The Decline and Fall
US to Become a Second-Rate Power
But let’s give the devil his due. In truth, I think the War Secretary is on to something. For most of us in this country, coming in second would be highly welcome, a real improvement over the current state of affairs, considering that among the nations of the world we are now in:
* 22nd place when it comes to keeping our people out of long-term unemployment
* 26th place in school performance and the same in literacy
* 35th place in keeping our fellow citizens above the poverty line
* 37th place in providing health care, or to state it another way
* 48th place in infant mortality – keeping babies alive until their first birthday – generally accepted as the best overall indicator of a nation’s health
* 50th place in life expectancy at birth
* 91st place in overall equality of income distribution and
* 116th place in the share of income held by the poorest 10% of the population.
But take heart, Mr. Outgoing Secretary, we just missed a blue ribbon at something – the amount of money spent on health care. A “We’re Number One!” award just slipped through our grasp when those cagey Maltans figured out how to spend even more than we do, so now we’re only…well, a second rate power on health care expenses. You’ve sounded the alarm not a moment too soon.