Recently, the United States dropped to fourth in a study of how competitive various economies are on the world stage. The article cites a massive budget shortfall and public distrust of politicians as causes. This study has been widely reported, and I've heard everyone and anyone expounding on their solutions to the problem. One radio commentator said that the best thing we could do would be to lengthen the school year by shortening the summer break for students. FOCUS: What should countries do to maintain their competitive edge? ALTERNATE FOCUS: A shorter summer break? That's un-possible! RULES: As with other Sober Threads, the no-politics rule is suspended in this thread. However, the no-asshole, no trolling, and no name-calling rules still apply.