The U.S. has been downgraded by international business leaders, falling from second to fourth in the World Economic Forum's latest Global Competitiveness Index (GCI). Vaulting past the U.S. to take its old slot? Sweden, a model European welfare state with notoriously high tax rates. How did this happen, and how can the U.S. get back on top?

The administration is stifling entrepreneurs: Chalk this up to our "government’s meddlesome ways," says Rocky Vega at The Daily Reckoning. We were the perennial No. 1 until Switzerland knocked up down a peg last year, and our plunge is continuing as the Obama administration's free-spending ways send our deficits sky-high. And unless we do something to turn the budget around and to shore up our "unsound banking system," we'll only fall farther.
"Dropping like a rock: The U.S. continues to lose its competitive edge"

Obama is proposing the right things — but the GOP is blocking him: With this survey and other signs, Obama now recognizes we need to do more to make the U.S. business-friendly, says Ann McFeatters at Scripps News. So he is offering "common-sense, low-cost, job-friendly, GOP-like policies," including tax breaks for business investment. But Republicans are putting politics ahead of country by obstructing him and simultaneously trying to extend the budget-busting Bush tax cuts.
"Watch: U.S. falls in global competitiveness rating"

Maybe we should be more like Sweden: "Has it come to this?" asks Addison Wiggin at Forbes. Sweden is a "notorious bastion of socialism," yet it's now a better place to do business than the U.S. Maybe we should try to learn a lesson from Sweden's transparent but highly regulated society. Apparently "you’re better off dealing with honest socialists than crony capitalists."
"Sweden is a better place to do business than the U.S."