I felt like I left a lot unsaid in my last blog post. Indeed I think I meandered a bit, at least from the posts headline. At the end I alluded to following up on such topics as income inequity and ideological divides in our culture. And I will get to those. But in getting to those I feel like I need to make a larger claim. A claim that is likely to draw some critical ire. But so be it.
America's Real Problem is the title. How does one define this in a mere statement, like I'm about to do? I think it's easier than you would think, though most people would be reluctant to couch the problem the way I'm going to. And I'll back up my claim as best I can, so bear with me, before you unfriend me. :)
America's real problem?
America is no longer the greatest country on earth.
There. I said it. Perhaps it once was, but it is DEFINITELY NO LONGER THE CASE. The reason why it is such a profound problem, with so many devolving complexites? I believe firmly it is precisely because so many people....still think we are the greatest country in the world. Delusion and hubris are not a good basis upon which to solve anything.
Some bullet points...
- Income distribution as a function of the population (GDP). We rank neck and neck with UGANDA??? Really???? Uganda. That bastion of....not very nice placeness....hmm.... (1)
- Infant mortality rate. We rank 51st. 51st!!!!!!! Not first, 51st!! (2)
- CEO Compensation has increased by a factor of 9 since 1970, despite it remaining steady for the prior 40 years. Not 9% people...A factor of 9....900% (3)
- Minimum wage has basically not risen against inflation since the 1950's, and there are three times as many citizens on the minimum wage as a function of the population as a whole. All the while static expenses (food, housing, education, fuel) have risen dramatically (4)
- We spend more on our Military than do the next 13 big spenders....COMBINED. And this doesn't take into account discretionary or V.A. spending, money spent via the NSA, the CIA and other covert operations spending (black budget), or the amount of the national debt we have to pay down because of the financing of past wars. Do that math and we spent more than the next 26. (5)
- In 2011, roughly 49% of all households (and this includes retirees who are receiving their SSI *benefit*, which is not an "entitlement") received funds of some kind (Welfare, EBT, WIC, AFDC, Housing assistance, Earned Income Credit) from the U.S. Government. Consider the tragedy that this is perhaps necessary, vital...to stave off...heaven forbid...social collapse?!?(6)
I could go on and on trying to make my points here, and backing them up with reasonable source data to at least give the impression I'm not pulling my opinion out of the ether, but I trust my basic point is made.
America excels at pretty much nothing anymore except blowing things up. We're really good at saber rattling. Everything else? Is a train wreck. AN UTTER AND EGREGIOUS TRAIN WRECK.
Until we collectively STOP PRETENDING OTHERWISE, all that is really going to take place is the gerrymandering of our ideas and ideals by the few who are reaping the benefits of all of this.
Guns? Gay marriage? really??!?!??!?!? These are the divisive issues of our day?