Is America becoming a third world country?

I was in Chicago yesterday. Second largest public transit system in the country- and the Blue Line to O’Hare was running at 17mph!

The bridge in Minneapolis collapses during rush hour.

Foreclosures on homes in record numbers.

All while we are “fighting a war on terror” costing hundreds of billions.

This country was made with rail power- now we can barely keep Amtrack running- while the rest of the world is going 200+ mph (oh yeah, don’t get me started on the fact that we’re the only idiots in the world NOT using the metric system).

Kids aren’t graduating from our lame public education system- with a 180 day school year, we don’t have universal medical coverage, we’re building a trade deficit with China that if allowed to continue, we’ll all be learning Mandarin.

In the meantime- our political system is totally bought, sold and paid for by special interests- and we’re more worried about what time strip clubs close than about how to equally and fairly fund our schools in Ohio.

This isn’t a Democrat or Republican thing anymore- I can’t even blame George Bush for it anymore. At some point we have to readjust our ego as Americans and realize that we’re still leveraging previous generations’ accomplishments for a false sense of bravado.

Being an American isn’t about becoming a millionaire by leveraging stock options, or “right-sizing” jobs out of America. Yes, this is still a land of opportunity- but increasingly, the playing field is being warped by our loss of touch with premises set out by our founding fathers, remember the line that went:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

If you go and read the Declaration of Independence, you might wonder if we’ve forgotten about what it means to have a common, unified appreciation for what Americans used to be made of.

Somehow, someway, we have to find our way back to our roots. We have to restore the pride- and cultivate a new generation that isn’t inspired by rock star athletes, politicians, CEOs, musicians and start appreciating the common denominator of a country that believed in the golden rule- and individual rights.

As I rode the slow train to O’Hare, all I could keep thinking was Mussolini sold himself to the Italians as the man who could make the trains run on time. If we’re not careful about how we continue- we may be headed in the same direction.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed! If you wish to support this blog, please head over and use our services at The Next Wave Printing for all your printing needs. We have 4 Color Business cards starting at just $13.50.

72 Responses

  1. Fred Amesquita May 1, 2010 / 7:43 am
    No! just give  America time to regroup. We will make a great comeback we always do.
  2. Gabe Mooney June 29, 2010 / 3:02 pm
    What third world country in the world has a vast majority of their population which has more than one television in their home? Their isn’t one. The U.S. isn’t close to being a third world country, not by a long shot. The UK is no better off than us, if that’s what you think. Their markets depend massively on our exports to stay afloat, and NATO depends on the U.S. as their enforcement. Because if we don’t do it, who will? Sweden?  Common knowledge is that if the U.S. goes down, much of NATO goes down with it. I understand that the U.S. needs to make a change, our priorities are certainly very badly misplaced. However, we are no where near becoming a third world country, no where near falling apart. Also, regardless of what anyone tells you, we have the largest and most effective military in the world. I have trouble believing we would accept the Chinese culture and be taken over by them without a fight, and i doubt if we were the defending force the Chinese would be able to infiltrate our borders. America is wounded, and is not perfect, but we are still the best country to live in in the world, and are very strong.
  3. Ice Bandit June 29, 2010 / 3:50 pm
    This country was made with rail power- now we can barely keep Amtrack running- while the rest of the world is going 200+ mph (oh yeah, don’t get me started on the fact that we’re the only idiots in the world NOT using the metric system).   (David Esrati)

    Yessiree dear David, Al Gore’s invention of the internet sure nuff’ makes every man a veritable Mr. Peabody. Probably with the help of the pet boy Sherman, somebody reached into the way-back machine and pulled out a David Esrati blast from the past, this being comments from 2007.  Now we all know those idiots you refer to is everybody outside Ohio’s third congressional district (natch), and take heart in the fact that once you are washed into Washington on a tsunami of anti-incumbent fervor, you will inherit a railroad. It’s that scenic railway that runs in the fall between Lebanon and the Cincy burbs, and it, like every other scenic railway, struggles to get by. So it ain’t the Broadway Limited, but hey, it’s a start. Nevertheless, the Old Bandito would love to invite you to a tour of his old Detroit neighborhood, but it no longer exists. The wrecking ball and the dump truck leveled his old tenement apartment years ago, and the area is now targeted to be turned over to farmers. But before it was relocated to a Hamtramck landfill, the neighborhood was a vital part of a vital city that made cars, trucks and busses. Then it became a drug and crime ridden hellhole that even the dysfunctional could no longer stand. So when Detroit let the remnants fester for 20 years before calling out the wrecking crew, there were no spontaneous demonstrations about “saving the neighborhood”. The argument about if America holds third world pockets was settled 20 years ago. Add Flint, Gary, Hammond and East St. Louis to that list of urban failures and the question becomes how do you contain the third world elements that are already here? And as a final historical aside David, it was a myth that Mussolini made the trains run on time…….

