Where is America today in the world? How can it be better?

America's Ranking in the World – US has 5% of the world's population
Most of these are among Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development – peers

More countries today use the Canadian Constitution for their basis, not the American
  • Guarantees more freedoms and liberties – more modern
  • Canada has an ERA that guarantees no discrimination
  • Freedom of travel and language
  • Voting rights coded right in (rather than amended later)
  • Most of the world finds our obsession with guns terrifying
  • Protects the presumption of innocence
  • Fear that SCOTUS only interprets the Constitution as originally intended

27% of Americans graduate from 4 year colleges
  • 23% of American students drop out of high school every year, costing $300B in productivity
  • 14% of college graduates move back in with their parents
  • In 2000-2010, US increased education funding by 2%; defense funding by more than 100%

15 million American children live in poverty every year
16 million American children live in food insecure homes

45,000 Americans died in 2009 because they had no health insurance – 1 9/11 per month
  • 50 million Americans live without health insurance
  • America is the only OECD country without any paid maternity leave
  • UK gives 8 months, France/Spain/Switzerland/Italy give 5 months

Homicide - Most common method of death for black males 14-35
  • Average African-American male is up to 8x more likely to die of heart disease/cancer than avg white
  • 23 million Americans addicted to drugs

6 million Americans in jail (2% of the population – Britain jails 153 per 100k, we jail 760 per 100k)
  • Japan – 63 per 100k, Germany – 90 per 100k, France – 96 per 100k, China – 111 per 100k
  • America has 5% of the world's population, but 25% of the world's prisoners
  • $45k per year spent per inmate - $8.6k per year spent per college student
  • California has built 1 new university since 1980 – but 21 new prisons
  • 415 private prisons opened between 2000-2005 – have a vested interest in keeping inmates
  • And donate money to campaigns
  • Many are contracted to ensure full capacities – keeps Americans in jail

1 legal gun for every American citizen (not adult) in the country
  • 45% of American households own a gun
  • 4x more likely to injure family member than frighten off a criminal
  • 1990-2010 – Gun Control groups collected $1.8M, Gun Rights groups collected $22M
  • 13,000 murders in 2010, 6,000 with a handgun
  • 33 states will sell guns at gunshows without doing a background check
  • 75 adults are killed by guns every day, and 9 children – 3k teens/children per year (90% boys)
  • A preschooler is killed by a gun every 6 days
  • More preschoolers are killed by guns every year than police officers

Middle class incomes fell 7% over the last decade, while the wealthiest 40% gained wealth
  • Social mobility – US has one of the lowest rates of Canada/Western Europe
  • 50% of children born into poverty will spend adulthood in poverty
  • Average white is 20x more wealthy than avg African-American; 18x more than avg Hispanic

Richest 1% of Americans own 33% of America's total wealth – doubled since 1979
  • Bottom half of America has 2.5% of the wealth – raise income taxes on them?
  • Federal minimum wage (in purchasing power) has decreased 9%; CEO pay increased 300%
  • Adjusting for inflation, American workers haven't increased wages in 50 years

43rd – Education spending
28th - Math literacy
24th – Science literacy
20th – graduating engineering degrees
50th - Life expectancy
101th - Maternal mortality
37th – healthcare quality
9th in quality of life
24th – Intentional homicides
66th – Unemployment
1st – GDP
172nd – GDP growth
12th – GDP per capita
43rd – Income distribution
3rd – Exports
13th – Democratic freedom – according to Economist magazine (right after Czech Republic)

#1 – Deaths preventable by adequate healthcare – 101,000 die every year
#1 – potential for solar/wind energy
#1 - consumer of illegal drugs
#1 – Imports
#1 – Defense spending
#1 – Adult and childhood poverty rates
#1 – Spent on health care to get the:
1st in infant mortality, mental health issues, obesity, low birth rate, antidepressant consumption
#1 – CO2 emissions and water consumption
#1 – failing to sign international agreements

America is the greatest country because its identity is based on an idea
  • Not a language, or ethnicity, or region, or in opposition to anything
  • First country to allow all people to join together and overcome their divisions
  • People failed to live up to this ideal – but the fact that the ideal even exists is important
  • First step toward a human identity – base our identity on the fact that we're all people

Be wary of division - The easiest way to rule people is to divide them
  • Be aware of using labels and issues to be divided
  • Know that when you make jokes, you work to divide people
  • Men against women, liberals against conservatives, young against old, black against white
  • Xbox against PS3, Friend against friend
  • Christian against Muslim, American against Iraqi, or Afghan, or French, or Canada
  • Politicians do this to get votes, religious leaders do it to get support and money
  • Remember that we are all people – not even Americans

Mr Henson's Solution:
  1. Read – read everything, people you like, people you dislike, those you agree/disagree with
    1. Learn about what other people think, and how they think
    2. Reading allows people from thousands of years in the past to send us their intimate thoughts
    3. Never let anybody tell you what not to read
  2. Travel – get out of Northern Kentucky, get out of America, get out of this hemisphere
    1. Go everywhere – don't eat at McDonalds, eat at local places and learn the culture
    2. Make friends, see sights, learn what other people value – it's much harder to hate a country you've been to
  3. Talk – to everybody, and importantly listen
    1. Don't discount someone's ideas because you think you know what they stand for
    2. Listen to them, then discuss – it's much harder to hate and be divided when you listen


Preventable deaths - http://www.reuters.com/article/2008/01/08/us-deaths-rankings-idUSN0765165020080108?utm_source=Twitter
Solar/wind potential - http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/Issuesforth
CIA World Fact Book
Largest user of illegal drugs - http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/04/16/the_narco_state?page=full