Why America is Falling Behind the Rest of the World

TIME

America is declining, in large and important measures, yet policymakers aren’t paying attention. So argues a new academic paper, pulling together previously published data.

Consider this:

  • America’s child poverty levels are worse than in any developed country anywhere, including Greece, devastated by a euro crisis, and eastern European nations such as Poland, Lithuania and Estonia.
  • Median adult wealth in the US ($39,000) is 27th globally, putting it behind Cyprus, Taiwan, and Ireland.
  • Even when “life satisfaction” is measured, America ranks #12, behind Israel, Sweden and Australia.

Overall, America’s per capita wealth, health and education measures are mediocre for a highly industrialized nation. Well-being metrics, perceptions of corruption, quality and cost of basic services, are sliding, too. Healthcare and education spending are funding bloated administrations even while human outcomes sink, the authors say.

“We looked at very broad measures, and at individual measures, too,” said co-author Hershey H. Friedman…

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