Happy birthday United States of America. Happy blow-shit-up and barbecue some meat and get drunk day.desecrated flags

While I acknowledge there are some nice things about this nation that I've been lucky enough to be born a citizen of, today I want to think and write about the common belief held by lots of Unitedstatesians that their country is "the best".  "We're number 1!" we hear them shout. Rah Rah.

Let's get right to it. Where are we, exactly, in the rankings? Are we Numero Uno?  How do we compare?

• There are 44 countries with lower infant mortality rates. In fact we have the worst infant mortality rate of the 15 top industrialized countries.

• lowest life expectancy of the top 15, and 49th in the world.

• we work more hours average than those in any of the top 15 other than Australia

• we retire later (63.6 years old) than any in the top 15 other than Japan (66.5) and Switzerland (64.6)  (OECD)

• we have the worst legally mandated paid vacation time of the top 15: none, compared to the next lowest, 2 weeks in Canada, on up to 30 days in some countries.

• we have the greatest wage inequality among workers of the top 15 industrialized countries.

Of the top 15 industrialized countries we have:

•3rd worst gender wage gap

•highest poverty rate

• worst policies on maternity leave and maternity pay

• lowest public health care insurance and "bang for the buck" in health spending

• of the top 15 only Canada and Australia are worse than us in pension payments

• worst at public social spending as percentage of GDP (14.8% compared to almost double in some of the top 15)

• worst incarceration rates

worst in average of 25 environmental indicators

• military spending equal to all the rest of the world combined

• only country that has the death penalty for juveniles

Basically the U.S. is a place where people work harder, have less time off, retire older, die sooner, have less social support, live in a worse environment, and imprison each other more than anywhere else in the developed world.

 And this doesn't even get into the moral/ethical issues of how we've become the global bully that beats up the rest of the world so that the rich people in our country can be even richer and the rest of us can pretend to be #1.

Happy Day, cowboy.







* The top 15 in terms of GDP per person with population more than 5 million: Australia, Austria, Belgium,  Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, and the US.