United States


The United States of America is a federal republic_ composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major territories (Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, Northern Mariana Islands), and various possessions (e.g. Wake Island, Midway Islands).


1   Substance

1.1   Constitution

The First Amendment gives the right to free speech.

The argument for this isn't that all speech is good, but that nobody can be trusted to decide what should and should not be censored.

1.2   Military

The military is allowed to have military bases all over the world for several reasons. For one, the US is largely geographically isolated from the world's geopolitical hot spots. In the 20th century, that was Europe. These past 20 years, the Middle East. In this century, it may well become Asia.

As a result of lessons learned from WW2, the US has maintained that it's best defense is to keep forces and the capability to keep forces overseas. That means a Navy that can deliver men and materiel overseas and the ability to defend them from submarines and aircraft. That means an Air Force that has hundreds of aerial refueling tankers and strategic airlift transports (e.g., the US has over 400 tankers and 220 strategic transports - the rest of NATO nations combined have a grand total of around 40 dedicated tankers and 20 strategic transports). But on the other end, you need bases for said troops and materiel to be put at. Hence nations come into agreement with the US to station troops in their nation.

Contrary to popular belief, these aren't imposed on the host nations - not now, anyways. Nations must sign a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) for the US to station troops. A SOFA states the legal rights of US troops in host nation - for instance, a SOFA in the UAE would bar US troops from being subject to local Sharia laws we disagree with.

You'll note too that the four nations with the most US troops overseas are Germany, South Korea, Japan, and Italy. Three of those four are the vanquished Axis foes of WW2. As a result of various treaties to end the war, those nations were occupied by US and Allied forces, which is how many of these bases came into US hands. Heck, the UK still has British Forces Germany - a contingent of 5000 that aren't due to depart until 2020, a full 75 years after the war ended!

In addition to economic and political benefits of US troops stationed overseas (a lot of developing nations get money poured in from it, and it's a source of employment for locals too), South Korea is a good example of another reason nations may want us. By keeping US troops in the country and along the DMZ, any attack by North Korea will inevitably kill Americans. That guarantees the US would respond. These tripwire forces are a big reason Poland and other Eastern European nations are more than happy to station US troops there, even as Western Europe is less happy about them.

Finally, European and Asian militaries benefit from reciprocal agreements. Not only do those nations get to train directly with their American counterparts, but they have agreements to use US bases in the US.

2   Politics

Presidential term limits were a tradition, not a law, for the first 150 or so years. George Washington chose to step down after two terms, and every president afterwards followed his lead until FDR, who ran for and won four consecutive terms during the Great Depression and WWII. After he was gone, and his political opponents gained power in Congress, they passed a law to prevent presidents from serving more than two terms (and potentially up to half of somebody else's).

Putting a term limit on the Senate and the House of Representatives faces one major challenge: only Congress can pass a law to limit terms in Congress, and the people with the most power in Congress are those who have been there the longest.

2.1   Parties

DURING its 160-year history, the Republican Party has abolished slavery, provided the votes in Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act and helped bring the cold war to a close.

2.3   Elections

There are 538 electoral college votes: 435 (for each member of the House of Representatives) + 100 (for each of the senators) plus 3 for DC. This means that people in small states have a proportionally larger vote. For example, Delaware and Vermont, states with 1 Congressperson, have 3 electoral college votes. On Election Day, voters vote in electorates, rather than directly the president. Electorates then elect the president in December. Electorates may switch their votes in the meantime. If they do so, they are called "faithless electorates".

2.4   Executive branch

The cabinet includes positions for agriculture, commerce, defense, education, energy, health and human services, homeland security, housing and urban development, interior, justice, labor, state, transportation, treasury, veteran affairs, environmental protection agency, management and budget, small business administration, trade, and united nations. Each of these leaders must be confirmed by the Senate.

Specific federal agencies include the `Central Intelligence Agency`_, the `National Security Agency`_, the `Internal Revenue Service`_, and the `United States Postal Service`_.

2.5   Legislative branch

50% of the US population elects 20 senators, while the other 50% elects the other 80 senators. Is this a good system?

2.6   Supreme Court

The Supreme Court is effectively a third legislature.

2.7   Liberal vs. Conservative

The American left is in despair over its lack of political power, and the American right is in despair over its lack of cultural power. Everyone focuses on the battles they're losing.

3   Culture


How people over age 15 spent their time in 2008. [4]

US culture is rooted in the culture of the Puritans. Sex is taboo and pleasure for it's own sake is frowned upon; business is praised and relaxation is often seen as an end to productivity.

John Steinbeck once said that socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.

—Ronald Wright, A Short History of Progress.

3.1   Food

In the United States, soda, not tea, is the most popular beverage. Coffee second, and beer third.

3.2   Music

African Americans contributed jazz, `rock and roll`_, and `hip hop`_.

3.3   Public Holidays

There are 10 public holidays in the USA:

  1. New Year's Day
  2. Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
  3. President's Birthday
  4. Memorial Day
  5. Independence Day
  6. Labor Day
  7. Columbus Day
  8. Veterans Day
  9. Thanksgiving Day
  10. Christmas

3.6   Politics

American politics is deeply divided:

4   Foreign policy

4.1   Military strategy

Prediction of an age of distant warfare in Orwell's 1984 seems to have come true, e.g. Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.

