one seems willing to pay the price.” Or, as Jeffrey Immelt, the CEO of General Electric, put it to us: “What we lack in the U.S. today is the confidence that is generated by solving one big, hard problem—together.” It has been a long time now since we did something big and hard together. We will argue that this slow-motion decline has four broad causes. First, since the end of the Cold
Second, over the last twenty years, we as a country have failed to address some of our biggest problems—particularly education, deficits and debt, and energy and climate change—and now they have all worsened to a point where they cannot be ignored but they also cannot be effectively addressed without collective action and collective sacrifice.
end. The goal is for America to remain a great country. This means that while reducing our deficits, we must also invest in education, infrastructure, and research and development, as well as open our society more widely to talented immigrants and fix the regulations that govern our economy. Immigration, education, and sensible regulation are traditional ingredients of the American formula for greatness.
America’s future depends not on our adopting features of the Chinese system, but on our making our own democratic system work with the kind of focus, moral authority, seriousness, collective action, and stick-to-itiveness that China has managed to generate by authoritarian means for the last several decades.