US Economy

Ex-Bush 43 economist: Here are 4 things the US already has going for it

Lazear: Four things the U.S. has going for it

When a president sets the stage for the next four years, it's critical to think not only about the country's negatives, but its positives, and in the case of the United States, there are four key attributes that already make it great, economist Ed Lazear told CNBC on Monday.

"If you look at the history of the United States and our economy in particular, and you look at where we've been and what we've accomplished, it's really an amazing story," Lazear told "Squawk Box." "It's a story that's been unmatched by any country in the history of the world."

The former chairman of George W. Bush's Council of Economic Advisers and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Lazear said that rising above the rest wasn't simple, but required four critical characteristics.

"I would say there are a few things that we have going [for us]," he said. "One is we're industrious, the other is we're mobile, the third is we're low-tax and the fourth, believe it or not, is we're actually a welcoming society."

U.S. industry, specifically the labor market, is more hard-working and opportunistic than any other nation's, Lazear argued. "Look at the amount of churn there is in the labor market. Every year, 40 percent of the jobs turn over. Every single year. That's amazing," he said.

Turnover rates are reported bimonthly by the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics in a report called the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS. Read CNBC's report on November's JOLTS here.

Taxes are also a critical part of the equation, Lazear said. "I complain about high taxes, I don't like what the last administration did to our tax rates, but even then, even with that, we still have a 25 percent tax-to-GDP ratio," the economist said.

Lazear compared the U.S. rate to Italy, where the tax-to-GDP rate is slightly higher than 43 percent, and France, where the rate is just over 45 percent.

Finally, the welcoming nature of the United States has been something for immigrants to write home about for decades, Lazear argued.

"You look at any other country, any G-7 country, their immigrants have higher unemployment rates than we have," he said, referring to the United States, Canada, Italy, Japan, Germany, France and the United Kingdom. The informal group meets annually to discuss global affairs.

"Our immigrants have a 10 percent lower unemployment rate than the native-born population, so we've got a lot of things going for us," Lazear continued. "I think that ... we can look forward to a positive future, and I'm hopeful."