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News Some humiliating stats on the USA

  1. Mar 3, 2005 #1
    first of all (just so people don't try to call me a hypocrite) if I saw a list like this showing such scandalous (to put it mildly) stats on Canada I would be mortified. (actually the homeless & poverty we've got here is pathetic given Canada's wealth, lack of enemies, etc) but look at what what the bloated waste & corruption of the US government has got for the average person. & look at what happens when you equate government policies with the society & culture of a country (ie to slam an admin over these stats is to "hate america")

    without further ado....

    -- 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 keeping.
    -- 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 poverty.
    -- 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, 2004).
    -- 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.


    -- 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).


    -- "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, 2004).


    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.

    http://www.citypages.com/databank/26/1264/article12985.asp [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 3, 2005 #2


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    The tax-payers get the society they deserve.
    (Not that Norwegians have found a particularly better way than Usans..)
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2005
  4. Mar 3, 2005 #3
    1) out of some 180 nations, i presume?
    2) Seems a bit lower than i would expect, but i'm not too surprised. Just watch Leno's 'Jaywalking' segment.
    No friggin way its that high. If its that high, that is shameful for the rest of the world.

    Not surprised in the least. But what are the similar stats for other countries?

    'American Dream'? That's total bull****. OUr problem is that we have an education system run by politicians who's real interest is reelection, not better education. AS a result they try to force everyone through the same 'mass-production' line, and it falt out doesn't work.

    No, they relocate elsewhere because its cheaper, not ebcause there are too few workers. There are plenty of people properly trained for high tech jobs that can't get them, because its cheaper to run that business in india. Further that statement is not helpful because you don't know how far $30 billion is actually going, meaning how many workers are actually given such training. Or how that compares to other countries.

    Again, its because politicians are running the education system, and running it very badly.

    I repeat myself again.

    Politicians are dumbasses, what else is there to say? I know i've ranted till blue in the face about how the education system here is an absolute failure. Its because its run by politicians. How many bloody times do i have to say it?

    I have a feeling that has more to do with the improvements in graduate programs available in india in china than it does in the decline of our own graduate schools, some of which are still top in the world.

    System run by politicians. How many friggin times do i need to say it? When politicians control the system it will fail. Everytime. That doesn't necessarily mean government programs will fial, but more often than not, they will, because they will be run by politicians whose primary interest is reelection, not the good of the people.

    ANd i'm proud not to fit into the 'European Dream'. Damn proud.

    And car accidents kill even more. Should we ban automobiles?

    What is it with you and trashing Mexico and SA?

    Been to LA recently? Looks like Mexico. Mexico City is easily as developed as the major metropolises of the US. Been to San Diego?

    And what are the specific criterion for qualifying for that calssification? IS it self reported? What constitutes struggling? What was the average income level of this group? How many were drug users/abusers (a habit which would be diverting money from food and other necesities)?

    Its a meaningless statistic the way it is presented.

    This one seems peculiar. I'm most interested in why. Again, just stating that is rather meaningless. Its kinda like saying that only ten percent of the sun's luminosity at .8 solar radii is in the for of radiation. Gives you fact, but really doesn't tell you much about the system or what is really going on.

    Again, why? What are the specific leading causes of death in child birth? Doctors errors? Not having a doctor? Oversized infants? Meaningless statistic.

    And how many pregnant women were murdered that year? OUt of how many total pregnancies?

    Actually they largely choose to take less vacation time. And what do you mean by compensation? Pay cheques? Worker's compensation for injuries? Welfare? Vague terminology. If you mean wages, this is more due to market factors in this country than anything else.

    We talk nice to china? Since when? Last i checked, despite lack of knews coverage, there has been a semi-constant threat of WWIII erupting over taiwan and trade issues.

    I'm a poor deluded cowboy? Hmmm....

