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. JSB

    Lets see we can take 'rankings' that are predetermined to show the US has 'terrible' healthcare by the folks that want to move the US to a governmental controlled healthcare system... etc and then wonder why the US 'has terrible' healthcare and ranks poorly on a set of indices that are designed to make use of 'doctored' data to show the US doesn't do well. It is transparent and just as dishonest as those surveys designed to show that the US is perfect in every way.

    Sorry simply not buying the crap this group is selling.

    April 20, 2014 at 1:06 pm | Reply
    • liz

      Te US had terrible healthcare because tens of millions of people cannot go to the doctor or afford preventive medications.

      April 20, 2014 at 1:16 pm | Reply
      • Brian

        You are confusing the issue. Health insurance coverage and quality of health care are not the same thing. You could have 100% insurance coverage and still have terrible heath care outcomes and you could also have 0% insurance coverage and great outcomes. So what exactly are we measuring?

        April 20, 2014 at 1:26 pm |
      • b2bliving

        Most of the doctors in US are just as greedy...dont deserve the respect anymore that they once did...how can the hospitals charge whatever they fancy ? Why they cannot be regulated ?

        April 20, 2014 at 1:30 pm |
      • RobS

        Studies have repeatedly demonstrated that preventative medicine as used on an individual basis (regular check-up, etc) has little or no impact on health The major determinant is behavioral patterns – smoking, exercise, overeating.

        April 20, 2014 at 1:35 pm |
      • Frisco RN

        Measurements for outcomes would include infant mortality, readmission rates for selected diseases, risk adjusted mortality rates and the like. When you look at the U.S. compared to other countries we are typically around 35 to 50 on most measures while dollars spent is number one. It's time to stop fooling ourselves. While we may have the best equipment and abilities, those parts have created pockets of great care and not a great system.

        April 20, 2014 at 2:14 pm |
      • Mary

        b2bliving, I'm curious to know why you think doctors are so greedy when you also say that hospitals overcharge. Do you think doctors are the ones that set the prices and keep the money? Do you know how medicare and medicaid fees are set?

        April 20, 2014 at 2:19 pm |
      • skytag

        RobS: The fact that liz used the term "preventive medications" should tell you she wasn't talking about checkups. It's a nonstandard term, but I interpret it as referring to medications used to manage chronic conditions such as asthma, high blood pressure, diabetes, and many other conditions where monitoring and medication can improve someone's health.

        Delivering this kind of primary care is a major area in which our system underperforms compared to the best systems out there.

        April 20, 2014 at 2:31 pm |
      • skytag

        Brian, I don't see a basis for your claim since liz doesn't say anything about insurance.

        April 20, 2014 at 2:33 pm |
      • schedulerLewis

        Liz, READ before you comment.

        April 20, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
    • dcb

      well it's pretty obvious where you fit in the socio economic scale. no problems up there in rarefied 1% land.

      April 20, 2014 at 1:28 pm | Reply
      • grumpy0ldman

        You would think that but the numbers don't support it. A surprising number of the teapublicans are poor or lower middle class. They have been brainwashed to ignore reality and vote against their own interests. Interesting that he talks about the preconceptions of the people doing the study while making it clear to the rest of us that he is blinded by his own.

        April 20, 2014 at 1:57 pm |
    • DummieSlayer

      Keep drinking the tea dummy. One day all of you dummies will completely take us down. Land of the Dumb – that is America's problem. People who think they are smart, but really aren't. Way too many of you people out there. I suggest you all shut up and learn from your betters.

      April 20, 2014 at 1:35 pm | Reply
    • skytag

      The fact that you're already making excuses to reject the conclusions without even bothering to look at the data, what they examined or anything else proves pretty conclusively that you don't care about the truth. This is a classic case of being terrified of reality.

      April 20, 2014 at 1:39 pm | Reply
      • Paula Kramer

        My term for people who ignore evidence is "truth definers". They think truth is what they believe. They define truth according to what they believe and they expect everyone else to believe that they know what truth is. They think that rejecting evidence means they are thinking for themselves. I came to these conclusions from online comments to a wide variety of subjects.

