Who Hijacked Our Country

Friday, November 16, 2007

America: Lookout World, We’re Number Fifteen!

Go USA!! There's just no way to describe that feeling of pride swelling in your chest; that overpowering urge to strut around and shout from the rooftops “We’re Number Fifteen! Yeahhh!!!”

Take it easy now, we’re still Number One when it comes to manufacturing weapons, occupying other countries and guzzling the world’s resources. But for wimpy things like the average working wage, fourteen countries rank higher than us.

This statistic comes from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. It’s a group of thirty of the world’s richest countries. Their data is based on the after-tax income of the “average worker.” This includes everything from manufacturing, mining and construction to the service industry to financial services and real estate.

Britain has the world’s wealthiest middle class. Only one country in this group — Hungary — has a wider gap than the U.S. between the richest and poorest.

Before this group started using the after-tax income of the average worker, they were calculating this statistic by including everybody — billionaires, the homeless, you name it. And this is how the Bush Administration tries to show how well everyone is doing. When billionaires get richer, the overall statistics look better.

The stupidity of this “logic” was pointed out by Molly Ivins a few years ago: If Bill Gates walks into a soup kitchen where forty homeless people are waiting in line, the “average” person in that soup kitchen is worth one billion dollars.

But hey, number fifteen isn't so bad. Let’s look at our infant mortality rate: We’re number Thirty-Seven. Thirty-six countries — including Cuba, Macau and the Isle of Man — have a higher infant survival rate than we do.

How about literacy? Twenty countries — including Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Georgia and Cuba (again??? Damn You Fidel Castro!) — have a higher literacy rate than the United States.

Priorities I guess.

cross-posted at Bring It On!

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Blogger Praguetwin said...

Those literacy stats are pretty dodgey if you ask me.

99% in the U.S? 99.6% in Slovakia? 100% in Georgia?!!!! (The country, not the state).

Sounds like a lot of propaganda from a lot of countries if you ask me.

But the infant mortality: those look accurate. Czech Republic at #10. Yeah, socialized medicine is HORRIBLE. :)

November 17, 2007 at 4:03 AM  
Blogger Distributorcap said...

amazing how Bush has brought our "stature" to such lofty levels.....

pretty soon #15 is gonna look darn nice when he takes us to #115

November 17, 2007 at 4:03 AM  
Blogger Randal Graves said...

Jeez. Makes me long for the days of the Cold War when we were busy toppling democratically-elected commies. At least we had some pride and wanted our citizens educated a little bit and sort of healthy.

The American citizen has never been more expendable than he or she is now.

November 17, 2007 at 8:57 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Prague Twin: I was pretty skeptical too of all those high literacy rates. Maybe these countries all classify somebody as "literate" if he can make an X on the signature line. But in general, whether it's wages, standard of living, overall public health -- we're falling further and further behind.

Distributorcap: That's a scary thought, that someday we'll be looking back on this period as the good old days.

Randal: Yup, expendable is exactly what we all are. But fetuses are still sacred.

November 17, 2007 at 9:41 AM  
Blogger Mile High Pixie said...

Sadly, this has only confirmed what I've been seeing. Even in my field of architecture, kids coming out of college with master's degrees are having to get three and four roommates and/or get a second job in order to make ends meet. And our infant mortality rate being lower than other "lesser" countries? Gee, with the way our medical system views childbirth as an "illness" almost as much as cancer, I"m not surprised there either.

Is our children learning? No, they isn't. They isn't making any damn money, either.

November 17, 2007 at 4:24 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Mile High Pixie: Yeah, it's really sick that rents and mortgages have climbed so much faster than wages. Back in my younger/single days I thought rents were high, but they were a tiny fraction of what they are now. I don't know how people are doing it these days, except like you said, getting 3 or 4 roommates or a second job (or living with their parents until they're 40).

And the infant mortality rate is disgraceful. A lot more infants would survive if the Powers That Be considered already-born infants to be as sacred as fetuses.

November 17, 2007 at 6:43 PM  
Blogger Larry said...

I guess they now measure success by the amount and type of weapons one has and the amount of deaths one can cause, instead of how much one earns and how educated they are.

November 17, 2007 at 7:07 PM  
Blogger LET'S TALK said...

I will tell you this tom harper, our President dont care about any of this.

We as a country have been falling short on a lot of things including the good old dollar bill.