    The reason we have record trade deficits is again, politicians running the system, systematically making it more profitable for companies to operate outside the US. Why? because they refuse to force those companies to obey US labour laws. One simple law would solve the problem: ANy company selling goods in any US market must obey the labour laws of the market they are selling in. So if they feel like selling in Santa Monica, Ca, they must pay a minimum wage of $12/hour. Problem solved.

    But politicians like campaign donations and reelection, so they won't do that. They don't care about the people, just themselves.

    And its better entertainment in my opinion. With the utter shyte that the RIAA and the MPAA sell these days, i'd much rather spend a night playing poker with my friends.

    I have a feeling this is taken out of context. Personally i think violence is generally not the preferable solution, but it is always a solution. To those twits that think that violence solves nothing cosider this:

    Raw, naked violence has resolved more issues throughout history than any other method ever employed. Perhaps the city founders of carthage could debate the issue with Alexander and HItler as judges.

    Bottom line: Sometimes, violence is the answer. If there is a better way, take that, but sometimes there isn't. And if you insist on pretending like violence is never the answer, well then Mr Chamberlain, we'll blame you for the holocaust.

    *for the uneducated among you who don't know your history, Neville Chamberlain was the man who brought "peace in our time" by giving up the sudetenland to Hitler, and refusing to ever use violence to stop him.

    Again, never preferable, but sometimes necessary.

    To save the lives of ten thousand, would you torture one man? I would. I'm speaking in general terms, and NOT in reference in to my government's actions in the past few years.

    Again, most of those statistics were utterly meaningless without other information.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  5. Mar 3, 2005 #4

    Unlike you europeans, some of us don't believe that it is our government's responsibilit to make our society. It is our own. Of course, that hasn't helped us, but your point is bull****.
  6. Mar 3, 2005 #5
    fourier jr., I greatly admire your courage.. As a bit of an advice, please don't drown in the "you US-hater" rhetoric that's going to flow like a flood now from people like.. cough cough cough....
  7. Mar 3, 2005 #6


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    That's a HUGE POST,Franz...:tongue2: And those stats are made with a dosis of subjectivity.And yes,SA (not San Antonio) is the strongest economical power in Africa,but luckily for you,it won't join G7+Russia too soon.

  8. Mar 3, 2005 #7


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    I don't think so.I think his point is correct.Citizens in free countries have the right & the power to choose their leaders,therefore determine their faith and the way their society "breathes and moves"...

    As for paying high taxes and not getting too much in return,maybe think twice b4 voting,huh...? :rolleyes:

  9. Mar 3, 2005 #8

    I beg to differ. OUr system IS fundamentally broken. We don't have that power. Political gerrymandering has worked to almost make party seats in legislative bodies hereditary, in california the state legislature hasn't had a single seat change party hands in years. Luckily the national government isn't that bad, but its still bad.

    And either way, its not the job of the government to make society, its society's job to make the government.
  10. Mar 3, 2005 #9

    Posting someone else's words doesn't make him a US-hater. And he himself said, he would be appalled of those stats of his country as well.

    That does not make the stats valid however.

    You can hate my country if you want. I don't really care.

    For what its worth, i absolutely despise the governments of western europe, france and germany in particular.

    But if you're going to be hating the US, at the very least be correct in your reasons, rather than raving like an inane twit about meaningless statistics that don't really say anything.
  11. Mar 3, 2005 #10
    All in all this is rather meaningless until you look at how pregnant women are more likely to die in other countries. Who knows how they do elsewhere? Until then I'm going to move it from the "humiliating stats on the USA" to "humiliating stats on the world populaton."
    The same goes for the Earth going around the sun fact as well.
  12. Mar 3, 2005 #11
    Just like Franz said, many of these stats are meaningless, or misleading. For example, the Literacy stat: According to the cia world fact book: The US has a literacy rate of 97% (which is the same as Canada in case you are wondering) Why did they not say that the US has a literacy rate of 97%? Probably because that does not make it look like there is a problem. However, if you say that the US is ranked 49th in the world, then you get that shock affect because most people in the US could probably not name 48 countries that they would think would have a better literacy rate than us. I do agree that our public (K-12) education is sheet; (not what I think, but what many parents/politicians, etc., think) -> it is way too detremental to hold a kid back even if he/she can not do what is expected of him/her.
  13. Mar 3, 2005 #12

    Exaclty. I saw that 49th ranking and thought it was suspicious.