  4. june July 6, 2010 / 4:14 pm
    Wow the racial [philosophical like] comments were interesting to read but to say that america’s problems are all black/colored peoples fault is a little too foolish as  the banking sector  is just about to collapse for the second time,  American CEOS are still outsourcing american jobs by installing american manufactories (everybody knows where…)  not to mention the money of american investors that are being poured into foreign nations. And I have yet to see a black or colored CEO…
  5. Greg Hunter July 7, 2010 / 10:14 am
    Why doesn’t the effing TAB work to get to this text SCREEN!
     
    Jstults – That was effing FUNNY!
  6. LB August 25, 2010 / 7:22 pm
    there are plenty of black and colored CEOs… I think the racist are given a bigger voice. With that being said. As the US continues to regress  you will see that the racist, bigots, intolerant rhetoric will take the center stage. People will take them seriously, and lash out against minorities.  The racist comments on here were ignorant. Purposely ignoring historical events, and time periods of oppression. Ignoring the systemic racism in the US, and then using Asian Americans as the “model race” which is very racist. Very counter-productive for many Asian Americans. The racism in the US is interesting because its now starting to dominate everything.  and as a black man I’m not surprised by any of it. With that being said I’ll be overseas while you racist argue over why  its non-white people’s fault. Lets ignore that under-developed countries today exist because of neo-colonialism. Lets ignore it all, and accept a white surpremacist viewpoint. Maybe then you can have it all. nope it isn’t enough. Therefore I’m never accomodating to racist people with racist views. Grow up and come into the 21st century.
  7. Nexus September 6, 2010 / 11:08 pm

    I think after WW2 the US took a totally different path to the rest of the Western world. Whereas the UK and much of Europe was destroyed or at least drained by the effort of fighting a global war the US came out unscathed in terms of no destruction to the US mainland and its civilian population. The outcome for the US was unparalleled wealth and an economy that was built on the back of the war effort and was far larger than any other economy or trading block.
    In Europe and other countries there was a need to rebuild societies and do things at least cost. Hence the establishment of universal approach to health and the emergence of a ‘social contract’ between the State and the citizen whereby health, education, social welfare and investment in infrastructure was seen as a ways of ‘cementing’ society. This thinking also underpinned the concept of a European Union.
    Philosophically the US went along a different path where for a long period of time the US capitalistic system, ability to control resources via dominating commodities in dollars and a strong focus on individuality drove the economy forward. However, what were once strong virtues are now becoming significant impediments to finding a collective national approach to solving the many and significant problems the US faces. The vitriol that rises rapidly in the US when any ‘collectivist’ solution is discussed (regardless of the overall benefits it may being to everyone) is symptomatic of this. The Europeans, Canadians, Australians, etc, all simultaneously establish universal health care delivery and historically this seen as a positive inheritance and worth protecting.
    The other difference that I think that is significant is the lack of political plurality at the representational level in the US and the overwhelming influence of narrow vested interests that has constantly eroded the democratic process. One of the US’s leading social thinkers C.W.Mills wrote a book in the early 50’s called ‘The Power Elites’ that examined the power of vested interests and I would suggest that the power and influence of vested interests has increased not diminished since Mills wrote his book. The power of vested interests (the Industrial Military Complex) was referenced by President Eisenhower.
    Some of the comments from the US sum up the difference:
    1. Other countries opted for a universal health system…..the US did not and constantly tries to sell its way of doing things and this is at odds with the way the rest of the world thinks and acts;
    2. 1. The ‘metric system is overrated’. This is a daft comment as the observation is that it is far easier to work in units of ten, everyone else uses it and even more relevant is that US industry has to work in two standards which in turn increases costs and amusingly the US non metric system is unique as well as a pint in the UK is not the same in the US (the same efficiency gains could be delivered if the US adopted VAT along the same lines of the rest of the world);
    3. The comment about the US military always portrays the military as being a virtuous thing – the US military is an ’empire’ force that is considerably in excess of what is needed to defend the US and thus absorbes considerable ‘treasury’ fighting a perpetual war against shadowy terrorists to validate the need for the military, setting up bases in other peoples countries, running operations to destabilise other people’s political systems, etc. All at a cost that the US cannot possibly sustain.
    The US is still a wealthy country with significant global influence and clout. The danger now is that is declining from the inside at a rapid pace and without investments in people and the maintenance of living standards it is not an unrealistic assumption that standards of living may continue to decline rapidly as newly emerging countries standards of living rise and the US economy slowly diminishes in size relative to the rest of the world and newly emerging economies.
    I have just returned from working in the US and I generally found most Americans I met very friendly and the US on one hand does have fantastic intuitions such as MIT, Harvard, etc, great cities, great diversity, etc, but on the other hand I would not like to be poor, poorly educated, unemployed or ill in the US. This observation simply represents my own personal experience and historical inheritance.
  8. Ice Bandit September 7, 2010 / 2:51 pm
    … but on the other hand I would not like to be poor, poorly educated, unemployed or ill in the US. (Nexus)

