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Top U.S. Social Issues

Updated on September 21, 2013

Thoughts on the top social issues the United States is facing today.

This is an analysis of the top social issues facing the United States today. Here you can discuss the issues with other people and share ideas. Add your own ideas. I will try to give as much opportunity for feedback as possible.

If we don't start having a serious discussion about these issues then we will end up lost. So far it seems our society has isolated individuals and destroyed any sense of community we had. We are so busy, either with work and trying to make ends meet for our families, or we are desperately trying to numb ourselves with meaningless entertainment and escapism. We hideout in our own little bubbles and fail to develop lasting relationships with our local community.

We need to start working together to find solutions and to change the direction we are headed in. I hope this will help at least start some discussion of the issues. Here are issues that I thought were noteworthy. If I missed an important one, which I am sure I did, just leave me a comment with your suggestion. Thanks for stopping by. Let's be solution oriented. Please understand we all have different backgrounds, political orientations, and opinions. That's okay, but be respectful if you are responding on this lens. We are divided enough with our divisive politics and media that presents so many issues as black or white with only two choices when in reality most issues have a lot of gray. Have fun, share ideas, and be nice.

Health Care Reform, Educational Funding, Oil Dependence, Unemployment, Homelessness, Teen Suicide, Drug Use, Control of the Media, Obesity, National Debt, Corporatism, Campaign Finance, Business Regulation, Government Subsidies, Cost of Higher Education, Military Spending, International Relations, Immigration, and Poverty... these are just a few.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

~Edmund Burke

Come on, now is your chance to tell everyone what you think! So go ahead. Let's hear it.

The Rising Cost of Health Care
The Rising Cost of Health Care

Health Care

The Issue: There are so many people in the United States without health care. It is becoming a National Crisis. You may be wondering why this is a National Crisis.

What you may not understand is people without health care create an increased cost and drain on the whole health care system. When they finally get so sick because they lack the preventative care they would have if they could afford health care they end up going to the hospital either to emergency care or by way of an ambulance. Someone has to pay for that cost and believe me the end cost of this tragic problem is much more expensive than if we were to provide the preventative care maintenance that all people deserve. Sadly this expense is passed on to the people who can afford health care or the businesses who provide health care for their employees. Thus, the cost of health care continues to rise as more and more people can't afford to pay for preventative care, which in turn continues to make it harder for average Americans to afford it. Basically, the system is spiraling out of control and the insurance companies are loving it as the profits continue to roll in!

Did you know that per capita (that means per person), the United States pays more for health care than any other country in the world? This is a burden on our economy!

How does this affect our Economy?

Consider the cost that a business has to bear providing health care for it's employees. This creates an added expense for doing business in the USA. Companies in foreign countries where health care is provided don't have this expense. This adds to the cost of producing goods in the United States.

It also affects individual consumers. Every additional dollar spent on health care by consumers is a dollar that can not be spent on other goods and products. This takes money out of the economy as a forced expense on consumers. The choice is you could not pay for health insurance, but the cost of that decision can be fatal. It is related that lack of health insurance decreases your life expectancy.

Health Care Poll

Should we have universal health care?

See results
Lack of Health Insurance
Lack of Health Insurance

Health Insurance Facts

1. 45,000 Americans die annually due to a lack of health insurance. Don't believe me? Don't take my word for it. Check it out: CLICK HERE!

2. The United States is the only wealthy, industrialized nation that does not have a universal health care system. Source: Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. CLICK HERE!

3. Americans spend twice as much as residents of other developed countries on health care, but get lower quality, less efficiency and have the least equitable system, according to a report released on Wednesday. CLICK HERE!

4. In 2006, the percentage of Americans without health insurance was 15.8%, or approximately 47 million uninsured people. Source: US Census Bureau.

5. The United States spends twice as much on health care per capita ($7,129) than any other country . . . and spending continues to increase. In 2005, the national health care expenditures totaled $2 trillion. Source: National Center for Health Statistics.

