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9 Ways to Improve the United States

9 Ways to Improve the United States

Editor’s Note: Below are nine facts you really should know about how the U.S. does–and doesn’t–work. The list comes to us from Our Fiscal Security, where this piece first appeared. 

Social Infrastructure Needs:

1.  The U.S. ranks 27th—nearly last—among developed countries when it comes to investments in education, health care and other vital social needs.

2.  Most developed nations have recognized that affordable childcare is a necessity for working parents and a key investment in the cognitive and social development of children. In 2005, the U.S. spent only 0.4 percent of GDP on early childcare and education, ranking 28th out of 37 countries.

3.  Thirty-nine percent of American children age three to five were not enrolled in any type of nursery school, preschool, or kindergarten in 2008.

Physical Infrastructure Needs:

1.  Thirty-three percent of U.S. roads are in poor or mediocre conditions.

2.  Poor road quality is a major factor in congestion and traffic accidents. Americans spend more than 4 billion hours a year stuck in traffic—costing more than $78.2 billion a year in wasted time and fuel costs.

3.  About 12 percent of our nation’s bridges are structurally deficient, and about 16 percent are functionally obsolete. The day-to-day impact of faulty bridges comes in traffic delays, congestion, detours for commuters, and the routine rerouting of trucks and emergency vehicles.

4.  As of 2009, the U.S. ranks first in the world in terms of broadband usage. But our networks are much slower than other advanced nations—ranking 23th in download speed.

5.  We need to invest in new sources of power. In 2007, fossil fuels made up 86 percent of the United States’ total primary energy supply, while alternative energy sources accounted for just 14 percent.

6.  In 2009, China invested nearly $35 billion in clean energy, close to double the $19 billion invested by the U.S. The gap is the result of low federal investment: in terms of private equity and venture capital, we lead the world in dollars devoted finding alternative energy sources. As a percentage of GDP, our public spending ranked eleventh among G-20 countries in 2009. Spain, for example, invested five times more, and China and the United Kingdom three times more.


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4:41PM PST on Dec 9, 2010

none of that surprises me at all. America sucks. but I live here.

11:45PM PST on Dec 1, 2010

very sad and shocking indeed :(

2:03AM PST on Dec 1, 2010

Lynn C: I very much doubt that the US was ever run by 'the people'. A brief (unbiased) history shows that, in the main, the US was/is run under the influence of 12 major families with very cheap labour under very low conditions.

However, Natalie Williams hits it right on the head: publicly-funded elections to candidates who pass a selection test is the only way to 'real democracy'. Spending millions of $ to get elected for the perks is NOT exactly my idea of making public office accessible to all.

2:48PM PST on Nov 30, 2010

US is a piece of shit! and I am unpatriot of US because of us government is diagonsed with inaction!

1:15PM PST on Nov 30, 2010

1. First paragraph of previous comment was meant sarcastically
2. I WISH Fox News would report (not with Fox News)

Oops :O)

1:13PM PST on Nov 30, 2010

God forbit we invest in affordable child care, if that existed...
all those undocumented aliens and slackers that are ruining the country would clog it up with their anchor babies!!!

I just with Fox News would actually report on some of these facts and then maybe the blind followers would finally start to realize that they are lemmings...and hey, see that big cliff up ahead?

1:30AM PST on Nov 30, 2010

"Another suggestion: move it farther away from Canada."

You'll be Canadian, I assume?

12:53AM PST on Nov 30, 2010

America has got to start acting like a responsible 1st World Government and stop looking for the profit of the very few in favor of the suffering of the greater majority. American government is allowing businesses to poison and extort high prices from the mass majority for inferior and life-threatening products. It has lost it's way as a world leader, and a government for the people. It has got to stop exploring and littering outer space and start healing the matters that are so important to the existance of this planet and it's inhabitants.

11:13PM PST on Nov 29, 2010

So many great comments and suggestions here. It's really too bad 'the people' don't run this country anymore.

10:13PM PST on Nov 29, 2010

If these stats are known in Washington, why then aren't they doing something about it? Oops! I forgot! They are not our elected representatives. They were bought by the corporations that can now vote. I can not fathom why it is to their advantage to drive the US into a third world status.

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