US is No.1 in these 'not-so-great' categories

Jul 6, 2011

Baltimore, Maryland

You will not find today's Daily Reckoning much to your liking. Because it creeps upon an idea that will probably make you feel uncomfortable. At least, that is the effect it has on us.

But first, the latest news from the world of money.

Yesterday, the Dow fell 12 points. Gold shot up $30. And oil is headed back towards $100.

Gold refuses to go down. Stocks refuse to go up. But over the last ten years, gold has gone up big-time, while stocks have gone nowhere.

Why? Because America topped out in 1999.

We went to church on Sunday. The church was built in the 1860s by a group of Maryland Episcopalian planters who were breaking away from a pro-Union parish. Physically, it is a marvelous example of 'carpenter gothic' architecture from the mid-19th century.

Since we had been living in Europe for the last 15 years, we had few opportunities to attend our local church. But it once played an important role in our lives. Our family went every Sunday, and your editor was an altar boy for several years.

So, he put on his Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes -- coat and tie -- on Sunday morning, returning to the church he knew as a child, and took his place in a pew in the back of the church.

The first thing he noticed was that he was the only one wearing a tie...or a coat. The rest of the congregation looked as though it was ready to order foot-long hotdogs or spread out beach towels. A man who must have been 55 years old came in a pair of baggy shorts - the kind you would normally dip in soapy water and use to wash the car. Over his broad stomach he wore an olive-drab tee-shirt of the sort worn by Tennessee auto mechanics. This was a level of informality we had never before seen in an Episcopal church. Or any church, for that matter.

We were reassured when the choir appeared at the back of the church. It looked normal. Clad in bright red and blue, traditional vestments. With the cross going before them. But wait...there were two flags flanking the cross. One was a flag for the Episcopal Church. The other was the stars and stripes of the USA. Politics and religion - the state and the church - marched side by side up the aisle, as the choir pumped out a joyful hymn.

This church had become very pro-Union! Later, the choir sang two patriotic songs - "God Bless America" and the purely securely "America the Beautiful." Never before had we heard praises to Caesar sung in a church.

But it didn't seem to bother anyone. Christ and Caesar, Caesar and Christ... Most people like to see them together; they as happy serving one master as the other. They like it even better when they have two of them.

It didn't bother us either. After all, the morrow was the 4th of July. Maybe they did this only once a year....

Meanwhile, on the internet, a site called "Economic Collapse" anticipated the high spirits of Independence Day with a list of 20 "not-so-great categories" in which the US really is Numero Uno. Its author first assures us of his loyalty: ----------------------------- A Good Time To Sell Bad Stocks -----------------------------

It's never too late to get rid of 'bad stocks'.

After all, you never know how bad a market crash could get.

But what are these 'bad stocks'? How do you identify them?

For answers to these questions, and more, click here to read on...


I love the United States. I love the American people.
Then, he opens fire:
America is like an aging, bloated rock star that has become addicted to a dozen different drugs. America is a shadow of its former self and it desperately needs to wake up before it plunges into oblivion.

If you do not believe that America is in bad shape, just read the list below. The following are 20 not so good categories that the United States leads the world in....

#1 The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world and the largest total prison population on the entire globe.

#2 According to, the United States has the highest percentage of obese people in the world.

#3 The United States has the highest divorce rate on the globe by a wide margin.

And 17 more...after the news:

And back to our thoughts...

#4 The United States is tied with the U.K. for the most hours of television watched per person each week.

#5 The United States has the highest rate of illegal drug use on the entire planet.

#6 There are more car thefts in the United States each year than anywhere else in the world by far.

#7 There are more reported rapes in the United States each year than anywhere else in the world.

#8 There are more reported murders in the United States each year than anywhere else in the world.

#9 There are more total crimes in the United States each year than anywhere else in the world.

#10 The United States also has more police officers than anywhere else in the world.

#11 The United States spends much more on health care as a percentage of GDP than any other nation on the face of the earth.

#12 The United States has more people on pharmaceutical drugs than any other country on the planet.

#13 The percentage of women taking antidepressants in America is higher than in any other country in the world.

#14 Americans have more student loan debt than anyone else in the world.

#15 More pornography is created in the United States than anywhere else on the entire globe. 89 percent is made in the U.S.A. and only 11 percent is made in the rest of the world.

#16 The United States has the largest trade deficit in the world every single year. Between December 2000 and December 2010, the United States ran a total trade deficit of 6.1 trillion dollars with the rest of the world, and the U.S. has had a negative trade balance every single year since 1976.

