April 19th, 2014
10:09 AM ET

How U.S. is lagging on quality of life

Fareed speaks with Michael Porter, a professor at the Harvard Business School, about a groundbreaking new Social Progress Index – and how the United States is lagging on many indicators. Watch the video for the full interview or on GPS this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.

You were shocked at what you learned about America.

Yes, I think this wasn’t the picture of America that I think many of us Americans have – that we are a leader, a social leader, that we've advanced the ball in terms of opportunity and the needs of our citizens. And it shows anything but that.

So if you look at the Social Progress Index, on the whole, what's striking is the top countries are New Zealand, Switzerland, Iceland, these small countries. But basically then a lot of European countries and Canada beat the United States.


The United States is 16, Ireland is ahead of it, Japan is ahead of it, Britain is ahead of it, Germany is ahead of it.


What does that tell us? What does that measure?

So this effort tries to really, for the first time ever, take let's call it the social or community or quality of life dimensions of a society, and capture those in a rigorous measurement framework – using the best data available in the world. That's the best and objective measures of these various multiple things. But of course, social progress is a broad concept.

Right. And that's where you break it down into these subcategories. Health and wellness, Japan is number one, Italy is number two, Switzerland is number three. You have to go all the way to 70 to get to the United States.

It's an area where the U.S. – if you actually look objectively, we're just not delivering. We actually spend the most money on this of any country in the world, probably in all of recorded history, in terms of our health care budget every year. But in terms of the actual outcomes – and by the way, the Social Progress Index measures the outcomes you achieve, not how much you spend, not how much you care, not whether you have a big heart…



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Topics: Economy • GPS Show • United States

soundoff (1,077 Responses)
  1. James A.

    Two books:

    The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap by Matt Taibbi and Molly Crabapple (Apr 8, 2014)

    Welcome to the United Elites of America by William T Wainright (Dec 3, 2013)

    Read them!

    April 20, 2014 at 11:24 pm | Reply
  2. brian

    This country is one big Potemkin Village. It has a beautiful facade of "freedom and democracy." If you look behind the facade it's a stinking cesspool.

    April 20, 2014 at 11:32 pm | Reply

      Now that's total bullshot. I've worked for 50+ years, my wife was a teacher for 40 years. My house is paid for. We're both retired and collecting $5000 a month in retirement.. Life is good. So FU.

      April 21, 2014 at 12:28 am | Reply
      • Justin

        Live is good for you now and was while you were growing up, but this is for the future generations, not just the retired ones who lived in what seemed like more prosperous times.

        April 21, 2014 at 12:39 am |
      • eighteencharacters

        I'm sure there are better things to do in your retirement than make condescending comments to strangers on the Internet, Gregory.

        April 21, 2014 at 12:42 am |
      • TRD

        You're a different era. In your days (post-dinosar/pre-modern), the US was in fact a leader. Now it's not.

        April 21, 2014 at 12:45 am |
      • Steve

        Gregory: if you had any children, or grand-children, you might be aware that the world they are facing is not as good as the one you grew up in. High school jobs were easy to find in the 70s; today, many adults can't find jobs as good as those I had in high school. For kids coming out of school, it could take a decade now to find a good job that might lead to a career. health care results in this country are terrible. Everything has become maximizing profits for s few while delivering less and less to people that need goods and services.

        April 21, 2014 at 1:01 am |
      • Rob

        Yep, and you're one of the few. Definitely in the minority. In the majority of these higher ranked countries, it's the norm. Quality of life, higher education, healthcare and a comfortable retirement are just things each citizen gets. Not something you get based on who your parents are or how much money you were born into. Of course we have scholarships, but in these countries, above average intelligence, athletic prowess or artistic ability are not a requirement in order to go to college. These things are not considered privileges there like they are for so many here.

        90+ years of work and you own your home? Fantastic. I would sure as heck hope so. Do you not see the irony? Unless it's a mansion on 50 acres, I think 90 years of work should get you more. Heck I think it should get you more than the mansion. In Sweden a married couple with 90+ years of work between them would probably own a few houses, even with their mandated 41 vacation days a year. Oh yeah, that's right, because they're all paid days off!

