While the great majority of civilized nations have made significant strides in social progress, in the age of Trump Americans are worse off than they were less than nine years ago and the United States is nearing being designated as a “developing country.”
Due to the constant confluence of crises plaguing America, there was little reporting or attention paid to the 2020 installment of the Social Progress Index.
The “index” measures social progress around the globe and out of 163 sovereign nations, only three have a citizenry that is worse off today than they were just nine years ago. The three nations that went backward while the rest of the world progressed are Brazil, Hungary, and the United States. Of special note is the pathetic fact that America fares much worse than both Brazil and Hungary.
There is no dispute that America is the richest nation on the planet, or that it has the greatest military on Earth – what Trump and. Republicans claim makes America great. However, that unprecedented wealth has been handed to the already filthy rich and their corporations who fund Republicans opposition to social progress. The mighty U.S. Military takes up a very significant amount of America’s wealth, but that money goes to the military industrial complex and not the soldiers.
Despite America’s wealth, it is now number 28 among civilized nations and its decline is deeper than the only two other nations in decline, Brazil and Hungary. The three declining nations show worse social progress than the rest of the civilized world for the same reasons.
It is noteworthy to mention that over the past nine years Republicans have controlled the nation’s spending and have deliberately hampered social progress by decimating domestic programs at the behest of their racist and religious base of support. Coupled with the GOP’s animus towards any programs that aid all Americans, the nation’s decline can be laid directly at their feet.
Although Trump was still a third-rate reality show host for part of the past nine years, his fealty to Republican policies and antipathy towards the American people is “a major cause of America’s unprecedented acceleration towards becoming a developing nation.” (author bold)
The real factor driving America’s social decline is wealth distribution, institutionalized inequality, and a lack of inclusiveness in general terms. It is an old story, but Republicans exist to open the Treasury to corporations and the richest Americans and Trump facilitated their plans to fruition shortly after moving in a place he does not belong. America may have been a land of opportunity in a bygone era, but under GOP rule opportunity exists for solely for those with means.
For example, America easily ranks number one in the world in the quality of its universities, but it is a pitiful number 91 in access to a quality basic education. As an aside, when American public school students attended adequately funded primary and secondary schools, they easily outperform students from any developed country.
Likewise, America is the world leader in medical technology, and yet it is number 97 in providing access to quality health care. During the first two years of Barack Obama’s tenure as a real President, there was a concerted Democratic effort to help all Americans gain access to quality health care. Republicans spent the next nine years doing anything they could dream up to put an end to the Affordable Care Act even though it was created by the conservative Heritage Foundation and hailed as a godsend when it was implemented by a Republican governor. Trump has attempted to move the proverbial Heaven and Earth to destroy “Obamacare” because it was created while an African American man was President.
America also suffered horribly low marks for having “higher homicide and traffic fatality rates, worse sanitation and internet access, as well as institutionalized discrimination and violence against minorities compared with nearly all other advanced countries.”
Since Trump’s poorly-attended inauguration institutionalized discrimination and violence against minorities has increased substantially, and if Trump had his way the U.S. Military would show the rest of the world what real violence against American citizens entails.
The chair of the advisory panel for the Social Progress Index and Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter commented on the horrible results of the study. Professor Porter said:
“The data paint an alarming picture of the state of our nation, and we hope it will be a call to action. It’s like we’re a developing country.”
A Dartmouth University economist, David G. Blanchflower cited his new research revealing that the number of Americans reporting that the conditions they experience make “every day a bad mental health day” has doubled. Mr. Blanchflower noted:
“Rising distress and despair are largely American phenomenon not observed in other advanced countries.”
The C.E.O. Of the group publishing the Social Progress Index, Michael Green, said that Americans are suffering extraneous health, longevity, and education effects due to Trump’s plague simply because of the lack of equality and inclusiveness that protects citizens of societies that are making social progress. Mr. Green said:
“Societies that are inclusive, tolerant and better educated are better able to manage the pandemic.”
Obviously America has not managed the pandemic because of Trump. But America is not handling anything under Trump whether it is addressing extrajudicial capital punishment against people of color at the hands of unregulated law enforcement or addressing the conflagration on America’s West Coast due to anthropogenic climate change.
It is an atrocity that a nation as wealthy as America cannot provide basic needs such as education, health care, clean water and air, adequate housing, and daily sustenance for those in need. Trump and his Republican acolytes claim there is never enough money to address those basic human needs. However, they found nearly two trillion dollars to fund a tax cut for the rich and their corporations with no problem whatsoever.
Michael Porter said he hopes the Social Progress Index will be “a call to action” to stop America’s decline into developing nation status, but he is dreaming.
Everything Trump and Republicans have implemented or planned for Americans will only hasten America’s decline because they are inherently evil and vehemently oppose the basic ideas of inclusiveness, tolerance, and basic education for all Americans. The idea of equality, as cited in the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment, or social progress, is anathema to everything Republicans stand for and with a savage egomaniac like Trump carrying their banner, being number 28 among the Earth’s nations is likely as good as it is ever going to get.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.