4.2   Soft power

The US has had the most cultural influence for a very short period of time. The impact of the British Empire however was far greater and wider. English isn't spoken as a lingua franca because of America, but because the Empire spread it through the world, resulting in many countries using English as their primary language. People seem to endlessly underestimate the fact that the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, Nigeria and India all speak English as well, and America's cultural hegemony is really just a flash in the pan post-WW2.

5   Demographics

The US is the world's fourth largest country by total area and the third most populous.

The US is one of the world's most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, the product of large-scale immigration from many countries.

25% of the population is under 18. 6% are felons, but only 6 million are barred from voting.

5.1   Population


Relative state populations from 1917 to 2017.

The five top states are California, Texas, Flordia, New York, and Pennsylvania.

6   Economy




California has the greatest GDP of any state. (California's GDP is $2.4 trillion, with Texas the next highest at $1.6 trillion.) The economy of California is larger than most nations; only the United Kingdom, Germany, China, and Japan have larger economies.

US = ~$17 trillion / year California = ~$2.4 trillion / year Texas = ~$1.6 trillion / year New York State = ~$1.4 trillion / year US minus top 3 states = ~$11.5 trillion / yr

California, which is one-eighth of the U.S. population with 39 million people and one-seventh of the nation's gross domestic product of $2.3 trillion.

California is the chief reason America is the only developed economy to achieve record GDP growth since the financial crisis of 2008 and ensuing global recession, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Much of the U.S. growth can be traced to California laws promoting clean energy, government accountability and protections for undocumented people.


The median household income in ???? was $51,371.

The USA spent 2.6 trillion on healthcare in 2012, 18% of GDP in 2010, up from 5% in 1960, 2x the OECD average. [1] 100 million (30%) of Americans were considered in obese in 2012, up from 15% in 1990. [1] $147 billion estimated medical costs associated with obesity in 2008, up from $79B in 1998. [1]

3.4 million people work as cashiers, 3% of total employment. 6% work in retail sales.

Blue collar work is more precarious. Can go from six figures to disability.

In 1900 about 40% of the American work force was in agriculture. In 2016, it's about 2%.

Since 2000, America has lost 5 million manufacturing jobs. But overall, net, the US has added 12 million jobs since 2000.

6.1   Revenues and expenses


Underfunded entitlements are among the most severe financial burdens that the United States faces. [2]


By the standards of any public corporation, the United State's financials are discouraging. On an operating basis (excluding Medicare_ and Medicaid_ spending and one-time charges), the federal government's profit and loss statement is solid, with a 4% median net margin over the last 15 years. But cash flow is deep int he red (by almost $.13 trillion last year, or -$11K per household), and net worth is negative and deteriorating. [2]

Some consider defense outlays, which have nearly doubled in the last decade to 5% of GDP, a principal cause of the United State's financial dilemma, but defense spending is still below its 7% share of GDP from 1948 to 2000. It accounted for 20% of the budget in 2010, compared with 41% of all government spending between 1789 and 1930. [2]

Since the Great Depression, the US had steadily added "business lines" and created various entitlement programs which serve many of the nation's poorest. Apart from `social security`_ and unemployment insurance, funding for these programs has been woefully inadequate. [2]

Entitlement expenses amount to $16,000 per household per year and entitlement spending far outstrips funding, by more than $1 trillion (or $9,000 per household) in 2010. [2] More than 35% of the US population receives entitlement dollars or is on the government payroll, up from 20% in 1966. [2]


Government spending on healthcare now consumes 8.2% of GDP, compared with just 1.3% fifty years ago.

Millions of Americans have come to rely on Medicare and Medicaid, the programs that provide health insurance to low-income households and the elderly. Together, Medicaid and Medicare account for 35% of total healthcare spending in the USA. [2] Since their creation in 1965, both programs have expanded markedly. [2] Medicaid now serves 16% of all Americans, compared with 2% at its inception; Medicare now serves 15% of the population, up from 10% in 1966. [2] Between 2000 and 2010 alone, Medicaid spending has doubled in real terms with total program costs running at $273B in F2010. [2] Over the last 43 years, real Medicare spending per beneficiary has risen 25 times, driving program costs well (10x) above original projections. In fact, Medicare spending exceeded related revenues by $272 billion last year. [2]

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, enacted in early 2010, includes the biggest changes to healthcare since 1965 and will eventually expand health insurance coverage by ~10%, to 32 million new lives. Increased access likely means higher spending if healthcare costs continue to grow 2 percentage points faster than per capita income (as they have over the past 40 years). [2]

Unemployment Insurance is cyclical and, apart from the 2007-09 recession, generally operates with a surplus. Payroll taxes kept Social Security mainly at break-even until 1975-81 when expenses began to exceed revenue. Reforms that cut average benefits by 5%, raised tax rates by 2.3%, and increased the full retirement age by 3% (to 67) restored the system’s stability for the next 25 years, but the demographic outlook is poor for its pay-as-you-go funding structure. Since Social Security began in 1935, American life expectancy has risen 26% (to 78), but the “retirement age” for full benefits has increased only 3%. [2]