        And for anyone that wants to spew forth the "land of opportunity", you can be whatever you want line, give me a break. Sure the "rags to riches" stories happen every once in a while. That's what makes them worth mentioning! The rarity of them. The reality of the situation is this: this country is set up to keep the poor, poor and the rich, rich. Actually, with the state of corporate America the way it is and has been for years, it's more like make the poor, poorer, get the rich, richer. Of course this makes no sense economically, and we can easily see that. It doesn't matter how many tens of millions a year a CEO makes, how many cars, washers and refrigerators a year do you think he's going to buy? He's going to buy what he needs. Now if that insane amount of money was more evenly distributed, lets say down to the possibly thousands of rank and file employees in his company making minimum wage to like $15 an hour that needed cars, washers and refrigerators but didn't currently make enough to afford to buy them? What do you think happens then? I'd say it's all pretty obvious, the factories making the products can hire more workers instead of laying people off or closing altogether. The economy improves, quality of life improves. Except for maybe poor Mr. CEO, but I think he'd get by just fine making $2 million a year versus $50 million

        Income inequality is the biggest problem this country faces. It also goes by an even simpler name, GREED. Unless some things are changed regarding how these corporations operate and this income gap doesn't begin to narrow, we're going to be in for some of the darkest days this nation has seen. Think along the lines of what happened back in the early to mid 60s, and no, not the 20th century, the 19th century.

        April 21, 2014 at 1:44 am |
      • D

        As long as you're ok right azzhole?

        April 21, 2014 at 2:41 am |
      • American

        I think some of these commentors are neglecting one very important aspect of their "quality of life" calculus: it's not sustainable in isolation. Americans work harder and longer so you don't have to. Technology, manufacturing, intellectual property, medicine, defense- America has been the engine for progress in so many areas, that an objective accounting of its contributions could not even begin to describe the benefits these countries receive. China similarly exploits its citizens for other countries' gain. Say what you will, but if these engine countries didn't sacrifice themselves repeatedly for the citizens of this world, we'd have thousands of struggling agrarian economies like the world before 1776.

        It's this simple: if Americans stop working, everyone else must start. We have seen that an electorate accustomed to irresponsible leisure does not respond well to change in the other direction (see Greece). If/when America crashes, everyone can look forward to SKYROCKETING PRICES reflecting the efforts invested overseas, and they can go about figuring out how America did what it was doing when things were "easy."

        April 21, 2014 at 4:02 am |
      • christian

        your baby boomer generation sucked this country dry

        April 21, 2014 at 5:14 am |
      • Ed

        Instead of being smug and condescending of those who are not as fortunate, you should, instead, focus on the downward trend of life in America. Future generations will find a much tougher road to achieve what you have. This is not to say they are unprepared or stupid but rather additional evidence of the shrinking opportunities and stagnant wages they face. The world is much different than when you started your work life, and for most, not for the best.

        April 21, 2014 at 6:40 am |
      • Reflecto

        Spoken like someone living the good life at the expense of their grandchildren.

        April 21, 2014 at 6:45 am |
      • Frank

        And everyone whining about not having any prosperity or hope. Ill bet they all voted for Obama, a socialist who is regulating our country out of business!

        April 21, 2014 at 7:18 am |
      • apelpicker

        I came to the US in 1959 as a legal Immigrant. My first job as a certified machine builder paid 1.50 hr. Later I graduated from UMASS Amherst with a degree in Engineering. My first job as an engineer paid 1350 month. Life in AMerica was more in balance than it is today. Greed and materialism ( big business ) has ruined this country for many generations. Corrupt Government on all levels has given America the final kick in the back. Politicians have deceived the public and have ruined what ones was a great Nation. Now, I am going back to my country because America is too dangerous for me.

        April 21, 2014 at 7:36 am |
      • Mike

        Greg, you missed it. Even the best of us get laid off after 4 or 5 years, and the down times kill retirement savings

        April 21, 2014 at 7:36 am |
      • johno54

        Your reply says it all. "I got my pound of flesh" and as you have stated "FU" such insensitivity is why we have been left behind. We will soon become the appendix of the world and let it be clear it has nothing to do with Obama but with the fact that America has become so insular so narrow minded so sloven in its thoughts and philosophies that self serving utterances like your has become the norm.
        The land of the brave is now the land of the coward. Where we no longer care about the least among us. We now embrace the likes of a Bundy as a folk hero. This is the same nation that dealt with the likes of Bonnie and Clyde, Al Capone, The Costa Nostra etc. This is the same nation that through its magnanimity was able to embrace former member's of the Reich and get to the moon.
        Our perspectives has become too menial. It has being given over to filthy lucre and the troding into the mire of everyday life everyone who is unable to keep up with the throng. We have swapped our heritage for a mess of pottage.