    …nor woulda’ wanna’ be broke, undereducated, jobless nor sick in Bombay, Tokyo, Beijing or Kinshasha either. But take it from a American who at one time or another has been all-of-the-above in such places as Detroit, dear Nexus, a person with that kinda’ luck is probably better off in this Republic than, say, Addis Ababba or Islamabad. Whatcha’ may not appreciate, dear Nexus, is that much of the failure in the US is self-inflicted. As long as some Americans indulge in such activities as hitting the pipe, daily drinking  until oblivion or pursuing the career path of criminal, there will be Americans who voluntarily leave  functioning America. And as a free people, it is impossible to coerce folks into rejoining the mainstream. However, as the Old Bandito’s father was fond of saying, “there ain’t no disgrace in being broke or having the crabs. They disgrace comes from staying broke and keeping the crabs.”  Americans, as the Old Bandito will testify, clean, sober and man up every day and jump back into the American maelstrom. Most Americans experience poverty at some stage of their adult life, especially when they are young. But they get educated, get jobs, get hitched and then get a 30 year commitment to the burbs. And poverty in America, dear Nexus, can be a chosen lifestyle. You probably noticed, if you paid attention to America’s underclass, that one of the health hazards of the poor is obesity. You mentioned the overstated military-industrial complex, dear Nexus, but this is not the only complex that America pays for dearly. The Welfare Complex, which throws billions at such social programs as food stamps, free school lunches, Section 8 housing and other payments in kind, is a drain that a bankrupt entity can no longer afford. And by manipulating and dictating what the medical community can treat and charge, the government has made the cost of primary care spike so that the middle class are priced out of the market. Glad you found Americans to your liking, dear Nexus, but when it comes to critical visitors, there is an old saying; “don’t let the door hit ya’ where the Good Lord split ya'”… And PS…..keep your metric system along with the Celsius system and that ball that you can’t catch and run with……

  9. jstults September 7, 2010 / 3:43 pm
    Nexus, all of this:

    I think after WW2 the US took a totally different path to the rest of the Western world. Whereas the UK and much of Europe was destroyed or at least drained by the effort of fighting a global war the US came out unscathed in terms of no destruction to the US mainland and its civilian population. The outcome for the US was unparalleled wealth and an economy that was built on the back of the war effort and was far larger than any other economy or trading block.
    In Europe and other countries there was a need to rebuild societies and do things at least cost. Hence the establishment of universal approach to health and the emergence of a ’social contract’ between the State and the citizen whereby health, education, social welfare and investment in infrastructure was seen as a ways of ‘cementing’ society. This thinking also underpinned the concept of a European Union.

    and no mention of the Marshall Plan (from wiki: The Marshall Plan was one of the first elements of European integration, as it erased trade barriers and set up institutions to coordinate the economy on a continental level—that is, it stimulated the total political reconstruction of western Europe)?  Could it be that since the US subsidized the West Euro govs they were able to afford more socialistic solutions that would have been impossible otherwise?  Perhaps it was the fruits of a free-er market going to subsidize the very existence of the more thoroughly mixed economy you laud…