        April 20, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
    • skytag

      "Sorry simply not buying the crap this group is selling."

      I understand. You've obviously spent all your intellectual capital on crap some other group is selling.

      April 20, 2014 at 1:43 pm | Reply
    • TakeResponsibility

      The real problem is that people don't work out, eat too much food that isn't good for them, and sit around watching worthless trash on TV. People need to take responsibility for themselves and their kids. Exercise, eat right, and use your brain to gain knowledge. Quit wasting your time on the garbage that corporations are feeding you.

      April 20, 2014 at 1:48 pm | Reply
      • skytag

        As soon as someone say "the" problem, implying there is only one problem, I know he hasn't educated himself about our health care system. Our system has more than one problem.

        April 20, 2014 at 2:36 pm |
    • sadlyperturbed

      You can choose to "not Buy" the information here, but the reality is that, across the board, the US is not the country it once was. From healthcare to the quality of the foods we eat, we lag behind most of the developed world. Pretending you have blinders and don't see reality for what it is would be part of the problem, not a solution of any sort. So go ahead and ignore the reality. You only hurt yourself and everyone around you by doing so.

      April 20, 2014 at 1:49 pm | Reply
      • skytag

        America has suffered from American arrogance and complacency. We were once the best in many areas. That gave rise the arrogant notion that we can't learn anything from any other country. Other countries weren't content with the status quo, so they made efforts to do better while we spend all our time telling ourselves we were not only the best, but that we were so good there was no room for improvement.

        April 20, 2014 at 2:39 pm |
    • janetmermaid

      We spent almost a month in Europe this past summer. We visited 19 countries. ALL OF THEM offer free healthcare to their citizens. Almost all of them also offer free higher education. We are seriously behind the curve in caring about and for our own citizens.

      April 20, 2014 at 1:56 pm | Reply
      • Joe Public

        It's not free. No services are free. The government takes money from it's citizens to pay for these things.

        April 20, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
      • skytag

        Joe, everyone knows it's not really "free." The term is used euphemistically to mean there is little or no out-of-pocket cost to see a doctor. Don't try to deflect from the real point by quibbling about semantics. And, for the record, all of those countries have far lower per capita health care spending than we do.

        April 20, 2014 at 2:41 pm |
      • Joe Public

        You get it, but sadly many don't. I really belive many people think that government money is "free". The real problem with American health care is unrealistic expectations. We spend huge amounts of money to provide futile care at the end of life. This money could be used in much better ways to provide free vaccinations, create health care clinics, etc. without costing more than we're paying now.

        April 20, 2014 at 3:05 pm |
      • Jeff

        There is no free health care. You can pay for it out of pocket, or buy your own insurance, or take a lower salary and have your employer purchase insurance for you, or pay higher taxes and have the government provide it (as in your "free health care "example) etc. One way or the other you pay for your health care.

        April 21, 2014 at 12:35 am |
    • Ann

      If you're rich and need a liver transplant you'll get top notch, world class care. If you've got really good medical coverage you'll get your transplant, but you're family's financial wellbeing is shattered. If you're poor you won't even get basic healthcare (unless you consider stabilization in an ER basic healthcare which rational people do not). I sure hope you're either rich or lucky. Otherwise you're SOL. PS...only a very few wealthy foreigners travel to the US for medical care.

      April 20, 2014 at 2:12 pm | Reply
    • bob

      Sure, it's easy to say it's "crap" especially if because of a failed educational system you don't understand the numbers behind the study.

      April 20, 2014 at 2:12 pm | Reply
      • skytag

        The problem isn't a failed educational system, the problem is brainwashing that makes it impossible for him to accept an unpleasant reality. People like that will use any excuse they can come up with to dismiss information they don't want to accept.