#17 The United States spends 7 times more on the military than any other nation on the planet does. In fact, U.S. military spending is greater than the military spending of China, Russia, Japan, India, and the rest of NATO combined.

#18 The United States has far more foreign military bases than any other country does.

#19 The United States has the most complicated tax system in the entire world.

#20 The U.S. has accumulated the biggest national debt that the world has ever seen and it is rapidly getting worse. Right now, U.S. government debt is expanding at a rate of $40,000 per second.

The truth is that America has changed. Most of us don't even say hello to our neighbors anymore.

The United States was once the most blessed nation on the face of the earth, but now we are literally falling to pieces.

Does anyone have any ideas about why this could be happening?
Well, yes. We do have some ideas. But don't think for a minute that we're going to give you earnest advice on how to make the country a better place. There are approximately a million civil servants who are paid to do that! You can see for yourself what a good job they have done.

No, we're just going to explain how America became a country of fat poor people who - when they're not watching TV -- are murdering and raping their fellow citizens.

In fact, we already have. It's in a book. About 5 years ago, with Addison Wiggin, we wrote "Empire of Debt." We predicted how America's imperial mission would evolve. And we said it was unstoppable. Forget the debt ceiling. Forget the budget cuts. Forget the idle ranting and raving, posturing and pretending...this Bozo is going bust! Congress has raised the "ceiling" so often - 94 times in the last 94 years; the Capitol might as well be an open-air building. We wrote:
"The imperial spirit has gotten the best of her. She no longer plays a role that she can understand and control. Now, she is an imperial power: she must read from the script that has been thrust in her hands. She must provide security for the entire world...Someone has to do it. It is her turn to wear the purple, whether she wants to or not. Thus did she become the dictatress of the world; but no longer ruler of her own spirit - or her own finances."
Like a clown shot out of a circus cannon, America's trajectory is fixed. Just look at the "Number 1" items above. They are the marks of an imperial power in decline. Overseas, the imperial garrisons squander her military might. At home, the masses degenerate, squandering her wealth.

And here's the worst part: America will continue in this direction until she falls on her head.

More to come...

Bill Bonner is the President & Founder of Agora Inc, an international publisher of financial and special interest books and newsletters.

Disclaimer: The views mentioned above are of the author only. Data and charts, if used, in the article have been sourced from available information and have not been authenticated by any statutory authority. The author and Equitymaster do not claim it to be accurate nor accept any responsibility for the same. The views constitute only the opinions and do not constitute any guidelines or recommendation on any course of action to be followed by the reader. Please read the detailed Terms of Use of the web site.

Recent Articles

A New Infrastructure Boom March 26, 2019
Selva Freigedo talks about the potential in 5G network and how it could transform the way we communicate.
A 40 Somethings Guide to YouTube Hits March 20, 2019
Vivek dwells into a new YouTube phenomenon.
As the Economy Slows Down, Maruti and Two-Wheeler Companies Cut Production March 19, 2019
The country's largest car maker has cut production by more than a fourth.
In Supporting Demonetisation, RBI Behaved Like an Old Uncle Not Willing to Take a Stand March 13, 2019
The minutes of the meeting of the RBI Board which happened before demonetisation have been released.

Equitymaster requests your view! Post a comment on "US is No.1 in these 'not-so-great' categories". Click here!

8 Responses to "US is No.1 in these 'not-so-great' categories"


Jul 12, 2011

so mr pessimistic

the first thing is that the kind of arguments that you have presented to undermine the position of a huge and great country are lame and trivial ...
Now there are certain points if looked the other way round will make America great and will prove that you are a highly pessimistic and nitpicking
1. america has the highest inceneration rate then it implies that criminals are not spared as they are in any other country
2. Students having loans means that there are good number of loan facilities available .
3.And i seriously doubt the assertion of rape and murder as they are atleast brought into light in
america..countries like china,Pakistan,bangladesh it is not mentioned at all.
4.Murders commuted in america can't be more than those in afghan and iraq...a total of 2 hundred thousand people have been killed by america .
5.america has huighest number of foreign bases implies there strenth and not there weakness
6.and the biggest folly of yours is that america garners it's strength from the military it has,if it doesn't have it .it won't just command control over world.

and one more on earth a complicated tax system defines strength and weakness of a country



Jul 8, 2011

Dear Mr Bonner,

I totally disagree with you. I read few of your articles and it seems you are pessimistic person. Have you ever lived outside united states?. Do you have small idea how many problems people have in their daily lives like for small things like water, electricity? outside united states.