As a percentage of GDP, the federal government’s public debt has doubled over the last 30 years, to 53% of GDP. [2] This figure does not include claims on future resources from underfunded entitlements and potential liabilities from `Fannie Mae`_ and `Freddie Mac`_, the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs). If it did include these claims, gross federal debt accounted for 94% of GDP in 2010. The public debt to GDP ratio is likely to triple to 146% over the next 20 years, per the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). [2] The main reason is entitlement expense. Since 1970, these costs have grown 5.5 times faster than GDP, while revenues have lagged, especially corporate tax revenues. By 2037, cumulative deficits from Social Security could add another $11.6 trillion to the public debt. [2]

Even as USA Inc.’s debt has been rising for decades, plunging interest rates have kept the cost of supporting it relatively steady. Last year’s interest bill would have been 155% (or $290 billion) higher if rates had been at their 30-year average of 6% (vs. 2% in 2010). As debt levels rise and interest rates normalize, net interest payments could grow 20% or more annually. Below-average debt maturities in recent years have also kept the Treasury’s borrowing costs down, but this trend, too, will drive up interest payments once interest rates rise. [2] In other words, by 2025 the US, based on current forecasts for revenue and expenses, would have nothing left over to spend on defense, education, infrastructure, and R&D, which today account for only 32% of USA Inc. spending, down from 69% forty years ago. [2]

While revenue – mainly taxes on individual and corporate income – is highly correlated (83%) with GDP growth, expenses – mostly entitlement spending – are less correlated (73%) with GDP. [2]

6.2   Infrastructure

The word "infrastructure" didn't really exist pre 1980, instead those things — roads, sewers, bridges, etc — used to be called "public works". The podcast I listened to suggests that public works came to be associated with "pork barrel" (political collusion) which made infrastructure a favorable alternative.

6.3   Taxation

Criticisms against how "rigged" the system is may be softened by pointing out the top 1% pay 40% of federal income tax.

7   Geography, climate, and environment

The geography and climate of the United States are extremely diverse, and the country is home to a wide variety of wildlife.

8   History

8.1   Colonization

The British colonial system was such that no or minimal manufacturing should be taking place in the colonies as far as policy was concerned, instead all the raw material should be shipped to the homeland, where British manufacturers could make goods and then sell to the colonies. this was more than a colonial system. the British government was trying to reduce its dependents on its European neighbors by making a closed but fully functional economy. unfortunately, the farming economies of the south didn't do as well in the north, leading to manufacturing popping up in the new world and reducing demand for british goods.

The Howe brothers (Admiral and General Howe) were officially sent to America as peace embassadors. The terms they were allowed to offer gradually increased as the war went on but never included representation in parliament. As I mentioned in another comment on this thread, there was heated debate in parliament about this before and during the war. The proponents for American recognition correctly predicted that American population growth and natural resources would cause it to dwarf Britain in due course. From the American perspective, the signing of the declaration of independence was the point of no return for most congressman and their constituents.

The US surpassed the UK in population between 1850 and 1860, and doubled them by 1910.

8.2   Independence

On December 16, 1773, a group of young men dressed as American Indians dumped three boatloads of tea into the Boston harbor. The act was planned by the Sons of Liberty from the Green Drago and Salutation taverns in the city's North End.

Franklin replaced "We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable" with "We hold these truths to be self-evident".

Congress met for the first time on March 4th 1789. This date was the result of a vote of the Continental Congress:

Resolved, That the first Wednesday in January next be the day for appointing electors in the several States, which before the said day shall have ratified the said Constitution; that the first Wednesday in February next be the day for the electors to assemble in their respective States and vote for a President; and that the first Wednesday in March next be the time, and the present seat of Congress [New York] the place for commencing, proceeding under the said Constitution."

Although Congress didn't count the electoral votes of the first Presidential election until April 6th of that year, and President Washington was not sworn in until April 30th, his term in office was retroactively considered to have begun on March 4th (since that was when the new Constitution "commenced"). Since every Presidential term was four years long, as specified by the Constituion, every subsequent Presidential term (until the XX Amendment was enacted) also began on March 4th.

8.3   Manifest Destiny

Driven by the doctrine of Manifest Destiny, the United States embarked on a vigorous expansion across North America throughout the 19th century.[25] This involved displacing American Indian tribes, acquiring new territories, and gradually admitting new states, until by 1848 the nation spanned the continent.

8.4   Civil War and Reconstruction Era

The 3/5 clause was about determining the political weight of landowning southerners than their counterparts in the north. The South claimed after the 1960 election that they no longer had an equal voice in national affairs, when in fact they had a louder voice the whole time.

8.5   Modern history


Stalin, Roosevelt, and Churchill meet at the Tehran Conference. 1943.

