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Editorial: Dysfunction feeding decline

While the continuing slow pace of our recovery has not provided enough incentive for members of Congress to work together, perhaps the knowledge that more people in the U.S. and across the globe see China replacing us as the number one economic power will wake us up to how badly we are being hurt by our own political dysfunction.
An Associated Press report this week gave contrasting reports on the economy, with Republicans generally more pessimistic and Democrats more optimistic, yet overall recovery projections in the coming years continuing their bleak pace.
Democrats tout job gains, but most of those jobs are part-time or low-paying. Republicans blame the Democrats for the lack of job growth, but take every opportunity to thwart initiatives that could improve the situation.
On education, the Associated Press reported this week that the House has worked on revisions to President George W. Bush's landmark No Child Left Behind act which would essentially eliminate national standards and put control of such things as teacher evaluations and improvement plans in the hands of states. Republicans continue to falsely label Common Core initiatives, which aim to strengthen students' skills in core areas, as an Obama initiative being dictated to states, when it fact it was states themselves that got together to formulate the plan and objectives which have been voluntarily adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia.
And this week saw another example of brinkmanship when Democrats in the Senate got so fed up with Republican blocking of presidential nominees that they threatened to change the rules. Only a last minute deal resolved the situation, but already the stage is being set for more politics over policy fighting over next year's budget and a need to raise the debt ceiling.
In whole, looking at how our government is functioning, or not functioning as the case may be, it is no wonder that the latest poll from the Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project shows that while America is still seen globally as the world's top economic power, it is quickly losing ground to China.
The poll, according to The Associated Press, showed, "China has gained rapidly in the eyes of the rest of the world, and many say it ultimately will replace America as the world's top global economic force."
Globally, people see China on the rise and America on the decline, and that is even true here in America. According to the AP, "Americans are about evenly divided over which country has the stronger economy, with 44 percent saying China and 39 percent the United States."
That fact alone should provide more than enough incentive for Republicans and Democrats to work together.

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