        April 20, 2014 at 2:44 pm |
    • Ccarlos

      What this is is a list on how easy it is to be poor in those nations. Yes in America poverty is hard compared to more socialistic countries such as those of western Europe. But on the flip side it is even more difficult for the average middle class to move up the social ladder in those nations than it is in America. The bottom line is that America in not a nation for the poor but a nation for those with an entrepreneurial spirit and ambition to make themselves rich.

      April 20, 2014 at 2:26 pm | Reply
      • Dr. Zen

        I guess you didn't see the associated studies that show America has the least social class mobility compared to most of Western Europe, Oz, NZ, Canada...

        April 21, 2014 at 1:58 am |
  2. Anon

    Obama, duh.

    April 20, 2014 at 1:10 pm | Reply
    • kingliberal

      Genius comment.

      April 20, 2014 at 1:29 pm | Reply
    • sadlyperturbed

      The haters answer to everything.

      April 20, 2014 at 1:52 pm | Reply
    • Ann

      See above. Well, Duh.

      April 20, 2014 at 2:12 pm | Reply
  3. TheMovieFan

    If the rest of the world had more Tea Party like fools, then there would be more parity.

    April 20, 2014 at 1:12 pm | Reply
  4. Dual Bag

    This apologize for "Anything American" is disgusting.

    April 20, 2014 at 1:14 pm | Reply
    • DummieSlayer

      You sir have your head buried in the sand. If we cannot point out objectively our problems, how can we ever solve them? That this approach coincides with your political beliefs is besides the point.

      April 20, 2014 at 1:34 pm | Reply
    • skytag

      People who value the truth won't disparage a study without even looking at it.

      April 20, 2014 at 1:40 pm | Reply
  5. Bizaaroland

    Billions of dollars of 'propaganda' money has been spent by the usual suspects, in convincing the American people that they live in the greatest place ever, on earth. America is indeed the greatest place, that is as long as you are a member of the 'robber baron' class. But for most of us.. we barely get by. As is inevitable the truth eventually comes out. The Czar didn't get it either.

    "There are three things that cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.

    April 20, 2014 at 1:18 pm | Reply
    • Brian

      Oh, do you "barely get by" with your smartphone and your tablet and you computer and your car with multiple airbags and anti-lock brakes. You know who didn't have those things? Your parents.

      April 20, 2014 at 1:32 pm | Reply
      • sadlyperturbed

        You assume an awful lot. And assuming makes an........... Get it?

        April 20, 2014 at 1:58 pm |
    • Joe Public

      You "barely get by" yet there you sit typing on your computer, enjoying your time off. You should see some of the rest of the world and reset your perception of barely getting by. You are fortunate to live in such a great country.

      April 20, 2014 at 2:44 pm | Reply
      • Joe Public

        That's also rather humerous that you would quote the Buddha. Buddhism teaches taking responsibility for your own life, not blaming other's for your situation in life.

        April 20, 2014 at 2:51 pm |
    • Dale

      The truth is irrelevant in political correctness, money, power and religion.

      April 20, 2014 at 3:27 pm | Reply
  6. jdalco

    We spend the most but are not number 1 so the Socialist answer is to spend more and grow the government more because if it didn't work before we just need to do the same thing but harder right? we use to be number one across the board then we let the social progressives in and look a the mess. Common core in our schools is crashing our scores, Obama is running up insurance rates and causing further cost increases in our healthcare. More government regulations preventing job growth and the wage increases that go with a low unemployment rate. We are doing this to ourselves by trying to be like Europe. . . time to go back to basic American principles of buy American, work hard and personal responsibility. Time to shrink the .gov, the welfare state, and get the Illegals out of here.

    April 20, 2014 at 1:19 pm | Reply
    • John

      Fox talking points, nothing more.

      April 20, 2014 at 1:36 pm | Reply
      • Dean

        What "talking point" is not true?

        April 20, 2014 at 1:43 pm |
      • skytag

        Dean: Pretty much everything he said is not true. If you don't know that you have only to blame for your ignorance. For example, his claim that "the Socialist answer is to spend more and grow the government more" is just crap. First, there is no "Socialist" answer. He's just using the word Socialist because it evokes a negative emotional reaction.

