Another reason I think we are in trouble is the education system. I think we are falling behind the rest of the world. It is a catch-22 where certain industries are outsourcing their jobs to other countries such as India and China, and in turn we are not having enough students majoring in engineering and similar high tech fields. Their reasoning is, why bother, there are no jobs in the USA anyway. Even if there are, the pay is so low that it does not appeal to them. My son who is studying engineering at an ivy league college is finding it almost impossible to get a summer internship in that field. On the other hand, with his engineering background, wall street would be very happy to hire him.
What can we do? Well, we have to learn to treat our teachers better, we have to realize their value for the future of our kids and our jobs. Ditto for nurses (even though there I feel we have created a group, with an attitude, that feels we owe them the world, just like in the DMV and the Post office - please take no offense, I don't mean all). When we value a highly paid athlete and make a role model out of them (despite their poor or no education and questionable way of life), we are sending the wrong message to our kids. I know this is a sore point, i.e. pay people for what they are worth, but short term thinking is very dangerous for the long term well being of a country.
The role models should be the teachers, leaders of communities, volunteers, small business owners who create jobs, and even some of our big corporate CEOs that are creating industries, wealth and future leaders in their communities.
This is a very difficult situation which I don't have answers to. I don't know how to solve it. All I know is that we have to have some kind of reward system, such as tax credits, financial help, etc. for students who are majoring in the less desirable courses and for the corporations that hire them.
Unfortunately, we (the USA) cannot be the only country in the world to play by the rules if no other country is doing the same. The same holds true about our 'justice system' to protect terrorists, but that is another subject and I only wanted to make an analogy.
More to come. How about some input from others?