        April 21, 2014 at 7:56 am |
      • ug

        You are so right! I agree with you! you did what has and can still be accomplished and that is good...just tell us how to get rid of the effin gov. in our lives!...I know for starters...don't vote for lib's...we can do better than this than than the azzholes that are there is in office coming this fall!

        April 21, 2014 at 8:11 am |
    • miscreantsall

      How is any of this surprising?

      I'm expecting a lot of rationalizations and pointing fingers from Republicans, Tea Baggers, Libertarians and most Independents.

      That being said, I don't care much for Democrats.

      April 21, 2014 at 7:19 am | Reply
      • Matt

        Money has blurred the lines between Republicans and Democrats for years. It's hard to tell who's really conservative and liberal in our government, as they've been bought and paid for by so many lobbyists. I still laugh at people who consider Obama a socialist/communist. I'm not making an excuse for him, he has been a very poor president, but you gotta provide proof that he's a socialist at this point because I'm not seeing it.

        April 21, 2014 at 7:35 am |
  3. bill n

    Our food supply has been contaminated with harmful chemicals. Acceptable levels does not mean the crap is good for you.

    April 20, 2014 at 11:45 pm | Reply
    • Frank

      Right. Kinda like chemo, it wont kill you right off the bat, it gets you a few years down the road.

      April 21, 2014 at 7:19 am | Reply
  4. Sonny

    For starters, Obama is our President !

    April 20, 2014 at 11:47 pm | Reply
    • hereswhy

      That's a fun comment for a child to make, but a more mature insight would understand that the problems we face began long before Obama and will continue long after. They're systemic and have nothing to do with one political party or another.

      April 20, 2014 at 11:56 pm | Reply
      • ug

        Yes it does...tell me one thing that Osama has done to make our lives better in this country...just one...

        April 21, 2014 at 8:06 am |
    • JRS

      and Bush was President just before!

      April 20, 2014 at 11:56 pm | Reply
    • Thom Burke

      Get real. We live in a country that is still largely in the image Reagan created for us. He initiated the gutting of the middle-class. And it is that socio-economic-political model that has led to the decline of America.

      April 21, 2014 at 12:09 am | Reply
      • Thom Burke


        April 21, 2014 at 12:11 am |
      • eighteencharacters

        Hear, hear.

        April 21, 2014 at 12:43 am |
      • Evelyn Connaway

        Now that is an absolute fact.

        April 21, 2014 at 1:34 am |
      • Abe Bowman

        Say that to the average American even today and their reaction is the same as if you declared your hatred of America. The man is still considered a saint and I continue to believe it will take another 50 years for this country to realize the damage he did.

        April 21, 2014 at 5:07 am |
      • christian

        greed before common sense is the anthem of reaganites

        April 21, 2014 at 5:16 am |
      • george

        Thom, instead of whining you should hop out of the wagon and pull for a while. If you want a recent culprit for what is wrong with this country you should look at LBJ and his false society. His disdain for african americans was matched only by their fool hearted taking of the bait? Sadly you have nearly 99% of african americans vote taken for granted in return of false hope and continued subjugation by a group of true racists holding them in contempt?

        April 21, 2014 at 5:26 am |
    • david marriott

      Yes you are correct! The fact that the U.S. now has more part-time jobs than full-time jobs and the average income has declined over $7,000 per family since 2008, the quality of life here has definitely declined! Obamacare is a prime example of declining quiality of life and its ill affects on the economy.You can't add a record $7 trillion to the national debt in 5 years, like Obama did and expect everything to stay the the same! ...welcome to the new declining america!

      April 21, 2014 at 4:58 am | Reply
      • incredulousmark

        While Obamacare is seriously flawed, most of the countries that ranked higher than the US have socialized medical care in one form or another.