    Also keep in mind most of these stats are from a book entitled 'The European Dream'. Not a real objective source.

    Most of those stats, even if true, are not meaningful because 1) they are largely relative numbers, 2)they are relative numbers removed from context.

    In all technicality, someone has to be last place, even if last place means 99%. Rankings are meaningless witohut hard numbers. Sure there is some pride in being the best at something, but 97% literacy isn't something to be ashamed of (actually i'm a little surprised its that high with some of the stupidity that goes on here, but still, the point is the same).
  14. Mar 3, 2005 #13


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    About the "European Dream" issue:let's not forget that stats are made by humans,not by robots...They're subjective.They're inaccurate,just like polls,there has to be a margin for error...Yes,some numbers regarding US (in the source indicated in the 1-st posts) are exagerated intentionally...


    P.S.Yet most are painfully (for u) true...
  15. Mar 3, 2005 #14

    I never said the numbers were wrong.

    I said they are poorly presented out of context. There is nothing painful about it, because there is not enough information presented. Some of them are perfectly valid, like the education rankings. BUt they still don't tell the whole story. We may be 49th on literacy, but that's still 97%. Which is more a good thing for the world than a bad thing for us.

    Being ranked 28th in math is a surprise to me, i would have expected that to be lower. That is more humiliating for the rest of you.

    The ones about pregnant women were meaningless, just like the literacy ranking. Something has to be a leading cause of death for pregnant women. Even if only one pregnant died from it. So that bit is meaningless.

    For most of the things given there is nothing meaningful presented. Even a small amount of examination reveals that. I'm not arguing the validity of those numbers, i'm arguing the value judgements that you and others are making based on them (and trying not to get into a debate on the validity of value judgements in general).
  16. Mar 3, 2005 #15


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    No,you just hinted... :tongue2:

    I agree.In any reasonable stats. the leader and it's #(s) are to be presented,too...

    That's a good joke,really. :yuck: How come people all over the (II & III-rd world,especially) would dream of a scholarship in the US,not only in maths,science in general..? :rolleyes:

  17. Mar 3, 2005 #16


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    Will somebody please spread fourier's arguments to surrounding nations so that people living there will quit sneaking across the border to live in our country?
  18. Mar 3, 2005 #17


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    Of course we know the issues regarding reliability of data collection and statistical manipulation of that data. However, these figures do raise awareness of areas that may need to be addressed for improvement...

    No, this does surprise me--it is shocking.
    Or could it be because we are training all the people relocating to the U.S.?
    Sometimes NSF projects do deserve a Golden Fleece Award. Perhaps of more concern is Bush's budget cuts for community colleges.
    We've out-sourced everything to China including knowledge, so why should they come to the U.S. now? As for students from elsewhere, I heard tighter national security measures have discouraged foreigners from applying for entry.
    Can we deny the high cost of medical care, particularly prescription drugs?
    The comment by franznietzsche "Been to LA recently? Looks like Mexico." was rich, but for a different reason from my perspective. The area is referred to as Mexifornia because of the illegal immigrants flooding across the border.
    65% of Americans are overweight, so if this is true, maybe these Americans ought to give some of their food to the needy.
    Come on now, does anyone deny that Corporate America no longer has any loyalty to the American labor force? Out-sourcing jobs, keeping wages low via illegal immigration, favoring trade agreements that hurt American workers, and are there any companies that offer pension plans anymore?
    With regard to food production/export, aside from the U.S. having ZERO surplus this year, it was just reported on CNN that China now sells high-end finished products (e.g., electronics, etc.), and the U.S. now exports waste/scraps and soybeans. :surprised
    Fantasy football, baby.
  19. Mar 3, 2005 #18


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    herein lies the most factual statement of this thread...why do so many immigrate to our country if we are so horrible?

    as for the percentage of Americans who believe the sun orbits the earth, how many of those are children under the age of 5? you can bet your bowtie that if an american had some of these sort of subjective and negative statistics of another country, rocks surely would be thrown.
  20. Mar 3, 2005 #19


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    I would say that these are actually damn good numbers (especially if the 97% literacy rate posted was correct) when you consider that they are depressed badly by the constant stream of poor immigrants that can't even speak (much less read or receive a formal education in) the language.