This country is about the corporations and the rich. That's what is guiding this President and the Media, which is own by a selected few.

We are being led down a road of no return and everything, will suffer and lack behind every other country.

November 17, 2007 at 8:51 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Larry: Yup, military power is the only thing that counts. Who cares about wimpy stuff like health care and decent wages.

Let's Talk: You're right, Bush and his puppetmasters sure don't give a flying fuck about anything except warmongering and empire expansion. In every other category we're falling by the wayside.

November 18, 2007 at 12:36 AM  
Blogger kip said...

And if you confront conservatives with these facts, they'll say your not being patriotic!

November 18, 2007 at 11:20 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Kip: Ah yes, the person who wrote that article undoubtedly hates America, hates the troops and wants us to be defeated in Iraq and humiliated in the eyes of the world.

November 18, 2007 at 11:32 AM  
Blogger LET'S TALK said...

Hi Tom, I hope you don't mind, but I've just started back to blog and I have taken your topic from this post to start my first post. See Let's Talk About It

November 18, 2007 at 4:43 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Let's Talk: Cool. Thanks for the link and for doing the post.

November 18, 2007 at 7:12 PM  
Blogger Mauigirl said...

We should be ashamed to have such poor statistics when we are such a wealthy country. Our priorities are so messed up.

November 18, 2007 at 8:26 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Mauigirl: You're right; it's pretty shameful. If these twisted priorities don't change soon, they'll be the downfall of this country.

November 18, 2007 at 8:49 PM  
Blogger Snave said...

No need to worry about getting humiliated in the eyes of the world, we're already there in a number of areas, such as student achievement in math and science, such as our scientific research, our infant mortality rates, our stubborn refusal to provide health care to all our citizens, etc.

But then again, why should America feel like it has to be "first" in everything? Is it going to help us achieve world hegemony? Is that the reason for having to be "first" all the time, because we think it is our nation's birthright to rule the world?

I guess so, when it comes to being #1 in the manufacture of weapons. It's the primitive "philosopy" expressed on the classically asinine and infuriating bumper stickers that read "My kid beat up your honor student". Brains don't count fer nuthin', it all comes down to who can beat the crap outta whoever else. He who dies with the most toys wins, and he who has the biggest and baddest muscles wins. Period.

And you're right, who gives a hoot about other things, like health care, living wages, jobs, sound environmental policy, education, human-oriented foreign policy, honesty, a sound economy, or following the rule of law? When you have the most and best and biggest weapons, you don't have to worry about any of that other stuff. Heh... If you think your own citizens need to be controlled, you can use those big bad weapons on THEM too, after all.

It's all about power, and all about money. As long as we have the military power and as long as we have money, we... oops. Wait a minute... we don't really have that much money anymore, do we! What happened there, I wonder?


November 19, 2007 at 9:43 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Snave: Yeah, as long as we have the most weapons, none of those other wimpy things matter. Then again, our financial situation might turn us into a Chinese colony. And then what?

November 19, 2007 at 10:38 AM  
Blogger Snave said...

I guess we would have a controversy about what language our people should speak exclusively. The rednecks would all be into the "speak only English", of course. The Chinese who would be running our country at that point would mandate that Chinese become our primary language, of course.

I suppose turnabout could be considered fair play? That is, we are high and mighty and can declare to speakers of Spanish that they should learn English or leave the U.S. The Chinese would be our rulers, so they could make similar commands to us then, right? "Learn to speak Chinese, or die!" Heh...

How Americans can be so ugly to people who are not "just like us" is beyond me. Where have we learned this? Is it what our country's main religion has taught us? What is it about American society that creates such attitudes?

November 19, 2007 at 11:14 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Snave: Good point. As much as I'd hate to become a Chinese colony, it would be fun to watch all those "English Only" dolts being forced to learn a new language and a new alphabet. And they'd probably be too dumb to catch the irony.

November 19, 2007 at 11:33 AM  
Blogger Candace said...

I tend to believe the literacy stats based on what I see today versus "in my day." I've seen a definite decline in literacy over the past 50+ years!

As to the workforce - now they're outsourcing R&D jobs. There should be penalties for these corporations.

November 19, 2007 at 2:40 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Candace: Yeah, if the U.S. has a 99% literacy rate, they've changed the definition of "literacy" somewhere along the line.

November 19, 2007 at 4:23 PM  

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