        In point of fact, we could have a more cost effective health care system that covers everyone and produces better outcomes with no more and probably less government involvement than we have now with the proper reforms. For example, if we had a single-payer system we'd get rid of Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP, the VA health care system, the Indian Health Service, county health clinics and so on. They would all be replaced by one agency that paid the private providers we have now. Single-payer is basically a single health insurance company run by the government that would eliminate the vast majority of the estimated $400 billion we currently spend on various aspects of administering private health insurance.

        Then he sarcastically asks, "because if it didn't work before we just need to do the same thing but harder right?" Except that we've never done it before. In point of fact, his kind want us to keep doing what we've been doing, but harder.

        April 20, 2014 at 1:58 pm |
    • Kim W

      I would like to know where you're going to "buy American?" Certainly not at Walmart.

      April 20, 2014 at 1:51 pm | Reply
    • sadlyperturbed

      The answer to our no longer being the best at anything couldn't possibly be all the cuts to the programs which made America great to begin with. No, that couldn't be it. Of course our children still do the best in schools even though we have cut spending on education over and over again. Absolutely. You know best. (/sarcasm)

      April 20, 2014 at 1:55 pm | Reply
    • skytag

      "causing further cost increases in our healthcare"

      The cost of health care is rising more slowly now than it was 10 years ago under Bush.

      From 2008 to 2013, premiums rose by an average of 5.8 percent per year. But between 1999 and 2008, premiums rose by an average of 13.2 percent a year - in other words, twice as fast as premiums rose under Obama. — PolitiFact

      April 20, 2014 at 2:00 pm | Reply
  7. David Duvall

    While the rest of the World moved toward scientific methods and principles for the delivery of social goods, services, education, etc... – the U.S.A. has moved away from science and uses a political method that is NOT based upon sound scientific principles.

    April 20, 2014 at 1:31 pm | Reply
  8. jamesnyc

    Horse Hockey. Each of these "better" countries don't have 330 million people to take care of. They aren't asked again and again to be the "world's police". They aren't made the targets of terrorists as much as we are.
    We aren't perfect by any means but if you are going to compare to a country, at least compare us to a country with as many nationalities and people as we have.

    April 20, 2014 at 1:33 pm | Reply
    • skytag

      This is nothing but a desperate attempt to make excuses for dismissing something you don't like hearing.

      April 20, 2014 at 2:25 pm | Reply
    • Canuck

      Neither is a valid argument. The United States acts ONLY in its own interests, the same as everyone else.

      The United States is greatly blessed geopolitically and for this reason you are the world's largest economy – which means you have interests in many parts of the world. Don't kid yourself that you were/are in Iraq and Afghanistan and not in Syria because you are great humanitarians – you have vital interests in the Persian Gulf and not in the Levant. You have those wide interests because of your ability to project power around the world (bought with hundreds of thousands of war dead) and the economic benefits that come with that ability. You have the military budget that you do because your economy is that large and based on trade. In other words, you have the money to make this happen and keep it (most of the talk about your debt is nonsense, but it resonates with people so the politicians keep at it).

      At the end of the day though, all of this has bought you the uncontested right to decide how you run your government. As an outsider, it would appear to me that you manage your foreign affairs in such a way as to maximize trade (as is your right). You're somewhat ham-fisted with your foreign policy, but that's because you can be. Encounters with U.S. foreign policy that are transitory events in the United States and have little domestic impact outside of politics (think Vietnam, Iraq, Korea, Cuba, much of Latin America), are defining events in the other country's history. Domestically though (speaking again as an outsider, but a friendly one), your government is organized in a way that defends entrenched interests. Those interests don't intend to keep others down, but the effects are very clear by this survey.

      Now as to this survey specifically, you can't argue Micheal Porter's academic integrity – if you're academically inclined AT ALL, you know who this guy is and his contribution. He's a heavyweight and not a liberal shill. He has invited you to have a real conversation about what kind of country you want – I suggest you take it. I'd love that opportunity.