6. 75% of all health care dollars are spent on patients with one or more chronic conditions, many of which can be prevented, including diabetes, obesity, heart disease, lung disease, high blood pressure, and cancer. Source: Health Affairs

7. From 2000 to 2006, overall inflation has increased 3.5%, wages have increased 3.8%, and health care premiums have increased 87%. Source: Kaiser Family Foundation.

8. The United States ranks 43rd in lowest infant mortality rate, down from 12th in 1960 and 21st in 1990. Singapore has the lowest rate with 2.3 deaths per 1000 live births, while the United States has a rate of 6.3 deaths per 1000 live births. Some of the other 42 nations that have a lower infant mortality rate than the US include Hong Kong, Slovenia, and Cuba. Source: CIA Factbook (2008)

9. Approximately 30,000 infants die in the United States each year. The infant mortality rate, which is the risk of death during the first year of life, is related to the underlying health of the mother, public health practices, socioeconomic conditions, and availability and use of appropriate health care for infants and pregnant women. Sources: CDC and National Center for Health Statistics

10. Life expectancy at birth in the US is an average of 78.14 years, which ranks 47th in highest total life expectancy compared to other countries. Source: CIA Factbook (2008)

11. About half of the bankruptcy filings in the United States are due to medical expenses. Source: Health Affairs Journal 2005

12. Medicare operates with 3% overhead, non-profit insurance 16% overhead, and private (for-profit) insurance 26% overhead. Source: Journal of American Medicine 2007

Educational Funding

Education across the nation is facing deep cuts as state budgets decline due to the recession. I came across the information below on the internet and found it to be thought provoking. I hope you do to. Check out the link if you want the full article.

The United States supports schools in Afghanistan because we know that education is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to build a country. Alas, we’ve forgotten that lesson at home. All across America, school budgets are being cut, teachers laid off and education programs dismantled.

The Center on Education Policy reports that 70 percent of school districts nationwide endured budget cuts in the school year that just ended, and 84 percent anticipate cuts this year. To see the full article: CLICK HERE!

Rising National Debt

It is tragic that our deficit spending and debt have been allowed to get so out of control. Some economists will tell you that debt is not bad, but that is only if it is invested wisely and at some point in time if your debt is so high that it destroys your return on investments everywhere else then there is a real problem. Running in the red is not good practice. There is a reason corporations seek to make a profit, not go into debt. Just think about your own life. When you are in debt you are a slave to whoever you owe. Eventually, debt has to be paid back, but if you can never earn enough money to pay it back because you are paying to much interest than you are in serious trouble and will eventually lose everything or be forced to file bankruptcy. Do we really want to bankrupt the United States, our country? What kind of message are we sending to individuals. The United States certainly is unable to teach any lessons on fiscal responsibility. You have to wonder what we are spending all our money on.

The President's budget request for 2010 totals $3.55 trillion. Percentages in parentheses indicate percentage change compared to 2009. This budget request is broken down by the following expenditures:[8]

* Mandatory spending: $2.173 trillion (+14.9%)

o $695 billion (+4.9%) - Social Security

o $571 billion (+58.6%) - Unemployment/Welfare/Other mandatory spending

o $453 billion (+6.6%) - Medicare

o $290 billion (+12.0%) - Medicaid

o $164 billion (+18.0%) - Interest on National Debt

* Discretionary spending: $1.378 trillion (+13.8%)

o $663.7 billion (+12.7%) - Department of Defense (including Overseas Contingency Operations)

The total deficit for fiscal year 2009 was $1.42 trillion, a $960 billion increase from the 2008 deficit.

The 2009 budget deficit would represent 12.3% of gross domestic product,[9] the largest share since World War II.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_United_States_fe...

04-26-2011 - Interesting post I found online

The IMF (International Monetary Fund) just posted probably their most controversial prediction ever on their website which most of the world are not even aware of yet. This organization has actually set a date when the age of America will end and be overtaken by China. This is the first time that the IMF actually puts a time frame on their prediction and therefore this news is like dropping a bombshell. According to their forecast on their website, the age of the United States will end in 2016 when China's economy will fully take over the might of the American economy.

