Talk bridges, not burrito bowls

Democratic presidential hopeful and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton looks on during a roundtable discussion with members of the small business community at Capital City Fruit on April 15, 2015 in Norwalk, Iowa.

(CNN)The United States, like most advanced industrial countries, needs reform and restructuring. Regulations pile up and lobbies fight hard to keep benefits for established players. Meanwhile, there are no special interests for the industries of the future. The tax code is a corrupt mess. But is this the greatest and most urgent problem facing the United States today?

When you compare America with the rest of the world, it does not seem to be hobbled by inefficiencies. In the World Economic Forum's latest Global Competitiveness Report, the United States ranks third — and the countries before it, Switzerland and Singapore, are tiny. This is why America has outperformed almost every other advanced economy since the global crisis of 2008.
On the other hand, America is in dire need of investment — in physical and human capital. In the same report, the United States ranks 12th in overall infrastructure, 24th in quality of electricity supply and a stunning 101st in mobile telephone subscriptions.