The fact is America is great, but we can make it even better. With this being an election year there's lot of talk from people of all walks of life, and especially presidential candidates, spewing all kinds of ideas about what's wrong with America and how to fix it. The problem is most people are spewing about the extremes. The right is complaining there's too much regulation and and too big of government, the left is complaining that the country is being taken over by the rich and government needs to take away their money to pay for the poor.
What we really need to make America great is to increase the middle class. There are far too many people at the bottom that are either in poverty or barely scraping by a living wage while the few at the top control far too much of the country's wealth. Taking from the top and giving it to the bottom is not the solution. Most of the people at the top worked hard to earn their money, although sometimes they were able to acquire too much too easily, but it's their innovations that have kept the economy growing. What this country really needs is lots of people buying modest homes, not a few people buying yet another mansion. What this country really needs is lots of people buying modest cars, not a few adding yet another exotic to their collection. What is needed is regulation that keeps a free market society, but puts rules in place to keep people of power from taking unfair advantage for personal gain rather than for the benefit of all.
The American auto industry collapsed because it wasn't listening to its customers. At a time when consumers were looking for smaller, more reliable, fuel efficient cars, American auto makers were making poor quality large gas guzzling cars. What happened is the Japanese auto industry stepped in and filled the needs of consumers who's needs were going unmet and the American auto industry paid the price.
The American manufacturing industry however suffered a slightly different fate. While American workers were seeing higher pay, shorter hours, and better working conditions, foreign companies were able to flood the market with poor quality cheaply made merchandise using low paid workers putting in long hours. While some American companies were able to remain competitive by either reducing costs or creating innovative products, many American companies, especially those manufacturing commodities, couldn't compete on price and American consumers were willing to give up quality in order save a few bucks. Unfortunately this cut consumer demand for American products enough that American companies could no longer stay in business and many skilled factory workers were out of jobs without the skills needed to compete in a new workforce.