This would mean that the next president after the 2012 election will be the last President of the United States that will preside over the world's largest economy. The age of America is coming to an end much sooner than the world had originally projected. This is due the growing concern over America's national debt and the declining US dollar. CHECK IT OUT ---> CLICK HERE!

Unemployment

Red = Unemployment from Jan 1960 to Jun 2011
Red = Unemployment from Jan 1960 to Jun 2011

Poverty

What needs to be said here? With unemployment rates through the roof it is no surprise that we find more and more families struggling to make ends meet. More and more families are falling below the poverty line. This financial crisis only compounds everything else. You lose your job, you lose your health care for your family, your kid gets sick, and you end up filing bankruptcy. The next thing you know you are trying to find an apartment to rent, but you can't because you have no income. Now your family is not only poor, but homeless. Now your kids are depressed and stressed and the likelihood that they will have self esteem issues and a tough time in school increases. So now your kids are at greater risk for teen suicide. When will this terrorizing tornado spiraling out of control ever end?

Poverty Map of the USA

Homelessness

Interesting Political Books

Democracy in America
Democracy in America

Interesting read from an outsider perspective. Still relevant.

 
Poverty in America: A Handbook
Poverty in America: A Handbook

Today in our nation's Capitol at least between 5,000 and 10,000 poor are living, dying, and going hungry in the streets each day. This is appalling for supposedly the richest and most powerful nation on earth.

 
Education and Ecstasy (With the Great School Reform Hoax)
Education and Ecstasy (With the Great School Reform Hoax)

A compelling book on education. Well worth the read.

 
Broken Government?
Broken Government?

Yes, very broken. What are the solutions?

 

Teen Suicide

This issue just makes me want to cry. As a Dad I can't imagine facing the pain and hurt that comes with losing a child, especially if they took their own life. My heart goes out to anyone who has known someone who has taken their own life, teen or otherwise. Maybe I should just put this issue as suicide in general because I know some might take offense as if teen suicide is more important of an issue than any other suicide. No one can put a value on human life so one is not more important than the other. When young kids are killing themselves with the rest of their life ahead of them and so much potential something must be done.

Is suicide common among children and young people?

In 2007, suicide was the third leading cause of death for young people ages 15 to 24.

1 Of every 100,000 young people in each age group, the following number died by suicide:

* Children ages 10 to 14 — 0.9 per 100,000

* Adolescents ages 15 to 19 — 6.9 per 100,000

* Young adults ages 20 to 24 — 12.7 per 100,000

There are gender differences in suicide among young people, as follows:

* Nearly five times as many males as females ages 15 to 19 died by suicide.

* Just under six times as many males as females ages 20 to 24 died by suicide.

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/suicid...

OBESITY

Oil Dependency

Why are we paying astronomical gas prices when green technology has been around for so long? Why have we let it get to this point where we are backed against the wall? Why didn't we plan for the future and realize we needed to make some changes sooner? Why are we now scrambling to become green and to change to wind, solar and other green sources of energy so we do not have to be dependent on foreign oil? Why, why, why?

The United States consumed 19.1 million barrels per day (MMbd) of petroleum products during 2010, making us the world's largest petroleum consumer. The United States was third in crude oil production at 5.5 MMbd.

In 2010 the United States imported 11.8 million barrels per day (MMbd) of crude oil and refined petroleum products. We also exported 2.3 MMbd of crude oil and petroleum products during 2010, so our net imports (imports minus exports) equaled 9.4 MMbd.

About Half of U.S. Petroleum Imports Come from the Western Hemisphere

Some may be surprised to learn that 49% of U.S. crude oil and petroleum products imports came from the Western Hemisphere (North, South, and Central America, and the Caribbean including U.S. territories) during 2010. About 18% of our imports of crude oil and petroleum products come from the Persian Gulf countries of Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates. Our largest sources of net crude oil and petroleum product imports were Canada and Saudi Arabia.