In July 1959, the American vice president, Richard Nixon, traveled to Moscow to open an exhibition showcasing some of his country's technological and material achievements. The highlight of the exhibition was a full-scale replica of the home of an average member of America's working class, equipped with fitted carpets, a television in the living room, two en suite bathrooms, central heating and a kitchen with a washing machine, a tumbler dryer, and a refrigerator. [7]

Reporting on this display, an incensed Soviet press angrily denied that an ordinary American worker could conceivably live in such luxury, and advised its readers to dismiss the entire house as propaganda after mockingly baptizing it the"Taj Mahal". [7]

Later that same evening, Nixon was invited to appear live on Soviet television, an occasion he used to expound on the advantages of American life. Shrewdly, he did not begin his speech by touting democracy or human rights; instead he spoke of money and material progress... Americans had purchased 56 million television sets and 143 million radios, he informed his Soviet listeners, a large number of whom did not have private bathrooms or possess so much as as a kettle. [7]

8.5.1   Great Depression   The New Deal

The New Deal was series of federal programs, public work projects, and financial reforms and regulations, enacted in the United States during the 1930s in response to the Great Depression.

The Federal National Mortgage Association, commonly known as Fannie Mae, is a United States government-sponsored enterprise founded in 1938 during the Great Depression as part of the New Deal. The purpose of the corporation is to expand the secondary mortgage market by securitizing mortgages in the form of mortgage-back securities, allowing lenders to reinvest their assets into more lending and in effect increasing the number of lender sin the mortgage market by reducing the reliance on locally based savings.

8.6   Contemporary history

8.6.1   Federal Bureau of Investigation

J. Edgar Hoover was the first Director of the FBI. He was appointed as the sixth director of the Bureau of Investigation-predecessor to the FBI-in 1924 and was instrumental in founding the FBI in 1935, where he remained director until his death in 1972.

Later in life and after his death, Hoover became a controversial figure as evidence of his secretive abuses of power began to surface. He was found to have exceeded the jurisdiction of the FBI, and to have used the FBI to harass political dissenters and activists, to amass secret files on political leaders, and to collect evidence using illegal methods.[3] Hoover consequently amassed a great deal of power and was in a position to intimidate and threaten sitting presidents

According to President Harry S. Truman, Hoover transformed the FBI into his private secret police force. Truman stated: "we want no Gestapo or secret police. The FBI is tending in that direction. They are dabbling in sex-life scandals and plain blackmail. J. Edgar Hoover would give his right eye to take over, and all congressmen and senators are afraid of him.

At this time, state police could not arrest criminals who had crossed state borders.

Since states are sovereign in their own right, they have exclusive jurisdiction in police matters within their borders. Thus, a pursuing NYPD/NYSP officer chasing a car into Massachusetts would lack authority as a police officer in Massachusetts to make an arrest.

8.6.2   Cold War

After World War II, the United States possessed a monopoly on nuclear weapons. Many Americans believe a war between the United States and the USSR was inevitable. After two world wars, many Americans were skeptical peace could maintained, and thought a preventative war against the USSR was the logical decision.

During this time, the 84th Congress passes a joint resolution declaring "In God We Trust" the national motto of the United States. (Thus replacing the de facto national motto of "E plurbius unum" which appeared on the Great Seal.) The law was signed by President Eisenhower on July 30, 1956. On the same day, Eisenhower signed into law a requirement that the motto be printed on all US currency and coins. The two laws were intended to distinguish the US from the Soviet Union, which promoted state atheism.

The election of 1960s was the first where debates were broadcasted on television. During one debate between Nixon and JFK, people who watched the debate on TV thought JFK had clearly won, while people who listened on radio thought Nixon had clearly won. The difference had been that Nixon looked uncomfortable on TV. JFK won by only a few thousands votes in a controversial election, similar to the Bush-Gore election of 2000.

8.6.4   War on Drugs

The War on Drugs actually made the drug cartels more sophisticated. Where it was once possible to drive over the border with drugs in the trunk of one's car, higher American security meant that drug prices increased, and in turn, encouraged professionals to enter the drug business.

8.7   Contemporary history

There was a housing bubble in mid-2007. This led to a "Great Recession".

8.7.1   2016 Election

Trump seems to support from people who believe "the enemy of my enemy" is my friend.

9   Science and technology

The United States leads the world in scientific research papers and impact factor. The dispossessed will be vote for Trump who has threatened to upend the system that has ruined their lives. They see that the elites hate Trump. Corporate America hates trump. Career politics hates Trump. The media hates Trump. The enemy of my enemy is who I'm voting for.

10   Further reading

11   References

[1](1, 2, 3) Mary Meeker and Liang Wu. May 29 2013. Internet Trends D11 Conference.
[2](1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22) Mary Meeker. Feb 2011. USA Inc.
[3]March 8, 2011. Long-term real growth in US GDP per capita 1871-2009. http://visualizingeconomics.com/blog/2011/03/08/long-term-real-growth-in-us-gdp-per-capita-1871-2009
[4]SHAN CARTER, AMANDA COX, KEVIN QUEALY and AMY SCHOENFELD. How Different Groups Spend Their Day. http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2009/07/31/business/20080801-metrics-graphic.html
[5]Domenico Montanaro. Nov 1, 2016. Why Do We Vote On Tuesdays? http://www.npr.org/2016/11/01/500208500/why-do-we-vote-on-tuesdays
[6]Dec 10, 2016. Corporatism’s long history in America. http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21711500-tradition-politicians-intervening-business-corporatisms-long-history-america
[7](1, 2, 3) Alain de Botton. 2004. Status Anxiety.
[8]Andrew Callaghan - The Marxist Pick-Up Artist | Ep12 | Fear & Malding https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XTTQX3Do2yY&t=0s


The West is still like the frontier.

