The plainest truth

Written by James Gustav Speth

The plainest truth is that, as a country, we have let conditions of life in America deteriorate across a broad front and are headed straight to a place we would not want for our children and grandchildren.  America now has, among the major countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development:

The highest poverty rate, both generally and for children; the greatest inequality of incomes; the lowest government spending as a percentage of gross national product on social programs for the disadvantaged; the lowest score on the United Nations' index of "material well-being of children; the worst score on the UN's gender inequality index; the lowest social mobility; the highest and private expenditure as a percentage of GDP, and yet the highest infant mortality rate, prevalence of mental health problems, obesity rate, percentage of people going without health care due to cost concern, and consumption of antidepressants per capita, along with the shortest life expectancy at birth; the third lowest score for student performance in math and middling scores in science and reading; the second highest high school dropout rate; the highest homicide rate; the largest prison population, both absolutely and per capita; the highest water consumption per capita and the second highest carbon dioxide emissions per capita; the lowest score on the Yale-World Economics Forum's Environmental Performance Index, and the second largest Ecological Footprint per capita; the highest rate of failing to ratify international agreements; the third-lowest spending on international development and humanitarian assistance as a percentage of GDP; the highest military spending in total and as a percentage of GDP; and the largest international arms sales.

James Gustav Speth, America the Possible, pp.1-2.





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