        April 21, 2014 at 7:28 am |
    • blucorsair

      Yes, and some liberals will still try to blame this on Bush! ...they own this! ...LOL

      April 21, 2014 at 5:03 am | Reply
      • christian

        instead of blaming a politician, maybe its time for each individual to be accountable. that means, from business leaders to ditch diggers.

        April 21, 2014 at 5:19 am |
    • george

      What do all these countries have in common is that they are small! Their governments do not attempt to manage the lives of 300,000,000 people. Many are also in such deep debt you'd have to believe there is not intention of ever paying that debt back. Like it or not someone, some country has to produce consumable goods? This is just another example of slanted journalism, by a person with zero sense of what it means to produce something of value.

      April 21, 2014 at 5:19 am | Reply
      • maggieheyoka

        So what is it exactly that you propose we do? We are not small. do you propose disbanding the union and forming 50 small sovreign nations? Good luck to most rural states with that. or do you just propose that government be shrunken to the point of fitting in your bathtub so you can then drown it? Those of us with more than a few years left to live out here are tired on these same trite cliches. We actually favor getting our collective hind ends together to solve our many problems. that takes coordinated effort, and a citizenry that behaves like one, rather than individuals behaving like looters out for themselves and their wallets at any cost. Social Darwinism is flushing us all down the loo.

        April 21, 2014 at 8:21 am |
  5. hereswhy

    I think it's a combination of the suburban sprawl lifestyle that became briefly trendy in the latter 20th century but now is entrenched in our infrastructure, stripping many of their freedom and forcing them to drive everywhere.

    We've also moved from a largely natural diet to one just laden with chemicals and industrial processes to the point that most people aren't actually eating food anymore. People overeat as well, particularly in the deep South.

    April 20, 2014 at 11:54 pm | Reply
    • JRS

      Those are some well thought out ideas, but it's also that half the country spits out socialist scare tactics (as if we're talking about Soviet era communism) anytime there is an effiort to progress the country. Most of the countries ahead of the US are those 'evil' socialist ones ...like Ireland, Britain. The anti-progress, anti-everything party wants to drive us back a few centuries, It's all false propaganda. .just because they have a few more national programs, doesn't make them socialist ..they are plenty capitalist too. By having national health care, that dorsn't mean US is a socialist nation. In that case, we should privatize public education – many people don't have kids and have to pay for it via taxes.

      April 21, 2014 at 12:07 am | Reply
      • Evelyn Connaway

        Another Absolute FACT........

        April 21, 2014 at 1:38 am |
      • Paul

        All, very good points, but I believe it comes right down to total mismanagement of tax payers money. How could a country so close to Canada on a map and be pretty close in social values, yet be SO far off on a simple thing such as medicalcare?The politicians hired, are simply looking out for number one and not the actual country. Can't imagine that's what the founding fathers had in mind 250 years into a country. So sad.

        April 21, 2014 at 2:29 am |
      • Marlena

        If you're referring to all those bankrupt countries in europe, then we have progressed further ahead of them thanks to our progressive president (Obama), who will easily double our national deficit by the time he leaves office?

        April 21, 2014 at 5:08 am |
      • christian

        I dont mind paying taxes at all. I just wish that I saw some of the results beyod the basics. Our infrastructure is crumbling before our eyes

        April 21, 2014 at 5:22 am |
    • Mark

      I completely agree with your points. We've become one big drive thru. And with everyone working so much overtime, and limited vacation days, it's a toxic environment.

      April 21, 2014 at 1:27 am | Reply
  6. virginia

    managers can't even support their families on their salaries...shameful how all the business owners have brought the nation down to its ne, by not providing employees a fair living wage.

    April 21, 2014 at 12:00 am | Reply
    • Algore

      "Fair" is value for value and two private parties bargaining for such.

      April 21, 2014 at 12:16 am | Reply
  7. virginia

    rise the minimal wages to 15.00 per hour and get a better income for those with a higher education degree like it was back on the 1980's ever one was doing better back then..

    April 21, 2014 at 12:03 am | Reply
    • Algore

      People did well in the 1980s in part because we temporarily stopped raising the minimum wage. One should be paid for the value one produces.

      April 21, 2014 at 12:08 am | Reply
      • FKell

        Because we all know that a CEO produces 1000x more than the person actually doing the work...