America is one of the most interesting places on Earth.

Atlantic City was ruined by Trump. His casinos failed and were demolished.


A MAN with a background in business, running on a platform of lower taxes and protective tariffs, is elected president of America. He views this as a mandate to intervene in corporate affairs. Bosses are told what their priorities ought to be: more jobs and higher wages. This may sound like Donald Trump, already successful in persuading Ford, a carmaker, and Carrier, an air-conditioning company to keep jobs in America even before his inauguration. It also describes Herbert Hoover. In 1929, soon after he was sworn in, Hoover called executives to the White House for some “jawboning”. For intervening in business from a position of authority has a long tradition in American politics.

The desire to meddle dates as far back as 1791. Alexander Hamilton then set out arguments for nurturing and protecting “infant industries”. Any restraint was in part because the federal government lacked the resources and authority to do so. Individual states, however, took on the role with gusto. By 1840 they had lent and invested themselves into the red, prompting laws preventing future intervention

States now compete furiously for business. Firms shop around for the most favourable subsidies when deciding where to locate headquarters, factories or sports teams. Carrier’s decision to stay in Indiana was assisted by the promise of hefty tax exemptions. New York has allocated billions of dollars to encourage tech firms to set up in depressed areas of the state.

Presidents have also long attempted to shape corporate activity using any means at their disposal. Carrots are dangled and sticks wielded. Shame and praise, broad rules and one-off deals, startup funds and nationalisation have all played a part. The result has been an often-fractious relationship between business and government. Mr Trump’s interventionist instincts may differ only by degree.

The federal government’s largesse towards business began in the latter half of the 19th century with the railways, which cut across state boundaries. Early intercontinental lines received federal loans and large land grants in the West. The irresistible urge to oversee parts of the economy meant that in the 20th century handouts turned to direct management. In part this was driven by national emergency. Woodrow Wilson, under laws passed to support involvement in the first world war, nationalised railways, canals, telegraph lines and arms production, and expropriated American subsidiaries of German firms. Franklin Roosevelt used the same law to shut banks briefly upon his assumption of the presidency in 1933.

Roosevelt had previously observed Hoover’s hands-on approach to business with disdain but his reservations were transient. Intrusiveness is popular because it yields immediate results. Hoover’s jawboning had persuaded Henry Ford to raise salaries at his car plants, utilities to invest, and companies not to cut jobs. To boost wages, Hoover curtailed immigration. To protect businesses he signed the Smoot-Hawley Act, increasing duties on thousands of imports from beverages and wool to tungsten and clocks.


The decision to vote on Tuesdays for presidential election was made in 1945. In 1875, Tuesday was atoped for electing US House members, and in 1914 applied to electing senators (when the direct election of them began). In 19th century America, most Americans were Christan farmers and polling locations weren't widespread. Sundays were out because of Church. November was chosen because spring was planting season, summer was taken up with working the fields and tending the crops, but by November the fall harvest was over and the weather was still mild enough to permit travel over unpaved roads. Lawmakers wanted to prevent Election Day from falling on the first of November because it would conflict with All Saints Day, because merchants did their book for the preceding month on the 1st, and because Members of Congress were worried that the economic success or failure of the previous month might prove an undue influence on the vote.


Nearly two-thirds of all American households pay federal income taxes. [2] The country on average collects 13% of our annual gross income (not counting another 15-30% for payroll and various state and local taxes). [2]

The federal government is financially responsible for all or the majority of defense, social security, Medicare, and interest payments on federal debt. It also coordinates public investment in education and infrastructure.

State and local governments are financially responsible for all or the majority of education, transportation (road construction and maintenance), public safety (police, fire protection, law courts, prisons) and environment & housing (parks & recreation, community development, sewerage, and waste management).

Federal, state, and local government share financial responsibility in Medicaid and unemployment insurance.

State and local governments face many similar long-term financial challenges and may ultimately require federal assistance. The size of state and local government budget deficit ($70 billion in aggregate in 2009) and debt-toGDP ration (7% on average in F2008) pales by comparison to the federal government's ($1.3 trillion budget deficit, 62% debt-to-GDP ration in F2010). But these metrics may understate state & local governments’ financial challenges by 50% or more3 because they exclude the long-term cost of public pension and other post employment benefit (OPEB) liabilities.

The US has challenges.

Public traded companies with similar financial trends would be pressed by shareholders to pursue a turnround. The good news: the US's underlying asset base and entrepreneurial culture and strong.

Medicare and Medicaid, largely underfunded (based on‘dedicated’revenue) and growing rapidly, accounted for 21% (or $724B) of USA Inc.’s total expenses in F2010, up from 5% forty years ago. Together these two programs reprsent 35% of all annual US healthcare spending.

