My favorite part of this is the invocation of “data” to prove the click-bait opinion that the US is just OK. Technocratic and anti-patriotic is precisely the NYT brand.
Of course, the most relevant data might be net migration (or attempted net-migration). After all, unlike the Soviet Empire, no one is proposing a wall to keep people in. But the beauty of technocracy is that the technocrats get to pick the metrics.
Similarly, when it comes to school choice one might think that economists would be persuaded simply by the fact that people choose schools to believe that those are likely better for them — revealed preference. But no. They demand test scores, integration measures, social-emotional learning scales, etc.. to judge chosen school quality. Keep measuring (more likely mis-measuring) until the technocrat can find the metric to show how your own better judgement is mistaken.