the country needs.
    2. I expect him to convince, with or without some arm-twisting, his Republican ‘friends’ to either cooperate or to face utter obliteration at the end of his 2nd term. Because the trend for the Republicans has been set. They must either find the sensible ‘center’ or go down making life for Obama and his policy to save the nation impossible. Politicians are a rare breed when it comes to survival. I think they’ll cooperate and find a way to arrive at a national policy to “SAVE AMRICA”.
    3. This nation has proved that it can achieve the impossible against heavy odds. I know I’m not talking figures, but rather a mindset. History has taught us that sometimes it’s just that mindset, that indomitable spirit of saying NO to defeat that will win the day. I expect the same to happen in the next 4 years in America. They’ll survive, even if human suffering will be horrendous. But thy will survive and in those hard years there will be innovators, new leaders and visionaries who will inspire a nation in distress. And I think that Obama will be that leader who will inspire the masses and give hope and prod that huge American potential to wake up from its slumber of self-complacency.

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