Plant, Property & Equipment (PP&E) on USA Inc.’s balance sheet is valued at $829B1 (or 29% of USA Inc.’s total stated assets) – this includes tangible assets such as buildings, internal use software and civilian and military equipment.

Government accounting standards do not report the present value of future entitlement payments (such as Social Security or Medicare) as liabilities. Instead, entitlement payments are recognized only when they are paid. Our analysis takes a different view: governments create liabilities when they enact entitlements and do not provide for revenues adequate to fund them.

Dems nominated the only person who could conceivably lose to Trump. GOP nominated only person who could conceivably lose to Hillary

There’s been a wave of Twitter threads and essays saying that liberals and the media should have to change nothing, that it’s the rural enclaves of the country that have to get acquainted with the politics and cultural values of the urban coasts.

ause and consider the fact that any sense that the media was complicit in this failure lasted all of, I don’t know, 36 hours. That’s about as long as a total inability to impact the outcome of a momentous election inspired introspection. Despite a greater need for adversarial media ever, and despite a candidate who gave them more scandals than they could possibly ask for, they couldn’t change much of anything in how the public voted.

you need to adapt and change and look outside of your tiny enclaves not out of some moral obligation, but because you are losing on every imaginable front. You don’t have to get in touch with the rest of the country because that’s the right thing to do. You have to get in touch with the rest of the country because they’re kicking your ass.

Every minute you spend signal-boosting people who say that it’s Republicans who have to get on board with liberal values is a minute you’re not doing anything to change that condition.

Complaining about the electoral college has gotta be the most limp and ridiculous part of all of this. I can’t tell you how many people I see talking about how “well we have more votes, more people like us!” I’m sorry, were you unaware before Tuesday that we don’t have a national popular vote here? The electoral college is the system that we have.

It’s not me trying to shit on you for no reason. It’s that I’m trying to get you to understand: if people didn’t listen to your reporting about Trump, if you couldn’t motivate voters to change despite his mountains of disqualifying baggage, it’s because no one likes you.

It doesn’t matter if you should have to change. You do have to change. Or else you have to accept the irrelevance of what you do.

Trump's success may be attributed to the class culture gap. One little-known element of that gap is that the white working class (WWC) resents professionals but admires the rich. Class migrants (white-collar professionals born to blue-collar families) report that "professional people were generally suspect" and that managers are college kids "who don’t know shit about how to do anything but are full of ideas about how I have to do my job,". Barbara Ehrenreich recalled in 1990 that her blue-collar dad "could not say the word doctor without the virtual prefix quack. Lawyers were shysters…and professors were without exception phonies."

Yet the WWC admire the rich. For one, they don't have direct contact with the rich. But professionals order them around. Clinton epitomizes the dorky arrogance and smugness of the professional elite with her pantsuits and email server.

Trump's blunt talk taps into another blue-collar value: straight talk. Straight-talk is seen as requiring courage. Clinton's clunky admission that she talks one way in public and another in private? Further proof she’s a two-faced phony.

Manly dignity is a big deal for most men. So is breadwinner status: Many still measure masculinity by the size of a paycheck. White working-class men’s wages hit the skids in the 1970s and took another body blow during the Great Recession. Look, I wish manliness worked differently. But most men, like most women, seek to fulfill the ideals they’ve grown up with. For many blue-collar men, all they’re asking for is basic human dignity (male varietal). Trump promises to deliver it.

But women don’t stand together: WWC women voted for Trump over Clinton by a whopping 28-point margin — 62% to 34%. If they’d split 50-50, she would have won. Class trumps gender, and it’s driving American politics.

When progressives talk about the working class, typically they mean the poor. But the poor, in the bottom 30% of American families, are very different from Americans who are literally in the middle: the middle 50% of families whose median income was $64,000 in 2008. That is the true “middle class,” and they call themselves either “middle class” or “working class.”

“The thing that really gets me is that Democrats try to offer policies (paid sick leave! minimum wage!) that would help the working class,” a friend just wrote me. A few days’ paid leave ain’t gonna support a family. Neither is minimum wage. WWC men aren’t interested in working at McDonald’s for $15 per hour instead of $9.50. What they want is what my father-in-law had: steady, stable, full-time jobs that deliver a solid middle-class life to the 75% of Americans who don’t have a college degree. Trump promises that. I doubt he’ll deliver, but at least he understands what they need.

Remember when President Obama sold Obamacare by pointing out that it delivered health care to 20 million people? Just another program that taxed the middle class to help the poor, said the WWC, and in some cases that’s proved true: The poor got health insurance while some Americans just a notch richer saw their premiums rise.

Progressives have lavished attention on the poor for over a century. That (combined with other factors) led to social programs targeting them. Means-tested programs that help the poor but exclude the middle may keep costs and tax rates lower, but they are a recipe for class conflict. Example: 28.3% of poor families receive child-care subsidies, which are largely nonexistent for the middle class. So my sister-in-law worked full-time for Head Start, providing free child care for poor women while earning so little that she almost couldn’t pay for her own. She resented this, especially the fact that some of the kids’ moms did not work.

