A higher GDP doesn't mean a better life. There is too much inequality in wealth and income distribution to suggest that would be true.
In America, the following are the priorities.
This has been decreasing the last few years due to the policies of the current administration, tax breaks, reducing regulations, higher employment participation and the elimination of affordable health insurance for many Americans.
The bigger priority now, in my opinion, is to have a strong and vibrant economy. This should be with high-paying jobs that allow workers to support a household.
When we look at GDP (a single number) we miss the real estate of the economy, where we live and the difference between the middle class and the rich.
GDP does not address the costs that are incurred from taxes, health care, and living expenses.
It also does not acknowledge the absence of clean air, clean water, and safe food. Or the fact that even food that is produced in a free and fair market is produced in ways that many disagree with.
Other countries work hard to ensure that all of their citizens are healthy, educated, safe, and have the opportunity to earn a decent living.
I believe that we should strive to be in that category, but our country is failing.
We see this when a child who is born in the United States has a 1 in 10 chance of living past age 25.
We also see this when we look at health outcomes; diabetes, asthma, obesity, lead exposure, etc.
The EPA estimates that lead exposure in the United States is almost 60% higher than the levels that the EPA set for childhood blood lead levels in the early 2000s.
In addition, American workers face work injuries that are greater than many other industrialized countries, especially in manufacturing.
Because of our policies, there is little incentive for new businesses to come into our country.
It is easy for a corporation to set up shop in another country, because of lower taxes, better workers' compensation, health benefits and much lower cost of living.
If I were a young man and child of a poor family, I would not want to be in the U.S. because I know that the costs of living are high.
I would look for a country that allowed me to get a high-quality education, where I was able to get a good job and start a family.
Once I left America, I would have no worries about the cost of health care, insurance, or housing.
I would never have to worry about my economic stability again. No paying taxes to help someone get a higher education, or the cost of higher education would be more reasonable.
I would have the ability to use my time to improve my health, rather than having the pressure of having to work all the time, or getting hurt on the job.
At the same time, I would be able to spend time with my family, I would be able to spend time with my grandchildren, and I would be able to work with people of all backgrounds.
So that I could earn their trust and help them see that I wanted to do right by them, not only economically, but also mentally, and socially.
By reducing the taxes on the rich, we will have less money to help the poor, provide quality health care to all citizens, and maintain clean air, water and food.
At the same time, we will have less money to have infrastructure such as schools, roads and bridges, police and fire stations, libraries and roads, and other necessities of life.
Because we tax the poor so heavily, and force them to have no health care or to go to emergency rooms to get a basic prescription.
We will have less money to spend on social services such as seniors' programs, Meals on Wheels, and organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club, the YMCA, Meals on Wheels for the elderly, and many others.
In addition, with less money to fund education, we will have less resources to ensure that our children are educated.
Having a proper education will make them healthier, have a higher life expectancy, have a better chance of reaching their dreams, and not have a record like me, or like so many in our society today, and get into trouble with the law.
I have grown older, and I have much more life experience than many in our society. Now I have a child of my own.
I see the pain and heartache that so many in our society are going through, and I wish that I could help them. Unfortunately, I cannot.
We have to do something. I urge you to look into your hearts, and find out what you can do to reduce the debt in our society.
Get involved, take action, and make a difference for all of us.
In the words of John Donne, "No man is an island entire of itself, every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main."