      April 20, 2014 at 2:36 pm | Reply
  9. d. lewis

    We are way down in the rankings because we have a political process that does not reflect the will, or wants, of the voters. We also have no good news media to focus on the people's concerns, just corporate concerns. An example of that is that jobs are supposed to be the #1 issue, yet there is no talk of jobs on the media, or by politicians. The republicans have no plan for jobs, other than more of the same economic policies that caused the problems, more supply side economics that has proven to be a dismal failure, along with more bad trade deals. The democrats have no plan for jobs either, even though it's the #1 issue. If anything, their plan is to bring in more workers with another amnesty, which will add millions to the already huge worker surplus. What we have is a campaign for elected Offices, like it was one of those reality shows, or talent shows. The best voters can do is to vote for candidates that are not right wing extremist, they can't have the issue of jobs addressed in a major election. Right now we should be scrutinizing two separate plans put on the table by republicans and another by democrats, the media should be giving every waking hour into reporting on, analyzing every little detail, down to the smallest detail, instead of focusing on things that don't even involve the US. Instead, we have another election about nothing.

    April 20, 2014 at 1:34 pm | Reply
    • skytag

      The voters are by and large woefully ignorant about every issue. Doing what they want wouldn't solve any of our problems and would probably make things worse.

      April 20, 2014 at 2:26 pm | Reply
  10. TakeResponsibility

    The problem comes directly from corporations and what they are selling to people in our country. Encouraging people to be lazy and blind to the real problems. Eat our junk food because we make money off of it. Watch our reality shows and don't stay informed on the real problems we have in the country and world. Glorify the rich, even though it is stealing money from yourself. Their real message – As long as you are eating junk food, wasting your time on "reality" shows, and spending money on things you don't really need, you and everybody else in the world will be happy. Sorry, but that is a recipe for disaster. Our country is falling apart. If people don't start taking responsibility for themselves and their kids; and demanding more from our government and corporations, we are headed towards the downfall of the U.S.

    April 20, 2014 at 1:40 pm | Reply
  11. MIke C

    If the quality of life is so bad in the U.S., why do from elsewhere come to the U.S.?

    April 20, 2014 at 1:42 pm | Reply
    • skytag

      The notion that everyone in the world wants to come here is a fairytale. The people who want to come here are in countries where the quality of life is crap, either because of political oppression or terrible economic conditions. People in Australia, New Zealand, France, the U.K., Switzerland and a host of other developed countries are not interested in coming here.

      April 20, 2014 at 1:46 pm | Reply
      • Dean

        But they do come here for healthcare. Never hear of anyone going to France for a heart transplant.

        April 20, 2014 at 1:49 pm |
      • DW007

        Perhaps, but each of those countries can enjoy their daily lives a little more knowing that the powerful US military is their ultimate security blanket, and they don't pay a dime for it. New Zealand? Really? On a good day, our Salvation Army could probably kick their ass. If not for the presence of the US in the Pacific, New Zealand is road kill to an expansion-minded China or Russia. This also works in reverse. Not many Americans want to give up their lives in the USA to live in the UK or France, although each are great allies and countries with rich histories & a great place to visit. I've never heard the words, "The USA sucks, lets move to France".

        April 20, 2014 at 2:13 pm |
      • CB

        Dean, do a little research on medical tourism. People do travel to the US for medical treatment, but the numbers of Americans that are going to another country for procedures outnumbers them by a factor of ten. That is per a 2008 McKinsey report. It has probably only gotten worse since then.

        April 20, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
      • Van H.

        Dean wrote :"But they do come here for healthcare. Never hear of anyone going to France for a heart transplant."
        To Dean :


        "Michael Shopenn’s surgery in 2007 would have cost close to $100,000 in the United States. But it cost just $13,660 — including all medicine, doctors’ fees and round-trip airfare — at a private hospital in Torhout, Belgium

        “In the past few years, Americans are definitely more willing to go overseas and now appreciate that there is quality there, whereas seven years ago they didn’t have that perception,” said Jonathan Edelheit, the chief executive of the Medical Tourism Association, an industry group that supports and facilitates such travel.

