• "the greatest inequality of incomes... the highest poverty rate [50 million people]... and the lowest social mobility" -- this in a country whose whole national myth and self-image is rooted in equality and opportunity
• "the highest homicide rate [and[... largest prison population (both in absolute terms and per capita);" how can we call ourselves a "peace-loving" people?
• "the [third-lowest] spending on international development and humanitarian assistance as a percentage of national income;" yet, in poll after poll many Americans evince an unwillingness to help the poor of other nations while we are experiencing ecomomic hardship. To use the vernacular, "things are tough all over -- get over it."
• "the highest expenditure on health care as a percentage of GDP, yet... the highest infant mortality rate, the highest prevalence of mental health problems, the highest obesity rate, the highest percentage of people going without health care due to cost, the highest consumption of antidepressants per capita, and the shortest life expectancy at birth;" why do so many politicians and talk-show hosts still maintain that we have "the finest healthcare system in the world?" Do they simply mean the most profitable?
• "the next-to-lowest score for student performance in math and middling performance in science and reading" -- in other words, no child has not been left behind in America.
As Speth points out "these deplorable consequences are not just the result of economic and technological forces over which we have no control. They are the results of conscious political decisions made over several decades by both Democrats and Republicans who have had priorities other than strengthening the well-being of American society..."