        April 21, 2014 at 1:06 am |
    • AlfredHussein

      Why stop at $15? Let's make it $30. Then the people struggling to get by can actually save money and plan for a retirement.

      April 21, 2014 at 6:32 am | Reply
  8. Algore

    This is all mildly interesting. However, all you need to know is that the United States ranks a dismal twelfth on the Heritage Foundation's Index of Economic Freedom. And it is Democrats who are hellbent on displacing last place North Korea. So my advice: recognize that man-made global warming is a hoax, slash regulatory red-tape, don't transfer wealth to the shiftless, and cut taxes.

    April 21, 2014 at 12:03 am | Reply
    • cxm

      Heritage Foundation...now THAT'S an unbiased source. Trying to use anything they say as proof that liberal ideas are a bad idea is like trusting drug dealers to tell you that the drug they're selling is bad for you.

      April 21, 2014 at 12:58 am | Reply
      • Evelyn Connaway

        I agree with you and when they put DeMint as their poster boy, they are not worth watching.. They and all the other GOP follows are really on a roll to try and down our President Barack Obama. They are in such a fog, they think it is still 2012 and he didn't win his second term yet, so they still fight on.

        April 21, 2014 at 1:57 am |
    • Steve

      The only hoax is the heritage foundation and the Fox channel spewing lies 24 hours a day. Your so-called freedom is what killed our economy and gutted the middle class, letting the oligarchs ship jobs overseas while taking no responsibility for their actions. You have destroyed our democracy and replaced it with an oligarchy where anyone, any country, any corporation can buy any election.

      April 21, 2014 at 1:07 am | Reply
      • Evelyn Connaway

        Actually, we have been having really big AUCTIONS NOT ELECTIONS since 2010. And this one coming up is a really, really, big one.

        April 21, 2014 at 2:02 am |
      • AlfredHussein

        You got that right. Unions have contributed more $$$ to politics than any other corporation. They were 4 of the top 5 in the last election cycle. And now you have that guy promises $100m to Obama....sick!

        April 21, 2014 at 6:35 am |
      • maggieheyoka

        I often see posters comparing the collective contributions of unions to those of a single corporation or oligarch who, sadly for them do not seem to realize they are making a false comparison. But then, I guess it shouldn't be surprising as we don't invest in educating our young in critical reasoning here in the US.

        April 21, 2014 at 8:26 am |
    • reasonbeforefaith

      You must be joking. Right? How is acting like a little fascist dictator going to elevate you, let alone build a society that functions. Heritage Foundation? Get in line behind all of the other petty think-tanks that peddle dime store ideologies. The measures that you suggest Algore are hilarious in the fact that they hurt most of the people who support them. The people who are helped by amateur free market enthusiasts like yourself laugh all the way to the bank while you subsist on the scraps they throw under the table. And the shiftless guy you hate so much, he's your countryman, not your enemy.

      April 21, 2014 at 1:17 am | Reply
      • Algore

        Well reasonbeforefaith, I can see that I won't be able to coax you to the right side. Therefore, the only thing I shall take exception to here is your characterization of my feelings towards the shiftless. I don't hate them, but I do have a problem when they vote for Democrats who promise to appropriate the fruits of others' labor for their benefit. But I really take a dim view of those Democrats who try their level best to convince our countrymen that it is somehow honorable to be on the public dole.

        April 21, 2014 at 9:31 am |
      • reasonbeforefaith

        @Algore, so you don't take exception to being called a fascist? On the point regarding people on the doll, I quite agree that there is a culture of dependence that is sapping the strength of many economies in our world. I think that people should work, and work hard, even at jobs they don't like. What I see is a knee jerk reaction that lumps the truly needy in with what you call the shiftless. This generalization allows people to forget that with each passing day there are more and more people who have run out of options and are truly needy. Many are simply needy for a job so they can feed their families. The Left or Right, there are universal underlying factors that create a society where scarcity either makes you poor, or makes you scared to part with even a fraction of your wealth for fear of being poor. We are all in this together, the land of plenty is fading along with the era of cheap oil. We need to work together to figure out how prosperity can be part of everyone's reality, or we will just have to get used to feeling well off only because people around us are less so.

