Friday, July 18, 2008

You ess say! You ess say!

DEVELOPMENT: U.S. Sliding By Nearly Every Measure by Alison Raphael

"A global human development index ranked the U.S. first in 1990. Today, it ranks 12th."

Oddly, I can't help but daydream about tearing out pages from this report and forcing them down Larry Kudlow's huckster throat, while in the midst of one of his booster paeans to free market capitalism being God's design for unbridled wealth creat
ion in the greatest country on earth, the United - gag, cough, cough, gag, gag, muffled scream, wretching...

"The first-ever 'Measure of America: American Human Development Report 2008-2009,' launched Wednesday by the non-profit organisation Oxfam America, offers a statistical analysis of numerous aspects of U.S. well-being, broken down by gender, race, ethnicity, state, and even congressional district.

One surprising finding was that although the U.S. spends more per capita than any other nation in the world (5.2 million dollars daily), its citizens live shorter lives than citizens of virtually every Western European and Nordic country. And the U.S. has a higher percentage of children living in poverty than any of the world's richest countries.


Study author Sarah Bird-Sharps noted that: 'Some Americans are living anywhere from 30 to 50 years behind others when it comes to issues we all care about: health, education and standard of living.'

For example, residents of Connecticut, in the northeast of the country, enjoy a lifespan averaging 30 years longer than that of residents of the far-south state of Mississippi. The two states have the highest and lowest rankings, respectively, for life expectancy in the United States."

From the report itself: "The top 1 percent of households possesses a full third of America’s wealth. Households in the top 10 percent of income distribution hold more than 71 percent of the wealth, while those in the lowest 60 percent possess just 4 percent of wealth."

And as the Onion noted over a decade ago, in its article Widening Gap Between Rich And Super-Rich Threatening American Dream, "
the wealthiest .01 percent of the American population holds 20 percent of the nation's wealth, or $270 trillion, an amount more than two times the holdings of the next richest .09 percent combined.

The current disparity is an alarming indicator of things to come, according to Martin Hubbell, professor of macroeconomics at Yale University. 'A healthy capitalist economy should not concentrate so much of its wealth in the hands of so few,' Hubbell said. 'I mean, it should concentrate it in the hands of a few, but not so few.'"

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