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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

IS AMERICAN IN DECLINE?

If you have an uncomfortable feeling that things are not as good today as ten years ago, and your children and children's children will be even worse off in the future, you may be so right.  According to the Institute for Historical Review:

More than ever before in our history, the American people sense that something is very wrong in our country. They are concerned about rising social-economic inequality, an erosion of national identity and purpose, increasing social polarization, and growing contempt for the US around the world.

Just an example, but Los Angeles County has more than 1300 criminal street gangs, and at the time this article was written, the death toll from gang wars was more than the combined lives lost from the 9/11 terrorist attach of New York City AND the Afghanistan War.  Whether it is Monocle (Honolulu was #16), the Economist (DC was #14) or  Mercer, no U.S. city is in the top ten in quality of living surveys.

Some telling statistics, our median income has dropped since 2000 (the data is inflation adjusted):


The following graph shows that the starting salary for college graduates dropped from 2001 to 2010:


So what happened from 2010 to 2015?  Well, over the past six years, the starting salary for college graduates has dropped 7.6%.  

While our life expectancy in general has increased, white women without a high school degree DECLINED 5 years since 1995.

A colleague sent me an article from FORTUNE, showing that the U.S. ranks:
  • last (of high income countries) in median wealth per adult at $18,700/year and unchanged since 2000
  • 16th out of 23 developed nations in education and skills
  • 16th out of 34 in internet speed
  • 33rd out of 145 in health
  • 36th out of 162 in poverty, behind Morocco and Albania
  • 34th out of 35 in child poverty
  • fourth highest income inequality in the world
  • highest prison population out of 224 countries
  • 17th out of 36 in life satisfaction
  • 17th out of 175 in corruption
  • 20th out of 178 in stability
  • 16th out of 133 in social progress index
The most dangerous sign?  Rising income and wealth inequality, which slow growth and can spark instability.  Capitalism has become crony capitalism.

Of course, this is nothing new, for the U.S. National Intelligence Council a decade ago reported that American power was on a downward trajectory.

So do we just give up?  Hardly.  For one, five years ago I wrote in the Huffington Post:  America's Educational System is Doing Alright!  Read it!  Nothing has changed.  We are doing fine.

Our military is uber-supreme, and maybe that's one of the reasons for this decline.  For example, from the Washington Post, we spend as much on war as the next thirteen countries combined:


Our problem is that we have applied funds to the wrong national priorities:


Our defense budget since World War II:

China is fragmenting, while Russia is old and not quite the power of the former Soviet Union.  Our Military-Industrial Complex has thrived at the expense of human needs.  Check the stocks of Lockheed Martin and Boeing.  I know, I once owned them and was astonished to recently view their growth.  Thus, our nation does have a whole list of problems, but there is source of funds which can easily be shifted to turn around the decline.

All that said,  note how our stock market is doing relative to China, Japan, Russia and the European Union.  Add on manufacturing strength, a domestic energy boom and an ideal population growth.  No wonder other countries want to place their investments in America.

Can you imagine how much better we'd be if Democrats and Republicans actually work together to re-shape the future of our nation?  Re-direct our taxes away from war to peace and a cleaner environment.  It should not matter who runs the country.  How much simpler can this solution be?

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Hurricane Hilda at 75 MPH appears to be weakening and apparently will track the Hawaii Islands to the south:


However, there is yet another possible storm that seems to be forming east of Hawaii:


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