        People from the East Coast tend to head to Europe, while many from the West Coast go to Asian countries like South Korea or Thailand, Mr. Stumpf-Biro said. “The numbers are really growing because of the costs in the U.S.,” he added, “but the main driving factor is quality and a common background.”

        Dr. Fabrice Gaudot, an orthopedist with a private practice in Paris, said that his clinic treated a lot of foreigners and that the total price for a hip replacement was about $13,000, which he called expensive by French standards. Implant prices are about one-fifth as much in France as in the United States, he said "



        "Ouch! Woman stung by $83,046 bill after she rushed to ER unable to breathe after scorpion bite... and was given an antivenom that costs just $100 in Mexico."

        April 20, 2014 at 3:07 pm |
    • jr

      They certainly don't come here to learn English from you. They might come here from places that are even worse than here. And all those countries that rank higher than us have immigrants going there also.

      April 20, 2014 at 1:58 pm | Reply
  12. Joseph Martinez

    Greed is why America has fallen behind.

    April 20, 2014 at 1:46 pm | Reply
    • skytag

      I don't phrase it that way, but basically I agree. Somewhere in our history, and I believe it was in the decades following WWII, America decided the Declaration of Independence was wrong and that the three unalienable rights are actually life, liberty, and the pursuit of unlimited amounts of wealth and its symbols, material possessions. It's a cancer is that it has eaten away at Americans regardless of economic status.

      April 20, 2014 at 2:15 pm | Reply
  13. DW007

    Even if these numbers are completely accurate, they clearly show that American's opinions of themselves may be rooted more in past history, patriotism and wishful thinking. Complacency is cancer when you are a world leader. The USA is not a manufacturing country anymore. There is reason to be concerned at the depletion of our middle class. Money flows through the USA but it seems to concentrate more with big corporations than with average citizens. This survey serves a vital role in that it is a scientific, valid look at the world through different measuring sticks. We are imperfect and improvement will only follow once we're aware of it. That being said, and in light of the huge difference in military spending, the USA is first on every other country's speed dial when you're about to be invaded. We provide aid & assistance worldwide, including the recent MA370 disappearance. Perhaps because our leaders have prioritized military spending, perhaps because it's something we're very good at, or perhaps because US interests are more spread around the globe, we remain the only true military superpower. But the payoff is increased security, not necessarily jobs or a better quality of life for our citizens. No country, Sweden, Switzerland or any other is problem-free. The USA remains a great country but a reality-check like this survey provides, can only help make it greater.

    April 20, 2014 at 1:46 pm | Reply
  14. Dean

    Wondering what the numbers would be if we removed all the illegal aliens and all those who won't work because the government owes them.

    April 20, 2014 at 1:47 pm | Reply
    • skytag

      Translation: "I'd really like to blame this on illegal aliens."

      I think you'd be disappointed. I'm no fan or defender of illegals, but we have many problems here that can't be attributed to illegals. You're just looking for a scapegoat.

      April 20, 2014 at 2:03 pm | Reply
  15. Mike Adelman

    Interesting, but the reasons for our failures need to be examined. Right now it looks like we would rank last on the ROI (taxes) of our Federal Government.

    April 20, 2014 at 1:47 pm | Reply
  16. Neal Weaver

    Opium made China behind for 100 years; Marijuana will do the same to U.S.

    April 20, 2014 at 1:49 pm | Reply
  17. Neal Weaver

    Opium made China behind for 100 years; Marijuana will do the same to US.

    April 20, 2014 at 1:49 pm | Reply
    • Reality

      It's not only Marijuana, it is everything else our young and mid generation is lost doing...Little good! we've lost context of what is important in life, what really matters and what is trivial and unimportant. Kids are worried mostly about becoming NFL stars and American idols. There is no discipline, nobody wants to work for a goal.. Everything is instant gratification and happens in hours or days not months or years ... Hollywood fantasy has taken over! Basic concept of family has almost disappeared and there are no principles, morals and values been driven into the upbringing of youngsters, where do you think kids will end as adults? We are told everyday how great of a Country we are, but do nothing individually to have any merits. There are Billions of Dollars changing hands daily (very few hands) and most people in our own country can barely make it yet we see ourselves as the richest and most powerful country in the world! We need to go back to what matters to us individually and as a family and shelter from the media that wants us to believe our priorities are what pays for their adds... We need substance.

