Top U.S. Social Issues
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.
Come on, now is your chance to tell everyone what you think! So go ahead. Let's hear it.
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?
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
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:
* 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, the largest share since World War II.
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!
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
Interesting Political Books
Interesting read from an outsider perspective. Still relevant.
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.
A compelling book on education. Well worth the read.
Yes, very broken. What are the solutions?
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.
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:
Saudi Arabia (12%)
It is usually impossible to tell whether the petroleum products you use came from domestic or imported sources of oil once they are refined.
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?
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!