No, America Is Not a Poor Country

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When Donald Trump says America is a loser, apparently he’s dead serious. Judging by some of his answers during his interview with the Washington Post editorial board yesterday, he genuinely thinks we’ve all but slipped into third-world status these days. Here he is on American support for NATO:

NATO was set up at a different time. NATO was set up when we were a richer country. We’re not a rich country. We’re borrowing, we’re borrowing all of this money.

On South Korea:

That’s a wealthy country. They make the ships, they make the televisions, they make the air conditioning. They make tremendous amounts of products….I think that we are not in the position that we used to be. I think we were a very powerful, very wealthy country. And we’re a poor country now. We’re a debtor nation.

And on Saudi Arabia:

If you look at Germany, if you look at Saudi Arabia, if you look at Japan, if you look at South Korea — I mean we spend billions of dollars on Saudi Arabia, and they have nothing but money. And I say, why?…We pay billions— hundreds of billions of dollars to supporting other countries that are in theory wealthier than we are….I mean we spend billions of dollars on Saudi Arabia, and they have nothing but money. And I say, why?

“We’re a poor country now.” I wonder how many people believe that just because Donald Trump keeps saying it? In case anyone cares, the actual truth is in the chart on the right. There’s not a single country in the world bigger than 10 million people that’s as rich as the US.

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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