      April 20, 2014 at 2:21 pm | Reply
  18. Derpa Derp Derp

    Most are missing the big picture. It doesn't matter how much we get paid or how much we spend when assets are played with so freely and there's no regulation to control worth. It's a paradise for those who know how to play the market. The rest are just slaves to those who can. Those who can will continue to play with your assets while they live in some other country.

    Pretty sad that an illegal with more dreams and loyalty to our very own country can have a bigger benefit than us who have lost all hope for what we could stand for. What we need is to restart our hopes and dreams. We're not dreaming big enough. We've settled for what we're given when we should be striving for what we can get. America was never meant to be just a place you live in, it was a place you could come to do the things you couldn't nowhere else.

    There's just not enough looking back. We've learned nothing, we just think we have. Our forefathers are rolling in their graves for the lost opportunities of what should be the greatest nation on earth. If only we'd understand, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country"

    April 20, 2014 at 1:50 pm | Reply
  19. georgew444

    Aside from America's greater diversity compared with countries like Iceland and Switzerland, i wonder if the reason our health care system doesn't deliver more bang for the buck is that we have all these intermediaries (private businesses), like insurance companies and managed care, that sap money out of the system. Do the countries that perform better use a one-payer system?

    April 20, 2014 at 1:52 pm | Reply
    • Hammond Ecks

      A huge number of intermediaries and fragmented delivery are ABSOLUTELY a reason other countries spend less for better outcomes. The Wall Street Journal, hardly a bastion of left-wing looniness, calculated that the US loses about 30¢ out of every private healthcare dollar to administrative overhead. That's far higher than the VA, Medicare, or any other centralized system regardless of any other faults they may have. To cite an example outside of the US, Germany covers every citizen at a per-capita cost of something like 60% of what's spent here and they have better outcomes.

      April 20, 2014 at 3:14 pm | Reply
  20. sam

    Yes,I agree with professor porter everybody caught and past us with many miles...once Detroit the auto capital..now is bankrupt .... what a shame..we are living in the past..past tense..we send $ billions to Ukraine..unbelievable ...the American voter needs to wakeup and clean house .. those politicians who advocate foreign aid needs to move out and live in that country–they might even be elected there..

    April 20, 2014 at 1:54 pm | Reply
    • georgew444

      Actually, the real problem is the politicians who approve untenable plans (like generous pensions) to get elected, and then have NO responsibility years later when they are out of office and the plans fall short.

      April 20, 2014 at 1:56 pm | Reply
  21. georgew444

    I just read some of the other comments and can't believe how much anger people have. Isn't anybody looking for solutions?

    April 20, 2014 at 1:54 pm | Reply
  22. Thomas Simpson

    The answers to why America is floundering are found in Obama and his destructive policies which have hamstrung our country! Nothing will change until this unqualified bumbling fool is gone from office along with his wealth redistribution administration.

    April 20, 2014 at 1:55 pm | Reply
    • Derpa Derp Derp

      News flash, Thomas. Things have been going down hill for a while now. Scapegoating doesn't change anything. We're in this mess long after Obama or any other fool in office leaves.

      April 20, 2014 at 2:00 pm | Reply
    • skytag

      What a load of conservative talk radio malarkey.

      April 20, 2014 at 2:12 pm | Reply
  23. janetmermaid

    "How US is lagging on quality of life" can be answered with a one-word answer: Republicans.

