A U.S. citizen living abroad on Alternet comments on an article in Der Spiegel “A Superpower in Decline”:
The European Union has a larger economy and more people than America does. Though it spends less — right around 9 percent of GNP on medical, whereas we in the U.S. spend close to between 15 to 16 percent of GNP on medical — the EU pretty much insures 100 percent of its population.
The U.S. has 59 million people medically uninsured; 132 million without dental insurance; 60 million without paid sick leave; 40 million on food stamps. Everybody in the European Union has cradle-to-grave access to universal medical and a dental plan by law. The law also requires paid sick leave; paid annual leave; paid maternity leave. When you realize all of that, it becomes easy to understand why many Europeans think America has gone insane.
The article in Der Speigel is a broad review of the history of our economic/political problems, (including such diverse issues as Florida, tea parties; Glenn Beck), xenophobia, and what Europeans perceive as the slowly failing American society.
Medicynical Note: I don’t see solutions in the short-term. We have one party trying it’s best to have the other fail and the second party will of course do no less if they should lose power. Somewhere our non-system of politics has failed us. The future? It’s very hard to be optimistic. Maybe a divided government will work………