  10. Ice Bandit September 7, 2010 / 5:17 pm
    Perhaps it was the fruits of a free-er market going to subsidize the very existence of the more thoroughly mixed economy you laud…(Jstults)

    Well put,  Jstults. The Old Bandito couldn’t have put it half as well on his smartest day. But the Old Bandito will also see you one and raise you one.  When Uncle Sam became NATO’s main sugar daddy right after the organization’s founding, it meant a direct American subsidy to European defense. This gave European parliaments license to experiment with any number of cradle-to-grave programs, which are responsible for Europe’s current economic stasis. So NATO allowed Uncle Sugar to become the continent’s pimp and enabler. A lot of the “military industrial” complex Nexus lamented was devoted to keeping the Red Army out of the Paris. All this and how does Europe repay us?  With lots of ABBA re-issues and attitude….

  11. Greg Hunter September 7, 2010 / 5:27 pm
    This blog is honored to have this discourse and I am honored to be in the presence of great data analysis combined with writing wit much beyond what I can paint on the page…. Kudos to the Bandito and Joshua…
  12. Greg Hunter September 7, 2010 / 5:36 pm
    PS I am also glad Nexus chimed in…. It is great to get a different perspective and based on the perspective we appear to be all dead….in the long (0r short) run.  

    I will state that America is done as an empire but the power vacuum will not treat the poor in third world countries….Pakistan, Mexico, Nigeria,

  13. Jeff Dziwulski September 8, 2010 / 8:15 pm
    This blog is honored to have this discourse and I am honored to be in the presence of great data analysis combined with writing wit much beyond what I can paint on the page…. Kudos to the Bandito and Joshua…

    Yawn.

    You may be honored but I’m bored.  Just a bunch of right-wing blowhards posting here…

  14. jstults September 9, 2010 / 9:55 am
    Jeff of the World:

    Yawn. You may be honored but I’m bored.

    Sorry Jeff, next time I’ll be sure to pick the right dead economist’s lens for any historical reinterpretations.

  15. Greg of Dayton/SFO/Lake Tahoe/Bighorn/Laramie/Denver September 9, 2010 / 12:17 pm
    Hey Jeff,
    What say you about Nexus’s comments.   There is a great deal of “truth to the fact that America’s “greatness” has to do with not being bombed and using our industrial might and resources to glide since the 1970’s.
     
    Mr. Stults will point out the Marshall plan and rebuilding of Japan but think about the Markets created….Sure Europe got a free pass on our military, but Jesus how much Military do we or did we need?  Data indicates that the Soviet threat was overblown to whose benefit?  The MIC?  Another IMPORTANT fact is our Reserve Currency status, which is being eroded by our ineptitude and bilateral trade agreements (fancy name for barter – China supplies x, country supplies Natural Resources).
     