    The party of:
    anti-marriage equality
    anti-women's rights
    corporate greed
    wage disparity
    profits above ALL else

    April 20, 2014 at 1:59 pm | Reply
    • Grinning Libber

      Ie the GOP

      April 20, 2014 at 2:08 pm | Reply
  24. H. Alvarez

    You program is always interesting cause you bring subjects never talked about in other shows . But today's first guest alarmed me with the information he provided about US position in the world as compared to other countries. He was suggesting that Cuba is ahead of the United States in the access to knowledge?? INCREDIBLE.!! What a misinformation! I have lived more time there than here , so I know Cuba's reality better than him and what he gave as a proven reality is far from the truth. And that Italy is also among the best countries regarding health care? AMAZING!! What were the basis, the data taken into account for this research? To be honest with you, I would put into a BIG question mark the entire report.

    April 20, 2014 at 2:00 pm | Reply
    • skytag

      I'm glad you say you'd want to look at the study and see how they came to their conclusions. Although I don't believe Cubans have greater access to knowledge, I could believe they actually access more knowledge. Americans don't seem to care much about being informed; they are content just to have opinions, and much of what they "know" isn't true. Having access to information doesn't mean you're actually accessing it.

      April 20, 2014 at 2:21 pm | Reply
  25. chrissy

    Lmao @ RZ its only because of a nasty little 3 letter slang word that starts and ends with "t!" Otherwise there wouldnt be an issue on here spelling CONST I TUTION.

    April 20, 2014 at 2:07 pm | Reply
    • ✠RZ✠

      OMG! I am such a boob.

      April 20, 2014 at 5:05 pm | Reply
  26. lbmiller2004

    Interesting Data, However. I have been a recipient of socialized medicine in NZ & it did not work in my favor nor for many other Kiwis… at least not for the working class paying high taxes to carry the government beneficiaries of our money. Waiting lists for health procedures are long, Services, practice, & technology in most facilities border on 3rd world. People there still die of cancer that could have been cured, no fault of the pt,. Health care in NZ is questionable, but those living within that system don’t see it’s downfall as well as those who have worked in healthcare systems in the US.
    Additionally a note of interest about NZ .
    “There's dire predictions about the future of the New Zealand economy from heavyweight financial analysts

    Forbes is predicting our economic bubble will soon pop, as a result of rising interest rates, which will put pressure on our property and credit bubbles.
    It's listed twelve reasons why our economy shouldn't be seen as a safe haven, including property prices that have doubled since 2004, making us the third most overvalued market in the world”.

    April 20, 2014 at 2:07 pm | Reply
  27. skytag

    Many of the comments posted here make one reason we aren't doing better very clear. These are the comments in which people categorically deny the validity of the study's results even though they haven't looked at the study to examine the data or methodology.

    Nothing says you're closed-minded like dismissing information without even looking at it simply because it doesn't match what you want to believe. If you want to be the best at something you have to be willing to evaluate your performance objectively. If you close your eyes, stick your fingers in your ears and chant "We're the best" all the time, sooner or later you won't be the best anymore.

    April 20, 2014 at 2:10 pm | Reply
  28. gfdsgfd

    N...s is why America has fallen behind

    April 20, 2014 at 2:14 pm | Reply
    • skytag

      None of the causes start with an "n" or end with an "s." But ignorance like yours has been one of them.

      April 20, 2014 at 2:17 pm | Reply
    • my10cents

      Please go troll somewhere else.

      April 20, 2014 at 2:24 pm | Reply
  29. Fish

    The answer to the question is greed. Since 1999 America has experienced an attack by Wall Street of unprecedented greed not seen since 1933!!! As they repealed parts of the New Deal which protected our bank accounts and prevented risk taking with our deposits and allowed them to force taxpayers to cover their trading losses via the FDIC, our nation has entered an era of perpetual bailouts which will eventually collapse our economy once again. If we continue ignoring this situation it will eventually become irreversible as the greed cannot be broken. Our only hope is to pass SB 1282 ASAP!!!

    April 20, 2014 at 2:23 pm | Reply
  30. Observer

    Show me a society as focused on $$$$$ and I'll show you a society with the same quality of life problems.

    April 20, 2014 at 2:26 pm | Reply
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