Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Born in the USA!

Consider the following chart:

The Bloomberg columnist writes:
the overall point is that the U.S. has been losing ground relative to other OECD members in most measures of living standards. 1 And in the areas where the U.S. hasn't lost ground (poverty rates, high school graduation rates), it was at or near the bottom of the heap to begin with. The clear message is that the U.S. -- the richest nation on Earth, as is frequently proclaimed, although it's actually not the richest per capita -- is increasingly becoming the developed world's poor relation as far as the actual living standards of most of its population go.
We are #1!
From the bottom!

Improving the numbers for life expectancy at birth, or healthcare coverage, will require a rethinking of the social contract that we have in the US, about which I have blogged here over and over and over again!  The columnist also notes:
One major difference between the U.S. and most of the rest of the developed world is ideological: People and politicians in the U.S. are much more ambivalent about the modern welfare state than their peers in other wealthy nations and have been less willing to raise taxes to finance it.
And then we wonder why the white middle class is angry and on opioids!

That chart was from an IMF report.  The IMF is headquartered in the US.  But, according to its charter, it can't be here for long:
The articles of the organization say the headquarters should be the country of the member with the largest economy.
Uh oh!
Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, joked on Monday about donning “dream binoculars” and seeing the possibility of relocating the group’s headquarters to China.
“We might not be sitting in Washington D.C.,” Ms. Lagarde said at a Center for Global Development event here in which she envisioned what the I.M.F. might look like in 2027.
Ms. Lagarde may joke, but her comments reflect a concern that world leaders have about the changing role of the United States in global organizations.
I don't understand why we in the US would systematically do things in order to decrease our global standing and also mess up our own people.  Are we that fucking stupid?  I suppose we are; after all, we elected the madman to the presidency, and also have a bunch of loons in the congressional majority trying to legislate godawful policies in the cover of darkness.


Ramesh said...

A few strands of thought.

The US decreasing its global influence is a short term problem. It will go away in 2020 and America will be back to normal business :)

I wouldn't be too worried about the comparison charts. The US is doing pretty well on most measures. Its position way ahead of others in the middle of the last century was anyway not sustainable. Yes it has declined,, but nor to some alarming level.

The bigger issue is how dysfunctional the country has become. Not just politically, but culturally, socially ...... Its at war with itself on everything - guns, abortion, immigration, capitalism, ...... . The signs for the future are not good.

Sriram Khé said...

you write "The signs for the future are not good" and are yet way more upbeat about the US than I am ...?
The problem won't easily go away in 2020. Because, it is not merely trump the low-life, but the fact that there are at least 63 million who echo many of his beliefs. The 63 million ain't going away in one day.

Ramesh said...

I believe the problem will go away in 2020 for the following reason.

Yes, there were 63 million people who voted for him. But that is the absolute ceiling. It is very unlikely that even one voter who did not vote for him in 2016 is going to change colour and vote for him in 2020. So, the 63 million can only fall as at least a few will move away. How much this will fall by is anybody's guess, but it will be non zero.

Michigan had a 10,000 vote margin; Wisconsin 22,000 ; Pennsylvania 67,000 ; Florida 110,000. These are tiny numbers. Just as a matter of interest, Bernie Sanders got more than 100,000 votes as a write in candidate - of course that was national and not in these states. Jill Stein got more votes in Michigan and Wisconsin and almost as many in Pennsylvania as the victory margin.

Very easily his vote can fall by those numbers in those states. At the very least his opponent will win by a small majority nationally . More likely the majority will be larger . Many who voted for him were nominally independents. He will never get that many independents to vote for him again. So it doesn't really matter if his so called base remained intact.

The Democrats have to do two things - nominate a half decent candidate and go and get out the voters. Both are likely to happen. There won't be a more polarising candidate than Hillary Clinton and therefore its more likely that the person won't be viciously hated. It saddens me to say this, but it will be more effective for the candidate to be a white male (sorry Kamala Harris !) And the Democrats, to put it mildly, are energised. An Obama style campaign is likely and the they will do better in getting out the vote.

So good odds for a Democrat as a President in 2020. In fact I would offer better odds for the Democrat to win in 40 plus states than for a Trump victory.

Sriram Khé said...

Indeed ... the election was lost by a matter of a few thousand votes in the Midwest, similar to how Gore lost the electoral college by a matter of a few votes even though he won the popular vote.
The world was confident that Americans would not re-elect Bush. Polls had Kerry leading in 2004. And then remember how he was swift-boated?

The nasty going-for-the-jugular and hitting-below-the-belt white supremacists won't give up easily. But, try as they might, their time is coming to an end. If not in 2020, then 2024. Not only the White House but also the legislative branches. These are the real demographic issues that are also driving the voter-suppression and immigration control efforts now--both target the brown-skinned and non-Christian ...