    Who was asked this question? My guess is that 20% of Americans are also children. If 20% of adults believed this, then we'd have a problem. It also makes a difference if some of the people being asked are first generation migrant farm-workers that never received an American education (not that it's the world's greatest, but it'll teach you that the earth orbits about the sun).

    Our middle-school dropouts are stupider than other countries middle-school dropouts? Who cares? What is the actual dropout rate? If it is lower in the US than in other countries, that seriously alters the significance of this stat.

    If anything, that's due to high schools and colleges not providing very much vocational education. Sure, an English major that goes into business is going to need some training, but that doesn't mean she received a bad education.

    The population of the EU is over 100 million persons greater than the population of the US. Don't you think they should produce more graduates and more literature?

    Do you advise that we increase spending in the midst of a budget deficit? Aside from cutting down on wartime operations, what else would you have cut at the expense of the NSF?

    The US was attacked by terrorists in the country on student visas. It's harder to get in now. No surprise here. That doesn't mean Chinese and Korean medical schools are suddenly better than US schools.

    That's very misleading. The people spending the big bucks and driving up per capita expenditures are receiving excellent healthcare - the world's best. You also fail to mention that US citizens have very long lifespans and there is a very high proportion of elderly people in the country now due to the baby boom generation. The problems that come with old age are expensive and some are very difficult to treat.

    Actually, the US doesn't provide healthcare for any of its citizens, aside from what is received at free clinics.

    Many "unnecessary" deaths are caused by Americans being fat and lazy. Should it be the taxpayer's job to subsidize this? Besides, if Europe is so great, how many unnecessary deaths have been caused in the last decade by ethnic conflicts in the Balkans and Northern Ireland? The reason Europeans are generally more healthy than Americans is simple and twofold - they have better diets, and European cities are designed for walking. It isn't the government's responsibility to ensure that people eat right and exercise. They are taught to do so in public schools and in public service announcements on television. Whether or not they do is their own responsibility.

    What are the respective poverty lines and quality of living indices in the US and these other 23 nations? Without these, this doesn't tell us much.

    How many Americans have died of starvation recently? If not many, I'd say they've successfully fed themselves. A person can get by pretty cheap, and actually be very healthy, on rice, vegetables, and beans. A month's worth will cost you $30.

    What is the mortality rate in the US and how far below Cuba's is it?


    If that's true, I'd say that's pretty good news. I'd be far more concerned if the leading cause was avoidable pregnancy complications.

    So where did the compensation start out for the US and these other 20 countries? If it was much lower in the other countries in 1980, then I wouldn't exactly be surprised if their rates grew faster.

    By the way, working longer hours isn't going to make you more money unless you were working less hours before.

    Brazil also boasts hundreds of millions of acres of cleared rainforest and some of the most densely populated and crime-ridden cities in the world (Sao Paolo has a population of 13 million). They've had to sell their souls to create that much farmland, and very little of their agriculture is sustainable.

    Who the hell cares? We also have the ability to download many movies and songs for free or close to it off of the internet.

    And Europeans don't? Americans have fought one war against other Americans in the last 300 years. I can't even count the number of wars that Europeans have fought against other Europeans. All this tells me is that Americans are more honest.

    As do I, exactly as explained by Franz above.
  21. Mar 4, 2005 #20


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    Yeah, go ahead, you deserve whatever is coming at you.
    (First of all, you suffer under the idiotic illusion that the "government" is something nasty that you don't choose)
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