Sources of Net Crude Oil and Petroleum Product Imports:

Canada (25%)

Saudi Arabia (12%)

Nigeria (11%)

Venezuela (10%)

Mexico (9%)

It is usually impossible to tell whether the petroleum products you use came from domestic or imported sources of oil once they are refined.

http://www.eia.gov/energy_in_brief/foreign_oil_dep...

Where Imported Oil comes from

So... If only 18% of our oil imports come from the Persian Gulf, then why has every conflict in the middle east seemed to drastically affect or raise our gas prices? Oh wait... It's because BIG OIL COMPANIES are PRICE GOUGING. The same reason why gas costs more over holiday weekends, including spring break, 4th of July, Labor Day Weekend, Thanksgiving, and Christmas! Hmm... not that I am bitter about Oil Corporate Greed.

Foreign Relations - Including Wars and Aid

Why are we spending so much of our resources overseas? Is it really making our world a safer place and protecting us from terrorism? I ask myself these questions almost every day. My heart goes out to the soldiers who are risking their lives in service to our country, but I am not sure the wars ongoing are accomplishing the goals we are told they are for. I am not sure we are defeating terrorism. I am not sure you can defeat terrorism. I am not sure the money and aid we are giving these countries is appreciated. I know we are building infrastructure, trying to make life better for these people, and trying to create a more stable government in these countries along with a more stable middle east. I understand the ideas and possibly the potential benefits, but at what cost? Our family members are dying over in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many of our U.S. casualties are young kids who joined the military, yes some only for the cause of service, but some too for the lack of better opportunities here in the States for jobs, and or also for money for education. I am not saying I know what is right, but damn we are spending a lot overseas. I see the need right here at home with education and health care and it is hard for me to justify the foreign expenses.

USA Foreign Policy Poll

Should the United States be doing as much as they do overseas?

See results

What do you think about the USA Dual Party System? Should it change? - Dual party system - stroke of genius or epic failure?

Debate it here. Did the founders fail? I know the US educational system likes to teach the glorious, amazing, and wonderful ideas of the US Constitution, but let's get a dose of reality in there... things aren't perfect. Could changing the US party system help improve US politics?

Thanks so much for visiting!

What is the TOP ISSUE? - Which issue do you think is the top issue and why?

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    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Gun Control. After the Sandy Hook tragedy, the government has been restricting and taking away peoples gun rights and making it harder than ever for people to own a gun.

    • profile image

      kurtkenobi 4 years ago

      Amnesty and Illegal Immigration. After reading the bill it does nothing for Americans and doles out jobs, lowers the wage standard and gives millions to senators and representatives for special iterests.

    • Mr Criminology profile image

      Bigwas 4 years ago from Philippines

      Poverty as they say is the root of all evil so it is but logical for the government to concentrate on alleviating poverty.

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 4 years ago from Ljubljana

      I believe the whole world has pretty much the same problems and they can all be condensed in one single word - responsibility.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I agree with everyone and think it would be nice if our elected officials would represent us rather than all the partisanship.

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 4 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Poverty and Homelessness - while you've listed them as separate issues, to me they are very much entwined.

    • profile image

      drellis07 4 years ago

      Please read my lens relative to this issue.

    • geosum profile image

      geosum 4 years ago

      With 70% of adults being either obese or overweight, obesity is high on the list. It increases the cost of healthcare, and has an ever increasing impact on air transportation. Childhood obesity is also a major problem.

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 4 years ago

      The biggest issue is greed. Our profit driven economy is acting like a machine without morals.

    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 4 years ago

      A failure of individuals and groups to empathize with others who differ from them, placing themselves as the standards to which everyone else is expected to rise. A solution might be to incorporate a program I recently saw featured on pbs: teaching grade schoolers empathy by bringing a baby to their classroom once/week or once/month for an entire year. Children's attention was focused on the baby and remarkable increased in empathy resulted.

