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America No. 1?

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    In most important categories we re not even in the Top 10 anymore. America by the numbers by Michael Ventura The Austin Chronicle
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 4, 2005
      In most important categories we're not even in the Top 10 anymore.

      America by the numbers
      by Michael Ventura
      The Austin Chronicle

      02/03/05 "ICH" - - No concept lies more firmly embedded in our
      national character than the notion that the USA is "No. 1," "the
      greatest." Our broadcast media are, in essence, continuous
      advertisements for the brand name "America Is No. 1." Any office
      seeker saying otherwise would be committing political suicide. In
      fact, anyone saying otherwise will be labeled "un-American." We're
      an "empire," ain't we? Sure we are. An empire without a
      manufacturing base. An empire that must borrow $2 billion a day from
      its competitors in order to function. Yet the delusion is
      ineradicable. We're No. 1. Well...this is the country you really
      live in:

      The United States is 49th in the world in literacy (the New York
      Times, Dec. 12, 2004).
      The United States ranked 28th out of 40 countries in mathematical
      literacy (NYT, Dec. 12, 2004).
      Twenty percent of Americans think the sun orbits the earth.
      Seventeen percent believe the earth revolves around the sun once a
      day (The Week, Jan. 7, 2005).

      "The International Adult Literacy Survey...found that Americans with
      less than nine years of education 'score worse than virtually all of
      the other countries'" (Jeremy Rifkin's superbly documented book The
      European Dream: How Europe's Vision of the Future Is Quietly
      Eclipsing the American Dream, p.78).

      Our workers are so ignorant and lack so many basic skills that
      American businesses spend $30 billion a year on remedial training
      (NYT, Dec. 12, 2004). No wonder they relocate elsewhere!
      "The European Union leads the U.S. in...the number of science and
      engineering graduates; public research and development (R&D)
      expenditures; and new capital raised" (The European Dream, p.70).

      "Europe surpassed the United States in the mid-1990s as the largest
      producer of scientific literature" (The European Dream, p.70).

      Nevertheless, Congress cut funds to the National Science Foundation.
      The agency will issue 1,000 fewer research grants this year (NYT,
      Dec. 21, 2004).

      Foreign applications to U.S. grad schools declined 28 percent last
      year. Foreign student enrollment on all levels fell for the first
      time in three decades, but increased greatly in Europe and China.
      Last year Chinese grad-school graduates in the U.S. dropped 56
      percent, Indians 51 percent, South Koreans 28 percent (NYT, Dec. 21,
      2004). We're not the place to be anymore.

      The World Health Organization "ranked the countries of the world in
      terms of overall health performance, and the U.S. [was]...37th." In
      the fairness of health care, we're 54th. "The irony is that the
      United States spends more per capita for health care than any other
      nation in the world" (The European Dream, pp.79-80). Pay more, get
      lots, lots less.

      "The U.S. and South Africa are the only two developed countries in
      the world that do not provide health care for all their citizens"
      (The European Dream, p.80). Excuse me, but since when is South
      Africa a "developed" country? Anyway, that's the company we're

      Lack of health insurance coverage causes 18,000 unnecessary American
      deaths a year. (That's six times the number of people killed on
      9/11.) (NYT, Jan. 12, 2005.)

      "U.S. childhood poverty now ranks 22nd, or second to last, among the
      developed nations. Only Mexico scores lower" (The European Dream,
      p.81). Been to Mexico lately? Does it look "developed" to you? Yet
      it's the only "developed" country to score lower in childhood

      Twelve million American families--more than 10 percent of all U.S.
      households--"continue to struggle, and not always successfully, to
      feed themselves." Families that "had members who actually went
      hungry at some point last year" numbered 3.9 million (NYT, Nov. 22,

      The United States is 41st in the world in infant mortality. Cuba
      scores higher (NYT, Jan. 12, 2005).
      Women are 70 percent more likely to die in childbirth in America
      than in Europe (NYT, Jan. 12, 2005).

