Today’s Washington Post had an excellent article that in large part gainsays claims of American exceptionalism, “Americans are dying younger than people in other rich nations.” As the article points out, not only are Americans dying at younger ages compared to other advanced countries but
- American kids start their schooling later in childhood than kids in other rich countries.
- The United States spends far less public money on early-childhood education and care than nearly any other OECD country.
- The United States is the only high-income country in the world that does not mandate paid maternity leave.
- Ditto for sick leave and vacation time.
- U.S. unemployment benefits are less generous than in most other OECD countries.
- Housing assistance in the U.S. is minimal, relative to other wealthy nations.
- Because the American tax code is more generous to the wealthy than tax systems in other rich countries, U.S. income inequality is among the highest in the OECD.
Furthermore, as the article points out,
A study published in December of last year found that if these and other social welfare factors were brought up to the OECD average, it would add nearly four years to our collective life expectancy. “The US mortality disadvantage is, in part, a welfare state disadvantage,” the authors concluded.
Americans are dying young, in part, because of deliberate policy choices we’ve made over the decades: rejecting single-payer health care. Cutting taxes for the rich. Shunning universal basic income. Abandoning universal child care.
Now I realize that for those suffering in escaping violence refugee camps or otherwise suffering unimaginable, the USA or any first world country is a desirable location. I also realize that in the entire history of the species, ours is probably the best time to live. Still, for those who currently live in the USA and who have the means, I would say that you should consider moving to another country if possible. Especially those worried about their children and grandchildren. Do you really want them to grow up in a country of extraordinary levels of gun violence, incarceration, sexism, racism, and all the rest?
2 thoughts on “Is America the Worst of the Developed Countries?”
Hold on just a minute there, sir! American life expectancy exceeds that of Burkina Faso. We spend a great deal more money on early childhood education than Somalia, and the literacy rate here is TWICE that of Cote D’Ivoire. Our homicide rate is only a smidge higher than that in Kazakhstan, and our infant mortality rate is only a little worse than that of Cuba. Well, 50% worse, but it’s still not much. Our inequality, as measured by the Gini Index, falls between that of El Salvador and Madagascar. While it’s true that we come in only 18th on the Corruption Perceptions Index, we still have a solid lead over Qatar and Bhutan.
And Donald Trump, our “absolutely fantastic” President (he himself admits as much), is hard at work on these numbers…