        April 24, 2014 at 12:40 am |
    • Evelyn Connaway

      AH! The Heritage Foundation – good old conservative-republican- tea partier person. Bull.

      April 21, 2014 at 1:46 am | Reply
  9. Thom Burke


    April 21, 2014 at 12:11 am | Reply
  10. cj

    Its a broad sweeping statistic that really isn't of much help.

    Americans eat a diet that is one of the worst in the world, I don't think this is 'breaking news' to most Americans...heck I think most Americans over eat and eat unhealthy because unhealthy foods are one of the few luxuries that are affordable in the country.

    Now maybe some don't understand the ins and outs of GMO's and processed foods, but again, this study is useless in getting that information to anyone.

    April 21, 2014 at 12:19 am | Reply
    • FKell

      When the choice is spending $4 for a meal at McD's vs $8+1.5 hours cooking+cleaning, people will spend the $4 for the dollar menu burgers and drink...

      April 21, 2014 at 1:11 am | Reply
  11. Bob

    Thank Reagan...he did it.

    April 21, 2014 at 12:24 am | Reply
  12. biglio

    The truth is that the US is first in the world in marketing, which is the art of making things look better than they are.
    If you hear Americans they are convinced that they are the best in everything....the reality is that they think they are the best and now the lie is really falling short against reality and the quality of life enjoyed by the rest of the first word.
    the 1%ers, who really enjoy high quality of life are the ones that convince everyone that we all live at the same level....wake up people, wake up...

    April 21, 2014 at 12:35 am | Reply
  13. Jim

    If you are at all serious and really want to understand how the US went off the rails, go to YouTube and watch "The Century Of The Self". The path you have been on simply leads to where you are.

    April 21, 2014 at 12:47 am | Reply
  14. drbrown7451

    Why are we lagging behind? Well, Republicans and Teabaggers and 1 1/2 of the problem. Then you have some control freak Democrats helping them out. Basically greed, stinginess, no focus, and BAD choices.

    April 21, 2014 at 1:02 am | Reply
    • AlfredHussein

      You you mean tea party members or gays? I am never sure when some says tea bangers.

      April 21, 2014 at 6:36 am | Reply
    • AlfredHussein

      You you mean tea party members or gays? I am never sure when some says tea baggers.

      April 21, 2014 at 6:37 am | Reply
  15. Kuron

    What I find interesting is that all those countries mentioned that are better than the USA have universal healthcare and for the most part, are socialistic.