Class conflict now closely tracks the urban-rural divide.

“The white working class is just so stupid. Don’t they realize Republicans just use them every four years, and then screw them?” I have heard some version of this over and over again, and it’s actually a sentiment the WWC agrees with, which is why they rejected the Republican establishment this year. But to them, the Democrats are no better.

Trade deals are far more expensive than we’ve treated them, because sustained job development and training programs need to be counted as part of their costs.

At a deeper level, both parties need an economic program that can deliver middle-class jobs. Republicans have one: Unleash American business. Democrats? They remain obsessed with cultural issues. I fully understand why transgender bathrooms are important, but I also understand why progressives’ obsession with prioritizing cultural issues infuriates many Americans whose chief concerns are economic.

Back when blue-collar voters used to be solidly Democratic (1930–1970), good jobs were at the core of the progressive agenda. A modern industrial policy would follow Germany’s path. (Want really good scissors? Buy German.)

National debates about policing are fueling class tensions today in precisely the same way they did in the 1970s, when college kids derided policemen as “pigs.” This is a recipe for class conflict. Being in the police is one of the few good jobs open to Americans without a college education. Police get solid wages, great benefits, and a respected place in their communities. For elites to write them off as racists is a telling example of how, although race- and sex-based insults are no longer acceptable in polite society, class-based insults still are.

There is a smug style in American liberalism. It has been growing these past decades. It is a way of conducting politics, predicated on the belief that American life is not divided by moral difference or policy divergence — not really — but by the failure of half the country to know what's good for them.

It has led an American ideology hitherto responsible for a great share of the good accomplished over the past century of our political life to a posture of reaction and disrespect: a condescending, defensive sneer toward any person or movement outside of its consensus, dressed up as a monopoly on reason.

Beginning in the middle of the 20th century, the working class, once the core of the coalition, began abandoning the Democratic Party. In 1948, in the immediate wake of Franklin Roosevelt, 66 percent of manual laborers voted for Democrats, along with 60 percent of farmers. In 1964, it was 55 percent of working-class voters. By 1980, it was 35 percent.

The white working class in particular saw even sharper declines. Despite historic advantages with both poor and middle-class white voters, by 2012 Democrats possessed only a 2-point advantage among poor white voters. Among white voters making between $30,000 and $75,000 per year, the GOP has taken a 17-point lead.

A movement once fleshed out in union halls and little magazines shifted into universities and major press, from the center of the country to its cities and elite enclaves. Minority voters remained, but bereft of the material and social capital required to dominate elite decision-making, they were largely excluded from an agenda driven by the new Democratic core: the educated, the coastal, and the professional.

It is not that these forces captured the party so much as it fell to them. When the laborer left, they remained.

The smug style arose to answer these questions. It provided an answer so simple and so emotionally satisfying that its success was perhaps inevitable: the theory that conservatism, and particularly the kind embraced by those out there in the country, was not a political ideology at all.

The trouble is that stupid hicks don't know what's good for them. They're getting conned by right-wingers and tent revivalists until they believe all the lies that've made them so wrong. They don't know any better. That's why they're voting against their own self-interest.

Over 20 years, an industry arose to cater to the smug style. It began in humor, and culminated for a time in The Daily Show, a program that more than any other thing advanced the idea that liberal orthodoxy was a kind of educated savvy and that its opponents were, before anything else, stupid.

Elites, real elites, might recognize one another by their superior knowledge. The smug recognize one another by their mutual knowing. Knowing, for example, that the Founding Fathers were all secular deists. Knowing that you're actually, like, 30 times more likely to shoot yourself than an intruder. Knowing that those fools out in Kansas are voting against their own self-interest and that the trouble is Kansas doesn't know any better. Knowing all the jokes that signal this knowledge.

If there is a single person who exemplifies the dumbass hick in the smug imagination, it is former President George W. Bush. He's got the accent. He can't talk right. He seems stupefied by simple concepts, and his politics are all gee-whiz Texas ignorance.

He got all the way to White House, and he's still being taken for a ride by the scheming rightwing oligarchs around him — just like those poor rubes in Kansas. If only George knew Dick Cheney wasn't acting in his own best interests!

It is worth considering that Bush is the son of a president, a patrician born in Connecticut and educated at Andover and Harvard and Yale.

It is worth considering that he does not come from a family known for producing poor minds.

It is worth considering that beginning with his 1994 gubernatorial debate against Ann Richards, and at every juncture thereafter, opponents have been defeated after days of media outlets openly speculating whether George was up to the mental challenge of a one-on-one debate.

On November 6, 2000, during his final pre-election stump speech, Bush explained his history of political triumph thusly: "They misunderesimated me."

What an idiot. American liberals made fun of him for that one for years.

It is worth considering that he didn't misspeak.

He did, however, deliberately cultivate the confusion. He understood the smug style. He wagered that many liberals, eager to see their opponents as intellectually deficient, would buy into the act and thereby miss the more pernicious fact of his moral deficits.

