"With a recent ratings downgrade, chronic unemployment, a growing budget deficit and a political system that seems determined to self-destruct, it might appear that the U.S. is losing its grip as the world's top economic power.
But analysts say that despite the laundry list of troubles—and predictions of an American decline—the country is far from losing its ranking as the number one economy on the globe.
"The U.S. economy is the largest in the world, and the country has one of the highest average incomes in the world," says Matthew Rafferty, professor of economics in the Quinnipiac University School of Business. "There are few countries that are likely to rival the U.S. in the near future."
"I don't see U.S. power being eclipsed in the short term or even medium term," says Usha Haley, professor of international business at Massey University in Auckland, New Zealand. "The U.S. has problems of course, but the demise of the USA is much exaggerated."
What's keeping the U.S. afloat in a sea of economic woes, analysts say, is what's kept it upright in the past—innovation and the ability to produce."
The trouble with this analysis isn't that's wrong, it's largely right on a relative basis-it is true enough that as bad as we are Japan and Europe are probably worse. So sure in the world of the blind the one-eyed man is king, but he still can't see very well.
That things are worse in Europe or Japan is cold comfort Americans struggling with unemployment or are underwater on their mortgages.
The example of Japan is a cautionary tale; it could be that the the new normal will be like Japan's of long-term weak growth. It may be that the new normal will be for all of us worse that it was for Japan at least before the current crisis.