    April 21, 2014 at 1:04 am | Reply
    • JT


      April 21, 2014 at 1:30 am | Reply
    • Evelyn Connaway

      In the United States of America since the beginning, we have elected presidents of one ideology or the other to head our government. But the power of the capitalist very rich men and corporations made the rules, as to how this country would operate. In the 1800's The Working Men's Association started in Europe between several countries and then into the US after the Civil War, by socialist thinking men (later called communism). It was a great idea and good for the working people of the world, sort of share and share alike or 'do unto others as you would have them do unto you' each working person getting his rights and a fair share of his labors with equal pay! We started unions for the working class, to have an association to cover their back, so that each man didn't have to fight the corporations big bosses for a decent salary. As we know that went over like a lead balloon, and was fought tooth and nail by the capitalist powers of the big corporation owners and stockholders and whatever president and congress in session that had the republican of today's type ideology. In 1822 I had an ancestor who said, "Government was not Government for and by the people, it was a Government of favoritism and control by a few." It was true then and it is true now. With Unions, for many years the working class man faired very well in regard to wages and working environments, greed from corporations with lots of corruption fought them all the way. As corporations got richer and they gained more control of politicians of both parties in government by lots of money for perks for favors and the ability to make the laws of our land for the congress to pass, which was for the good of those favored few who were in control, due to the corrupt, greedy, avarice ridden men we elected as president, senators and representatives of 'We the People" what a laugh.
      I have watched this all my life. As the 1% of this nation worked to install the same type of people with the same ideology as they had in every state government, in the federal government, and they became richer, and the richer they became, the more they worked against the working man who was helping them to become richer. They wanted the working man to stay the same, do the labor and not succeed to a higher level in life. After FDR, we pulled out of the depression, even with WW II, we kept coming back . Of course with the 'Profits of War' made by the corporations and paid for by our taxes by the government, the 1% and corporations of capitalist who run our country became richer and richer and had more money to by more corrupt and greedy men to train in the ways to take over our country. I watched the Bush family evolve into politics with various groups of men, especially in Texas politics, then GHW Bush into the CIA. They hated JFK who had money on his side with a different ideology, he became president, but on the second go around, he had to be gotten rid of, as he was fighting for the working class of people of all races and they couldn't have that. More presidents of both stripes, more wars and more 'profits from wars' to the 1% and corporations. Then Reagan, an ex-democrat who couldn't make up his mind which direction he wanted to go, until he got the best offer of money, and as an actor by profession, who could follow the script they gave him and GHW Bush as VP and an ex-CIA ,
      who still knew how to manipulate powers internationally, they started our downfall again – getting rid of the working man's backup, the Unions, and the middle class down to the lower middle class. Eight years, then Bush 4 years of the same thing, then Clinton for 8 years and we started picking back up. Then we had the Village Idiot ex-governor of TX chosen by that favored few in control to be the next president, he didn't win, but that didn't matter, our last word on LAW, the Supreme Court – who by the way were put in their positions by the favored few who were in control, installed George W. Bush as president, who did the bidding of the men who rule and run our country. The working people lost again, many being part of the military who also lost their life or came back all broken physically in body and mind beyond repair, while again the 1%, corporations , stockholders, president GW Bush and all his cohorts again reaped the 'profits of war', paid by taxes of our government. All still living in luxury and pretending to do good works while sitting on their butts, while people suffer all over this country, that their ancestors help make. One thing else I will say,
      We are not a Christian nation, as people keep saying and it wasn't built on Christian principles. Our history is not a nice one and if we don't put a stop to the take over of those 1%, corporations owners, stockholders and the favored few in control, things will get even worse.

      April 21, 2014 at 3:47 am | Reply
  16. Yea

    Its that we have a so do mite for president.

    April 21, 2014 at 1:21 am | Reply
  17. JT

    It's great to live in Canada where we have universal health care, gun controls, a true separation of Church and State, and a socialist heart.

    April 21, 2014 at 1:28 am | Reply
    • maggieheyoka

      I'd reply with something pithy but my face is green from the envy I am choking on. 😉

      April 21, 2014 at 8:33 am | Reply
  18. ACL

    Prof Michael Porter created a good index, no doubt, but he is wrong in asserting that the US is receding because he feels so. He assumes the US was a great place before for everybody, which is not proved by facts. Except for some periods of wars, most of Europe would be placed above the US, if measured the same way. And Switzerland, who wasn't conquered in 500 years, probably would rank very high for a long time. Dr Porter didn't check any facts based on serious historical research when doing these assertions, just emotional negative talk.

    April 21, 2014 at 2:31 am | Reply
  19. I'm just sayin

    America is far too ignorant to change, or to see the world for what it really is. American's hear about other first world nations having free healthcare, free college tuition, etc, and they call them socialist and turn them into an enemy. Americans see that the CEOs of their corporations are making, quite literally, 10,000 times what their employees make...and then they protest and rally against reigning in these insane wages for CEOs (something most modern countries have done, by the way). But at the same time, they won't even support raising the minimum wage for themselves? hahaha. That is a level of foolishness that is unmatched anywhere. You people are literally on the border of complete stupidity.

    This country has poisoned itself with hatred, greed, and stupidity. There is no escape. The elevator is falling to the bottom. You'll have a second chance once you hit rock bottom and wake up to the reality of this ridiculous dream you've convinced yourself is real.

    April 21, 2014 at 2:49 am | Reply
  20. Mike H

    Too many guns, poor but expensive healthcare, medieval inequality, gated communities, private schools, racism, fear, greed, ignorance. Then there the bad points such as warmongering, glorifying the military and the police, a distrustful and spying intelligence and security state.

    April 21, 2014 at 3:43 am | Reply
  21. B Sacks

    The US, as far as quality of living, is a dump. The US Govt doesn't care about its citizens, nor do they care if you starve or go broke. There's no real healthcare system, oh but if you call Obamacare "real care", then you're smoking some bad drugs. Being forced to buy overpriced health after being forced to drop your current healthcare coverage is a joke. And then if you cannot afford Obamacare, the IRS will come and get you!

