Charles Blow, who writes a weekly column for the New York Times based on polling and other data, hit a favorite topic of mine during election bloviations. Politicians of a certain sort love to talk about American exceptionalism and the United States’ innate if not God-given superiority. But the numbers don’t lie. We sometimes fall short.

Today, Blow writes about a recently compiled measure of social justice issues in countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and
Development.

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We sold ourselves a pipe dream that everyone could get rich and no one would get hurt — a pipe dream that exploded like a pipe bomb when the already-rich grabbed for all the gold; when they used their fortunes to influence government and gain favors and protection; when everyone else was left to scrounge around their ankles in hopes that a few coins would fall.

Here’s the chart he’s compiled. In things like child poverty, senior citizen poverty, income equality, health quality and service across income brackets and spending on pre-school education, we score near the bottom in many categories, comparing favorably only with some struggling countries like Mexico and Greece.

There’s no lack of love of country or patriotism in saying we can do better. It’s contrary to the American ideal to say we cannot.

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