Among a multitude of other things, the United States was the first to put a man on the moon, the first to put an airplane in the sky, the first to create the light bulb and the first to invent the internet. Yet lately, it seems that many people feel that the US just doesn’t have that “it” factor anymore. It feels like America has taken a back seat from leading the world in technology or for that matter, preaching a gospel of freedom, equality and the highest standard of living. Yet has the United States lost its edge? Has it become just another cruddy, struggle-to-get-by, high stress, low income country without any first class attributes?
According to the Meyer Quality of Living Scale, the highest ranking US city (Honolulu, HI) places a paltry 28th, with a handful of other US cities placing even lower on the list. However, there are number of places that America is clearly still global champion.
For instance, all other countries pale in comparison to America’s achievements in credit card debt.1 US citizens presently weigh in at an astounding $793.1 Billion (USD). An average, if divided out evenly to every household in the country, would put each and every family at a blue ribbon amount of -$15,799.00.
Not only does the US have the most credit card debt, it’s entered into the ring and won on mortgage debt2 as well. With a jaw dropping present figure of $11,954,100,000,000.00 (eleven trillion nine hundred fifty-four billion one hundred million dollars and zero cents), Americans can rest assured that this title isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon.
The US has really become a veritable champion of debt. If you think it stops at credit cards and mortgages, think again. Even as early as their University days, young citizens have managed to blaze a clear cut trail of debt, topping a behemoth $1.2 trillion in outstanding student loans.3
Surely after giving the rest of the planet such a well aimed kick in the crotch and hailing its gargantuan achievements, the US decided to stop there, right? Hardly, in fact, the flood gates have been jacked open for ages and the US Government itself has soared to lead the world, racking up an unprecedented $17.3 trillion dollars of pure, undefiled national debt.4 An amount that not only overshadows every country on earth at the moment, it’s the most debt any country has ever had in the history of the world.
Since US citizens clearly spend a lot of time working to pay off that epicurean debt, there isn’t a lot of time to make meals at home, so it appears that a lot of Americans go out to fast-food joints to eat. In fact, the US takes 1st place for consuming more fast-food5 than any other country on the planet. Can anything drown the salted, greasy splendor of fast-food better than a refreshing can of soda? Americans appear to think not, taking 1st place for consuming more soda6 than any other nation on earth. We’re talking each and every citizen guzzling down an average of over 600 sugar loaded cans a year.
So with all that unhealthy eating, people tend to get out of shape pretty quickly. Which may account for the fact that US citizens are also champions for being the most obese people on earth7 – well, up until 2013 when we got owned by Mexico in that arena.8 Not to worry though, we must have seen that coming so we worked the other side of the fence too, boasting more eating disorder related deaths than you’ll find anywhere else. Oh, did I mention that we still take first place for the world’s heaviest person?9 Because we do. Literal heavyweight, John Brower Minnoch all but eclipses Saudi Arabia’s Khalid bin Mohsen Shaari and Mexico’s Manuel Uribe, clocking in at an awe inspiring peak weight of 1,400 lbs (635 kgs).
Working all the time, fighting being out of shape and paying off all that debt can cause a lot of stress, unresolved anger and problems with relationships. Maybe that’s why the US has the highest diagnosis of mental disorders,10 the highest number of women taking anti-depressants (one in four, actually),11 the highest divorce rates12 and the highest number of one person households?13 Maybe that’s why we have the most lawyers per capita14 too? Why limit that blind anger to just a spouse though? A lot of Americans apparently don’t, also choosing to take their frustration out on their children. After all, the US has the highest child abuse death rate15 among developed nations. Of course, the US is also home to the most school shootings.16 Who cares about the lengthy process of marriage and family planning anyway? Clearly not many Americans, since the US also holds the global crown among developed nations for the highest teen pregnancy rates.17
So what do the sea of divorced, single parent Americans, jacked on anti-depressants do in their spare time to relax? Why not take a car ride to help the little aspiring school shooters fall asleep? Well, you might actually find you have to walk, since the US also happens to have the highest number of auto thefts18 in the world (one every 27 seconds). After a nice relaxing walk, you could always cap off the evening by watching some porn on the internet. After all, the US does happen to be #1 at making the most internet porn.19 You could even be a patriot by watching it on your smartphone and help the US continue to hold the title for the highest rate of smartphone based porn viewing.20