I have been to America many times and i felt Americans are most sober, most polite and fun loving people on earth. There may be more rapes, crime, people in jail etc., but just have a look at population size of country.

I know it does matter posting my comments here, but i couldn't stop laughing and typing this message after reading your article.

Stock markets go up and down, God bless america and american people, most greatest nation on earth.



r s sarma

Jul 6, 2011

Sad but true that our America is on the decline. Recouping the lost glory is a mighty challenge to the political, cultural and intellectual leadership. Start at the bottom of the pyramid by firing the imagination of the young and the teacher trainers. It is a long shot like planting a seed and waiting for the tree to flower and bloom. But seriously begin today with commitment and dedication. Let us concentrate on ourselves within instead of frittering away energies outside the shores and diverting much needed attention and resources for a false pride of slipping global domination.



Jul 6, 2011

Where is the 4th of July spirit? It disappoints me to see some wannabe star reporter trying to diss his own country.

I'm proud to be an American, why? Because this country has provided me with love, friends, family and wonderful neighbors who celebrate together on every occasion we can.

Most Americans still say hello to their neighbors and help out whenever we can. Mr. Bonner, you must have been seduced by some foreign national for you to diss your own country.

I love the USA, we are still the kindest country on Earth, and we are the richest and most powerful nation on Earth because of the patriotism of most Americans and the kindness of each American neighbor to one another.

God Bless America and the people in it. I love this country with all my heart.


Prashanth Reddy Damera

Jul 6, 2011

I hope all these are not true....
because, many of my friends and relatives are NRI's of the US, as per them it's a wonderful country to live!
however, this write up is more informative for people like me, if it's true...


Anupam Garg

Jul 6, 2011

Wasn't there a recent survey which ranked India among the top unsafe countries, esp. for women. Well, come over to Delhi, Mr. Bonner whr girls r murdered on highways in broad daylight...i do hope u hav stats supporting ur 20 reasons coz i don't quite believe em...i, of course, hope they r correct & tht our situation is comparativeky better than urs.

& yes, today's daily reckonin wasn't much to my likin as it is most of the times



Jul 6, 2011

1 they should stop thinking and claiming to be No1 in power, and consumption
2. US should stop acting as world of their choice,like going to Vietnam, Korea, Afganisthan, iraq and the later Libiya.
3. US should look for causes of obesity and I'll health, instead of spending huge money on Medicare and prolonging the life of people causing more pain to the old people and burden to the young with taxes and deficit.
4 Provide help to local Enterprenuers, in rural areas to grow food and products for local consumption.
5. Children should be disciplined, instead of allowing them to defy the parents with education and stopping the nonsensical TV Programmes.
6. Educate the people to take gifts of plastic toys, chocolates, sweets as gift, which is creating unhealthy food, which is causing obesity
7. Encourage natural food ps than artificial food and consumption of local foods


Agnel Pereira

Jul 6, 2011

Dear Mr Bonner,
Thank you for a nice write up. There were 3 parts if I am right, in today's write up. Gold, Church and US. Gold went up and will go up, no worries.
Church! I am happy you wrote it. I dont know how many will understand what you wrote since not many may be attending Sunday service. I do. As a little boy born to a devout Catholic family in a small town south of India (used to be referred to as the Rome of the East), I am pleased that God has made it possible for me to attend Church in an entirely Arab land (Bahrain) for all these 14 years. But what you observed, I have observed too - shorts, Marilyn Monroe faced round neck t-shirts, hawai (beach) slippers.. In a diverse community where thousands attend church every weekend, the Philippino community is the one leading in such filthy attires. I have always gone there with a full sleeved shirt, formal trouser and decent formal footwear knowing fairly well that we go there to speak to the master who has survived 2000+ years in his Kingdom! I never wore a jeans pant or a T-shirt to church. So I understand what you wrote.
Lastly, on America. It was not a surprise to me. There were enough signs in the past. Alarmingly, what is happening today will conform to what Gerard Celente wrote in 2008 in Future Trends - that there will be a revolution for food on the table in 2012. I think the writing is clearly on the wall. You guys need to 'nun' (thats how my 2 year old says to mean 'run'). Now. Good luck.
Come to India, this land will protect you. Soon, I will be going back there from the Arab land that took care of me and my family for the last 14 years. Pampered me fully, Thanks & Praises to God. In India, an odd rape or a murder gets 24 hour coverage on all the 2 dozen TV news channels (and the country with most rapists and murderers as per your above write up is pushed under the carpet).

Equitymaster requests your view! Post a comment on "US is No.1 in these 'not-so-great' categories". Click here!