PISA Scores To Poverty

On a different topic, this correlation does show how educational scores directly correlate to poverty…  The more luxurious one’s lifestyle is, the more one learns….

That is so common-sensical it is almost laughable that America pursued the corporate get-rich-quick No Child Left Behind Approach and wasted an entire generation of talent, instead of focusing on the obvious.  (Notice I said.. almost laughable.  None of the Millennials are laughing at it these days.)

But that is not what I want to talk about right now.  I want to address the bigger picture…  I want to address why the US can’t have nice things too?

I need you to do two things…

  1. Find the US on the chart above.(The chart enlarges if clicked)
  2. Ask and answer this question to yourself, “why?”

Mexico, Chile, and Turkey, are the only developed nations having a higher percentage of families below 50% of the global medium income than the US.   Now look at some who are higher….

  1. Israel
  2. Slovak Republic
  3. Slovenia

Does anyone remember what these countries were like in the 40’s?  Why is it that the United States despite all its opportunities is barely above the status of being a third world nation?

This was reinforced earlier this week by an article using the same title I chose above, which was based off a returning Americans vision of our nation after being in Europe for a while….

It stated something like: imagine what a First World traveler must think after emerging from JFK and riding the New York Subway into Manhattan…..

That was one of those pieces that stick; I’ve been thinking about it ever since…

Why do we as a democracy, totally and fully support those who are pushing us lower and lower down on the global economic scale? What is so great anymore, really, about being an American?

Oh, I wish I could fly to the Canaries for the weekend… But I can’t.  I’m an American.

Oh I wish I could hop on the train and see you a couple of hours (200 miles away) but I can’t.  I’m an American.

Oh, I wish I could have healthy food to eat, but I can’t.  My store won’t sell it.  I’m an American.

Oh, I wish i had enough left over to go to the movies this weekend, but I can’t.  I’m an American.

Oh, I wish our schools would teach that to our children, but they can’t.  We’re Americans.

Oh, I wish someone would fix that damn pothole.  I keep asking. But they can’t. We’re in America.

Oh, I wish I had enough money to buy everyone in my family a Christmas present. I can’t. I’m American.

Oh, i wish  they’d kept those woods as a park, instead of making more trashy apartments. But, we’re American.

Oh, I wish they’d make that refinery stop polluting. But they won’t.  We’re American.

Oh, I wish we could buy food that wasn’t Gentically modified.  But we can’t.  We’re American.

Oh, i wish someone would try to save the Monarch Butterfly before it goes extinct. Nevermind, I live in America.

Just some random thoughts… proving that compared to other nations… as the chart well shows, we really do have it bad….

Now why is that so?

Why is the supposedly richest nation in the world, on it’s own accord forcing itself to live in austerity, when it has all the possibilities that have ever been open to the race of men?

Obviously other nations aren’t so picky.  They are living much better!  So why can’t we have nice things too?

Why can’t we pay ourselves enough to fly to the Canaries for a weekend?

Why can’t we invest more and build ourselves a train system equal to China’s and Europe’s

Why can’t we have healthy food to eat by having unhealthy food cost more to cover it’s future medical expense?

Why can’t we earn enough per week to have enough left over to spontaneously go to the movies this weekend?

Why can’t our teachers teach three foreign languages to all our children by age 8?

Why can’t they fix that damn pothole?

Why can’t I spend what I wish on everyone I love and still have enough to live on later?

Why can’t we keep those woods as a park? Why do we had to commercialize absolutely everything?

Why can’t we establish rules that stop pollution, or cause a non-compliant place to close shop?

Why do we have to have everything genetically modified, even if it kills us later?

Why did we do nothing and let the Monarch butterfly go extinct… when we could have easily saved it?

The easy answer is that we chose to go down that path… Putting blame on any and everything else is a cop-out. We collectively made choices and this is the choice we made….

The hard answer, the one we struggle with, is why did we make that choice?

Why did other nations not make the same choice as did we, and now have all these nice things, while we are entrapped by our poverty and have really very little to show for all our good productive work? How come they got stuff, and we didn’t?

Why does Israel, which lives with rockets falling on top of them daily, live better than do we?
Why does tiny Denmark have so many wealthy people?
Why is the quality of life in the United States more closely ranked with that of Turkey, Chile, and Mexico?
Why are all the nations called Socialist and Communist by the Tea Party and the Republican Party of the United States of America, all doing better than us, and nations where cut-throat self expression is honored, are nestled at the bottom against us?

Time for a new scatter chart…

Happiness Is A Progressive Tax Rate
Courtesy of New York Times. (Click image to read)

Riffing off a Beatles tune title, “Happiness Is A High Progressive Tax Rate.”

Those people above who are happy, who have all those nice things… aren’t Socialists. They just come from a highly progressively tax country. People with no taxes are horrifically bitter… don’t believe it; you should try living in Somalia. Of course, no taxes are great if you are wealthy… but as one takes away each tax, one reduces the number of wealthy one will eventually have left…

So when America decided to reward the rich, and let their wealth and abundance “trickle down” all over us, we chose to go down this path of austerity. Without first thinking clearly that no one gives up their money unless forced, we assumed the bounty would flow to all.

The wealthy kept the money, and it has grown immensely. For them.

So now, they can afford to pay us lower than our worth, because others will jump at the chance to take our spot.

So now, they can afford to buy those who pass laws. to make laws for them, at our expense. For what we think doesn’t matter; they can buy the election.

So now, since they can afford cabs, we don’t need trains.

So now, since they can afford private schools, public schools should be mined to earn them even more money.

So now, since they can eat healthy food, we can’t because the profit margins are higher when they serve us sawdust, instead of real protein products.

So now, with copyrights paying them across two lifetimes, they don’t need us to go to the movies as they in the past.

So now, that pothole which affects only 1000 cars a day, can wait for the intersection into their newly developed shopping center to be completed.

So now, just why should they pay workers a living wage. They’re starving. They’d work for free if we’d just let them.

So now, parks are a nuisance and an extra cost. Better to develop the land underneath and collect rent instead.

So, now because it costs money to stop pollution, we don’t. Cuts into profits too much.

So now, all food is genetically modified… Cheaper to produce and that makes it more profitable.

So now, who needs a dumb-assed Monarch butterfly? It creates no benefit, costs money to save, it should just die and decrease the surplus number of species this planet is gasping to carry…..

We made that choice. This is our legacy. The good news is that we make choices every day. This choice we once made defines us now, but does not have to define us forever…

I’ll now leave with words from Dicken’s, rather proper for this time of season….

“I see an empty place at this table. I see a crutch without an owner, carefully preserved. If these shadows remain unaltered by the future, the child will die.”

Well, I’ve said too much. I…You’re the People here. You do what you want with this thing. Just one more thing, though. This planet needs this measly one-horse institution to change its course, if only to have some place where people can come without crawling to the 1%.

Just think about it over these holidays… Why is it that the US can’t have nice things too?