What are the REAL problems facing the US?

The current administration has done an impressive job of casting trivial (IMHO) problems as big ones - Transgenders in the military, Illegal voting, immigration, unfair international trade, etc. Or course, the Democrats aren’t much better.

When I think of the real problems facing the US, I come up with a list like this:

Antibiotic resistant bacteria.
Water shortages in the West.
The insolvency of Social Security.
The unaffordability of health care.
Lack of retirement savings for a huge portion of the population.
Global warming and the destruction of costal cities.
The decay of the US infrastructure.

What other problems which have been mostly ignored should be on this list?

Mass incarceration as the solution to the nation’s social problems.

Climate change, rip-off health care costs, $21 trillion debt, political correctness, tribalism, 300 million guns, Social Security insolvent, Medicare fraud.

I’ll just add risk of cyber attack to this list. We are woefully unprepared.

Income inequality. More specifically, the fact that jobs which pay well enough to ensure a decent quality of life and are accessible to people who aren’t particularly smart or well-educated are vanishing rapidly, and nothing seems to be taking their place. (And climate change, of course, but everyone has already mentioned that one.)

Insolvency of Social Security isn’t actually that big a problem. Or rather, it would be a big problem if left unsolved, but it would be very easy to solve. That’s in contrast to, say, the water crisis, which will be very difficult to solve, even if the political will were there (which would require that about ten times as many people be aware of the existence of the problem).

The toxicity of our politics that prevents the cooperation needed to solve any of the other problems.

The recent earthquake in Anchorage reminds that the Pacific Northwest will eventually have a massive megathrust earthquake with a magnitude of 8.0 or higher as some point. We really need to prepare.

People aren’t humble enough to admit that they’re assholes. Everyone thinks they’re some sort of saint saving humanity but no one will listen to them because the world is so flawed and unfair. I’m not like that at all. People really need to go back to when they could just hate and look down upon people for whatever reason and not think too deeply about it or act upon; just sort of go home and have a beer and sit in front of the TV and shut up while trying to dull the misery of your life and forget about what a fat loser you(the proverbial “you” not anyone here in particular) are. I think that’s what kept the peace for a while, people just accepted their miserable lot in life and blamed themselves for it; without this we might never have had electronic music in the 80’s.

The West’s water problem is to some extent a subset of climate change.

But the big one is the political divide, and the tendency to use power to maintain power as opposed to the good of the country. That is understanding that the good of the country might involve different directions depending on your party. Compromise and working together used to be a universally agreed on good. Not any more.
If we had that, we would do better working on the list of problems we are building.

Inherited wealth. No one should be born without the opportunity to succeed, and no one should be born without the opportunity to fail.

I’d agree with those, but I’d add we have a strong need to transition to a sustainable economic system. Climate change (obviously) and resource depletion are serious issues. You mention climate change, but that is just a subset of our need for a sustainable economy.

Fixing social security is pretty easy. Raise/eliminate the cap and raise the tax rate from 12.4%, up to maybe 14-15%. We may have to raise it even more due to all the boomers who didn’t save for retirement so SS benefits can be increased.

Income inequality and plutocracy are pretty serious issues that aren’t being addressed.

  1. Income inequality due to corporate influence(s) on public and economic policy. We are a de-facto, for now, functional plutocracy.

  2. Burgeoning police state.

The 2nd Amendment.

Lack of social mobility + large wealth inequality.

I forgot:

The rise of authoritarianism. A huge chunk of Americans don’t value democracy anymore.

Right wing populism is on the rise all over the west.

Lack of empathy for others, which I feel is partially driven by the internet. I no longer HAVE to interact with the people that are around me and notice that they are real people even if they hold different views. I can go online and find all kinds of confirmation that I am right.

I’ll start with Health Care. 18% of our nation’s GDP is bound up in HC. Efficiently run systems in other countries run more like 10%. That’s 8% of our GDP wasted. 8% of our nation’s entire productive capacity is burned up on inefficient management of one industry.

Our political system has become a mess as well. Political positions have become deeply entrenched in the party rather than being with the individual. Votes along party lines are the norm, it has become more important to not get ‘Primaried’ than to effectively govern. Even though I largely agree with one side and completely disagree with the other, I feel as though both parties need to get blown up and replaced with more collaborative entities.

Yeah - I see something along these lines as encompassing most of the others. In what way is the US making meaningful longterm plans for future generations? How will we contribute to the greatest number of Americans having the best possible quality of life?

So much of US policy seems aimed at protecting the interests of those who have succeeded in the past. And seems to reflect a belief that Americans are somehow entitled to forever be far richer than anyone else, consuming far more resources, and working less. So this encompasses:

  • mass incarceration - why put effort into providing lawful alternatives to crime for the poor? And why provide alternatives to incarceration (which private interests benefit from)?
  • climate change/environmental damage - why take away from short term profits of cheap fossil fuel?
  • health care - so long as health care industry profits, and the rich/employed can afford the care they want, why care that we spend far more for measurably lesser results than many other developed nations?
  • multinationalism - why do we assume that Asia and Africa will be happy to send outsized profits to the West, rather than developing their own networks?
  • education - the wealthy and educated have access to education, but how to meaningfully provide the least abled the chance of bettering their lot?

The list goes on and on. In short, America is focussed on protecting the interests of the wealthiest. When things go tits up in the long run, those folk will be able to afford to land softly. Fuck everyone else.

  1. climate change
  2. the rise of authoritarianism
  3. anti-intellectualism and a profoundly uneducated populace
  4. economic and social stratification
  5. endemic racism

The single biggest way to cure 90% of these problems begins with campaign finance.