    The jobs outlook and economy is in shambles & has been since 2001.

    And finally, not to mention all the school, mall, church, military base shootings (repeat over and over again) , well the USA from a quality of life point of view is horrible.

    For those if those who think the USA is the best of the cat's meow for qualify of life, you need to wake and smell reality.

    April 21, 2014 at 3:51 am | Reply
    • ug

      It is called...libs suck...

      April 21, 2014 at 8:02 am | Reply
  22. American

    America enslaves its own people for the world's benefit. The world, like a spoiled teenager, in turn hates America. When America collapses, the rest of the world's countries will have to work. It's simply outrageous to hear people from some "neutral" European country with a nominal military, dressed in American brands, criticize the only country preventing Russia from invading.

    April 21, 2014 at 4:17 am | Reply
    • ug

      It is all the libs fault and want to suck up to the moslems and let illegals come into this country to tear it down from where we have worked hard to get it where it was before...now Osama and the rest of the libs want to control our lives...

      April 21, 2014 at 8:01 am | Reply
  23. saggyroy

    I think it is because we have become a theocracy.

    April 21, 2014 at 5:43 am | Reply
  24. Jeff of PEoria

    The biggest reason is you are free to FAIL just as easily as you can SUCCEED. Some people have failure thrust upon them and then some people just FAIL.

    But if you work hard you will do OK. W/ High School educations and a little hard ethical work, you'll do just fine.

    Now if you think the worl OWES you something, you're life will SUCK the rest of your days

    April 21, 2014 at 5:45 am | Reply
    • ug


      April 21, 2014 at 7:59 am | Reply
  25. Daisy Cutter

    I blame the radical Socialist agenda of the Universities and the main stream media to tell us what is " politically correct " or not . It isn't up to the media to tell us what we should believe and feel , yet , when we disagree with that artificial standard we are mocked , ridiculed and ostracized . I blame Obama for beiing in control of that media , it is brain washing and getting us ready for tyranny .

    April 21, 2014 at 5:56 am | Reply
    • ug

      You are right on the money...

      April 21, 2014 at 7:59 am | Reply
  26. Ken

    SO lets see ... a group of liberals at an elitist college comes up with a "ground breaking new Social Progress Index". And the US shows up doing OK in the index, but trailing some countries they really, really like. And why is this a surprise to anyone? This index is of course weighted to make what THEY believe in as important in quality of life. Hence the index was created to give them the answer they wanted .. that the US lags others and must work harder on these items (goal near and dear to liberal hearts) to improve on quality of life. This isn't science. It's more propaganda than anything.

    April 21, 2014 at 6:52 am | Reply
    • ug

      You don't know how right you are on you are...everyone who believes anything cnn or a lib says deserves to live their little parasite life...

      April 21, 2014 at 7:58 am | Reply
  27. humtake

    All measurements do is take away the reality of the situation. America isn't bad at all. The media does measurements on what their readers will click on. Then they sensationalize it to make sure it stays interesting. So they take any report that helps them sensationalize stuff and report on it. America isn't anywhere near as bad as people want to make it sound like. If you look behind these types of measurements and realize there are no apples to apples comparisons, you would easily get a different picture. Our poorest people are better off than the poorest in almost all of those nations at the top of the list. That is proven. But, because there are so many people who aren't poor, measurements like this paint a dismal picture because of the number of people in each category. We aren't perfect. But looking at the real numbers makes the picture a lot less dismal than what they want to report because it doesn't sell.

    April 21, 2014 at 7:08 am | Reply
  28. Frank

    Thats easy. ALL WE DO IS WORK! "If your LUCKY!" You have 2 days off a week for your entire working carrer and 2 weeks of vacation which is really used for sick days and taking care of your family and home.

    So you get out of school and college and go to work and you dont get a break for another 47 years! You have 2 12 hour days of daylight for yourself a week for LIFE! No wonder everyone is committing suicide!

    April 21, 2014 at 7:12 am | Reply
    • ug

      Oh poor little boy has to work to pay the man...you can thank Osama and the rest of the lib regime for your problems...you voted for her so this is what you deserve...LOL!

      April 21, 2014 at 7:56 am | Reply
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