    • JackNimble profile image
      Author

      JackNimble 4 years ago

      @norma-holt: Wow... saw this before and never replied. Sad to hear someone overgeneralize the USA as if every citizen of our Country approves of every action or thing going on here. I am trying to find the positive in your statement that you are concerned with the direction our world seems to be heading and so I will connect with you on that sentiment. My only request would be that you be a little less judgmental and avoid stereotypes about the United States. I am sorry you have had some not so positive interactions and perceptions. There truly are caring people that live in the USA that are concerned with all the issues you mention. As a matter of fact I am one of them, hence this lens.

    • JackNimble profile image
      Author

      JackNimble 5 years ago

      @anonymous: So happy I could help!

    • JackNimble profile image
      Author

      JackNimble 5 years ago

      @Gayle Dowell: I couldn't agree with you more. The Golden Rule and Compassion for others along with education would go along way to fix many of our issues.

    • JackNimble profile image
      Author

      JackNimble 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Thanks for the advice. I agree with the way you classify the issues I pointed out in this lens. I was attempting to be more specific with some. There certainly is enough content with each of those categories to have their own lens. Now how do we solve all these issues cmoney? :-) That is the tough part.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Obesity and Teen Suicide go under Healthcare. Educational funding is just Education. Homelessness and Poverty go under Unemployment. Thatâs what itâs usually the result of. Oil Dependency, Rising National Debt go under The Economy. Foreign Relations (WARS, AID) = National Defense (Military). So now the social issues are Health, Education and Welfare, Economy, and National Defense. Prioritized in that order.

      You asked what do I think. That's what I think!

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 5 years ago

      From an outsider's viewpoint my take on USA is of a country absorbed with celebrity, fantasy and money. In dealing with many online there are few who appear to know anything about the rest of the world. It would seem that you know all about America as if that is the only place that exists. This is a general statement and is not meant to include everyone. There are some very decent people in the States but as far as the majority is concerned if appears to be the case that if it is not in America;s interests then it is not important. What your companies get up to overseas and what your movies, games, drugs and so on do in other places is appalling. Even your politics is governed by big money rather than down to eath important issues such as your health care, poverty, homelessness and so on, That's not to say that other countries are much better. In fact the world is sliding into a non caring, catastrophic, suicidal and massively overpopulated and under resourced future.

    • GOT LM profile image

      GOT LM 5 years ago

      Nice list of u.s social issues.

    • Gayle Dowell profile image

      Gayle Dowell 5 years ago from Kansas

      I think the top issue in America is a moral issue. The decline in integrity and honesty all the way from our government down. There has been a breakdown in ethics and morals. If we lived honestly with the best interest of others in mind, many of the social issues wouldn't exist. Until we can live honestly, not greedily or selfishly, we will always have social issues.

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image

      William Leverne Smith 5 years ago from Hollister, MO

      I think Education needs more and better attention, not just money. People need to care about education, one -on- one; everyone needs to be a life-long learner. We each need to take on one other person and be a one-on-one mentor. ;-)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I was looking for crucial information on this subject. The information was important as I am about to launch my own portal. Thanks for providing a missing link in my business.

    • filmic profile image

      filmic 6 years ago

      hmmm - health care or obesity...its like the Kentucky Fried Chicken and the egg.

    • profile image

      poutine 6 years ago

      I would say that in the U.S. right now, the most pressing issue is the unemployment.

    • jackieb99 profile image

      jackieb99 6 years ago

      Definitely obesity. Health care costs are going to be crippling in the near future.

    • JackNimble profile image
      Author

      JackNimble 6 years ago

      @theonlineanswer: I have to admit I am not familiar with the Nexus Tax. Can you tell me a little more about that or send or post a link so we can all learn more?

    • theonlineanswer profile image

      theonlineanswer 6 years ago

      The nexus tax. Immediately interferes with the way I make money

    • julietarot lm profile image

      julietarot lm 6 years ago

      I think a lot of these issues are intertwined. I don't live in the US but in UK where we have a brilliant NHS.They are fantastic in an emergency and I think that is why we are nervous to have anything that may harm it. I think all people should be able to access healthcare free at the point of access.