    So Jeff what is the American fate?  To use our military to take “what is rightfully ours because that is the way God wanted it….or will we recognize our hypocrisy and not act like God’s Chosen People?  Are we on our way to the Third World or are we there and we do not know it?
  16. anonymous September 30, 2010 / 12:46 am
    Dr. Phil….you are a frakkin idiot. You really need to check up on your history because this country that you think was so great because of white people wouldnt even be here if it werent for these minorities you degrade…especially BLACK PEOPLE. There would be no civilization without black people…since the very idea of civilization itself came from Ethiopia…the superpower that preceded Egypts first dynasty by hundreds of years. You speak of Rome and Greece…jus letting your ignorant uneducated ass know that nearly everything in both of those cultures was a direct copy of ancient African civilization (the Egyptians to be exact)…from their architecture, to religion, to medicine, to government, to infrastructure, to philosophy, to math, to agriculture…everything. Most of the renowned poets, scientists, and doctors….like Hippocrates and Galileo studied in the ancient Egytian Schools of thought and their Sacred Universities ( the first institutions of higher learning in the world) While Europe was in the Dark Ages…throwing sewage out of windows…living in barns…taking showers twice a year, African civilizations like the Mali Dynasty and Songhai flourished…with pharoahs, and lavish kingdoms, and underground sewage systems.  America isnt even white people’s world to claim. the very people you talk about were the first inhabitants and produced one of the most beautiful and sophisticated civilizations of the ancient world (the mesoamerican Mayans)…divising a calendar with amazing accuracy…and modern day astronomers can still barely figure it out. That cell phone in your pocket…thank that b-ball playing gangsta thug…because his ancestor…a black man invented it. there are so many more…too many too mention. This country grew from the blood, sweat, and labor of these Black people during the slave trade.  How could you be so incredibly stupid?!  The fact that this country is sinking has nothing to do with diversity, because that is really what made America an amazing place to be. If it wasnt for diversity…mainly the ideas of others…the world wouldnt be what it is today…and Europeans would still be living in barns throwing shit out the window.  If it wasnt for the the backs and minds of Black people, and the Greeks and Romans stealing every facet of Egyptian culture,…western civilization would have never flourished. It is because of greedy, careless, ignorant people like you. Im sure a lot of those politicians think just like you, which is why our minorities are treated the way they are…but they cant let our DIVERSE population know that or they would risk 92% of their support, since minorities account for 92% of the population. We are called minorities because they want us to feel inferior, even though colored people far outnumber white people. When you want a group of people to be submissive, you need to make them feel inferior, perhaps by making them feel outnumbered and therefore outpowered, or perhaps by putting liquor stores on every corner in their neighborhoods, or providing them with a pathetic excuse for an education, or by allowing guns and drugs to circulate freely in their neighborhoods (which wasnt an issue until it started reaching the white middle american teen) and up until recently, denying them the rite to actively participate in their government by not allowing them to vote.  These are still an oppressed people…just given a little more opportunity so it doesnt sting as bad.  Oppressed people are controllable people.  So before you say any of that retarded shit out loud, remember that  the world would be a far different place without these DIVERSITIES…especially America…since the whole of its prosperity came from the same people you look down on. Appreciate those different from you…you might learn something
  17. Sarah September 30, 2010 / 4:27 pm
    I think the real ‘straw man’ in America is RACE.  Instead of thinking about ways to solve income inequality or to somehow regulate businesses so that they cannot have CEO’s making $28 Billion dollars a year while denying their employees health coverage, we blame income inequality on what?  RACE.

    But we can do that because America IS so diverse.  It’s not so easy to do that in countries that are more homogenized.

  18. Elizabeth Patron December 2, 2010 / 12:58 pm
    Hey im writing a paper on inequality and am going to take some of your sections for support, could i get your occupation so that i can introduce you in a legitament matter?
  19. karl May 11, 2011 / 4:31 pm
    @jeff Uruguay and Argentina may not have wages as high as the usa, but routinely place higher than the united states on livability rankings, as does much of southern Brazil. Know what you’re talking about before you spout shit out of your ass
  20. T Anderson August 2, 2011 / 10:43 am
    I have only been on this earth 19 years and i can still tell that our country is an abomination to what it should be.  The people that started this country didn’t set out to please special interest groups or whoever had the most money.  They wanted a place where all people could be happy and free, and make a better life for themselves and their families.  We as Americans have no understanding of what it means to survive anymore because everything we need is brought to us.  I don’t mean that everything is free, not by far, but everyday things like water and food are taken for granted and people have lost the knowledge and will to work for those things.  I am just as guilty of this but I try my hardest to stay in touch with this drive and desire to be self sufficient.  Our ego as a nation is so messed up that we forget just how powerful our world really is.  Deep within the center of our planet is a huge molten core(melted rocks!!!!), most of the top layer is water, and our atmosphere is a thick layer of gasses.  people are so shocked to see houses that are destroyed by hurricanes, tornadoes, and flooding, when really this should humble us. we still dwell in these areas because it can all be replaced with the help of highly paid insurance agencies and the dependence of our government to fix all our problems.
    I could go on all day about these things but I think I’ve made my point quite clear.
    We need to put the technology down, and become self reliant again.
  21. Van September 12, 2011 / 11:05 pm
    “The people that started this country didn’t set out to please special interest group” Slaveholders were a special interest group. The constitution sets out to define how much of a person a slave qualifies as.
    Unfortunately, from the very beginning of our nations founding special interest groups have been involved.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *