"USA: We're Number 1!"
Oh, wait — Iceland is No. 1. But we did beat out Poland and Slovakia, right? Uh ... no. But go on down the rankings and ... there we are! No. 27, fifth from the bottom.
So our new national chant is, "USA: At Least We're Not Last!"
A foundation in Germany has analyzed the social justice records of all 31 members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, ranking each nation in such diverse yet important categories as health care, income inequality, preschool education and child poverty rate.
The overall performance by the United States — which boasts of being an egalitarian society — outranks only Greece, Chile, Mexico and Turkey. Actually, even two of those countries performed better than ours in the education of preschoolers, and Greece did better than the U.S. on the prevention of poverty.
Being at the bottom of the heap in social justice confirms the reality of both economic and political inequality that the Occupy Wall Street movement is protesting. It also helps explain why Occupy's grassroots uprising in America has spread so rapidly to more than 600 communities and has generated such broad public support.
After all, our nation is fabulously rich, ranking well ahead of nearly all OECD members in national wealth, so there is no excuse for us sitting at the bottom of the list in education, health care, poverty and other measures of a democratic and egalitarian society.
Bluntly put, We the People have let today's elites abandon America's founding principles of fairness, justice and equal opportunity for all. These privileged few have purchased our government, stolen the wealth and economic future of working families, and reduced America to a plastic imitation of the country we thought we had.
The Occupy rebellion is long overdue and on target. Join it!
Jim Hightower is the best-selling author of Swim Against the Current: Even a Dead Fish Can Go With the Flow, on sale now from Wiley Publishing. For more information, visit jimhightower.com.
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