The first step to solving any problem is realizing it exists. America was once the envy of the world. The 50s and 60s were certainly our golden years. At the end of WWII, the USA emerged as the most powerful and wealthiest nation in the world.
Throughout those years, the middle class expanded vastly, unemployment was at all time lows, and the economy thrived.
In the modern era, we have regressed in several criteria that assess our citizens' standard of life. The America that we were supposed to adopt was hijacked from us.
1. In 1950, more than 80 percent of all men were employed.
In 2012, less than 65 percent of all men were employed.
2. In 1950, the average family spent about 22% of its income on housing.
In 2012, the average family spent about 43% of its income on housing.
3. In 1950, the United States was #1 in GDP per capita.
In 2012, the United States was #13 in GDP per capita.
4. In 1950, we loaned more money to the rest of the world than anybody else.
In 2012, we borrowed more money than anyone else in the world.
5. In 1950, we ranked fifth in infant life expectancy.
In 2012, we ranked 49th in infant life expectancy.
6. In 1950, we led the world in K-12 education.
In 2012, we ranked 25th in K-12 education.
7. In 1950, 20% of American adults were medically obese.
In 2012, 37% of Americans adults were medically obese.
8. In 1950, we had about 250,000 incarcerated citizens.
In 2012, we had close to 3,000,000 incarcerated citizens.
… Not to mention, we are more addicted to prescription drugs and socially irrelevant forms of entertainment than ever before.
Sub-prime mortgages, credit default swaps, general deregulation of the financial system, a win-less war on drugs, lobbyists' stronghold on Congress, and increased income inequality are the primary causes for regression in the American standard of life.
America’s wealthy are fatter than ever by both an international and intranational comparison. The 400 richest Americans are worth $2.2 trillion -- more than the GDP of Canada or Mexico. These 400 Americans have the same net worth as the bottom 150 million Americans. That means the top .000001 % of the population has the same net worth as the bottom 50% of Americans.
Between 2001 and 2010, the United States borrowed over $1 trillion to give wealthy taxpayers with incomes over $250,000 substantial tax breaks, including the 2001 Bush era tax cuts. Between 1983 and 2009, over 40 percent of all wealth gains flowed to the 1 percent and 82 percent of wealth gains went to the top 5 percent. The bottom 60 percent lost wealth over this same period.
The gap between CEO and average U.S. worker pay is 325 to 1, up from 42 to 1 in 1980.
And lastly, the corporate 1 percent dominates the lobbying for federal and state policies. In the last 30 years, the ranks of official lobbyists have exploded. In 1970, there were 5 registered lobbyists for every one of the 535 members of Congress. Today there are 22 lobbyists for every member.
If you stay uniformed, and allow other people to make the political decisions that will affect your future -- you are to blame. Why do people belittle and mock political intelligence but love gossip? All we're asking is that you give a sh*t what this place looks like in a few years. Take an active part in the political process. Just give a few f*cks as to the future of our nation and the standard of life that we will pass on to our children. Let's not make the same mistakes our parents' generation made.
Photo credit: WENN