      The leading cause of death of pregnant women in this country is
      murder (CNN, Dec. 14, 2004).
      "Of the 20 most developed countries in the world, the U.S. was dead
      last in the growth rate of total compensation to its workforce in
      the 1980s.... In the 1990s, the U.S. average compensation growth
      rate grew only slightly, at an annual rate of about 0.1 percent"
      (The European Dream, p.39). Yet Americans work longer hours per year
      than any other industrialized country, and get less vacation time.

      "Sixty-one of the 140 biggest companies on the Global Fortune 500
      rankings are European, while only 50 are U.S. companies" (The
      European Dream, p.66). "In a recent survey of the world's 50 best
      companies, conducted by Global Finance, all but one were European"
      (The European Dream, p.69).

      "Fourteen of the 20 largest commercial banks in the world today are
      European.... In the chemical industry, the European company BASF is
      the world's leader, and three of the top six players are European.
      In engineering and construction, three of the top five companies are
      European.... The two others are Japanese. Not a single American
      engineering and construction company is included among the world's
      top nine competitors. In food and consumer products, Nestlé and
      Unilever, two European giants, rank first and second, respectively,
      in the world. In the food and drugstore retail trade, two European
      companies...are first and second, and European companies make up
      five of the top ten. Only four U.S. companies are on the list" (The
      European Dream, p.68).

      The United States has lost 1.3 million jobs to China in the last
      decade (CNN, Jan. 12, 2005).
      U.S. employers eliminated 1 million jobs in 2004 (The Week, Jan. 14,

      Three million six hundred thousand Americans ran out of unemployment
      insurance last year; 1.8 million--one in five--unemployed workers
      are jobless for more than six months (NYT, Jan. 9, 2005).
      Japan, China, Taiwan, and South Korea hold 40 percent of our
      government debt. (That's why we talk nice to them.) "By helping keep
      mortgage rates from rising, China has come to play an enormous and
      little-noticed role in sustaining the American housing boom" (NYT,
      Dec. 4, 2004). Read that twice. We owe our housing boom to China,
      because they want us to keep buying all that stuff they manufacture.

      Sometime in the next 10 years Brazil will probably pass the U.S. as
      the world's largest agricultural producer. Brazil is now the world's
      largest exporter of chickens, orange juice, sugar, coffee, and
      tobacco. Last year, Brazil passed the U.S. as the world's largest
      beef producer. (Hear that, you poor deluded cowboys?) As a result,
      while we bear record trade deficits, Brazil boasts a $30 billion
      trade surplus (NYT, Dec. 12, 2004).

      As of last June, the U.S. imported more food than it exported (NYT,
      Dec. 12, 2004).
      Bush: 62,027,582 votes. Kerry: 59,026,003 votes. Number of eligible
      voters who didn't show up: 79,279,000 (NYT, Dec. 26, 2004). That's
      more than a third. Way more. If more than a third of Iraqis don't
      show for their election, no country in the world will think that
      election legitimate.
      One-third of all U.S. children are born out of wedlock. One-half of
      all U.S. children will live in a one-parent house (CNN, Dec. 10,

      "Americans are now spending more money on gambling than on movies,
      videos, DVDs, music, and books combined" (The European Dream, p.28).

      "Nearly one out of four Americans [believe] that using violence to
      get what they want is acceptable" (The European Dream, p.32).

      Forty-three percent of Americans think torture is sometimes
      justified, according to a PEW Poll (Associated Press, Aug. 19,

      "Nearly 900,000 children were abused or neglected in 2002, the last
      year for which such data are available" (USA Today, Dec. 21, 2004).

      "The International Association of Chiefs of Police said that cuts by
      the [Bush] administration in federal aid to local police agencies
      have left the nation more vulnerable than ever" (USA Today, Nov. 17,

      No. 1? In most important categories we're not even in the Top 10
      anymore. Not even close.

      The USA is "No. 1" in nothing but weaponry, consumer spending, debt,
      and delusion.



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