He wagered correctly. Smug liberals said George was too stupid to get elected, too stupid to get reelected, too stupid to pass laws or appoint judges or weather a political fight. Liberals misunderestimated George W. Bush all eight years of his presidency.

George W. Bush is not a dumbass hick. In eight years, all the sick Daily Show burns in the world did not appreciably undermine his agenda.

In December 2015, Public Policy Polling found that 30 percent of Republicans were in favor of bombing Agrabah, the Arab-sounding fictional city from Disney's Aladdin. Hilarious. PPP has run joke questions before, of course: polling the popularity of Deez Nuts, or asking after God's job approval. But these questions, at least, let their audience in on the gag. Now liberalism is deliberately setting up the last segment of the population actually willing to endure a phone survey in service of what it knew would make for some hilarious copy when the rubes inevitably fell for it. This is not a survey in service of a joke — it is a survey in service of a human punchline. As if only Republicans covered up gaps in their knowledge by responding to what they assume is a good-faith question by guessing from their general principles.

Rarely: Maybe they're savvier than we thought. Maybe they're angry for a reason.

But in the president's formulation and in the formulation of smug stylists who have embraced some material account of uncool attitudes, the downturn, the jobs lost and the opportunities narrowed, are a force of nature — something that has "been happening" in the passive voice.

This, I suspect, will one day become the Republican Party's rationale for addressing climate change: Look, we don't know how the dead hooker wound up in the hotel room. But she's here now, that's undeniable, so we've gotta get rid of the body. Today, it is the excuse of American smug mind: Where did all of these poor people come from?

If the smug style can be reduced to a single sentence, it's, Why are they voting against their own self-interest? But no party these past decades has effectively represented the interests of these dispossessed. Only one has made a point of openly disdaining them too.

But few opinion makers fraternize with the impoverished. Few editors and legislators and Silicon Valley heroes have dinner with the lovely couple on food stamps down the road, much less those scraping by in Indiana.

Nothing is more confounding to the smug style than the fact that the average Republican is better educated and has a higher IQ than the average Democrat. That for every overpowered study finding superior liberal open-mindedness and intellect and knowledge, there is one to suggest that Republicans have the better of these qualities.

Most damning, perhaps, to the fancy liberal self-conception: Republicans score higher in susceptibility to persuasion. They are willing to change their minds more often.

The Democratic coalition in the 21st century is bifurcated: It has the postgraduates, but it has the disenfranchised urban poor as well, a group better defined by race and immigration status than by class.

But observe how quickly professed concern for the oppressed becomes another shibboleth for the smug, another kind of knowing. Mere awareness of these issues becomes the most important thing, the capacity to articulate them a new subset of Correct Facts.

Pretend for a moment that all of it is true. That the smug style apprehended the world as it really is, that knowing — or knowing, no inflection — did make our political divide. What kind of world would it leave us? The smug style demands an object of disdain; it would find a new one quickly. It is central to the liberal self-conception that what separates them from reactionaries is a desire to help people, a desire to create a fairer and more just world. Liberals still want, or believe they still want, to make a more perfect union. It is impossible, in the long run, to cleave the desire to help people from the duty to respect them. It becomes all at once too easy to decide you know best, to never hear, much less ignore, protest to the contrary.

At present, many of those most in need of the sort of help liberals believe they can provide despise liberalism, and are despised in turn.

What kind of political movement is predicated on openly disdaining the very people it is advocating for?

The smug style, at bottom, is a failure of empathy. Further: It is a failure to believe that empathy has any value at all.

It is the notion that anybody worthy of liberal time and attention and respect must capitulate, immediately, to the Good Facts. If they don't (and they won't) you're free to write them off and mock them. When they suffer, it's their just desserts.

In many of these areas, the only Muslims you see are in movies like “American Sniper.” (I knew zero Muslims before going to college in another state.) You never see gay couples or even interracial ones. Much of rural and exurban American is a time capsule to America’s past.

That was when I realized that not supporting gay marriage meant to actively deny rights to someone I knew personally. I wouldn’t be denying marriage rights to other people; I would be denying marriage rights to Dave. I would have to look Dave in the eye and say, “Dave, you deserve fewer rights than me. You deserve a lesser human experience.”

I have some extended family in rural New Jersey. Some of them had never been to D.C. before visiting me. They had never made the short drive to see the Constitution in person. They had not seen the Apollo moon lander, nor George Washington’s Revolutionary War uniform.

To pin this election on the coastal elite is a cop-out. It’s intellectually dishonest, and it’s beneath us.

We, as a culture, have to stop infantilizing and deifying rural and white working-class Americans. Their experience is not more of a real American experience than anyone else’s, but when we say that it is, we give people a pass from seeing and understanding more of their country. More Americans need to see more of the United States.

And, of course, people on the coasts could stand to meet more rural and exurban people, to understand why they are anxious about a changing world and less economic opportunity. But rural and exurban people need to see more of America. People do not understand the depths of how little rural America travels and sees other people and cultures.

What we are seeing is a reaction to a rapidly changing world. A world that is becoming more connected. A world that is more diverse. A world where education and skills are necessary for good jobs.

Change has not been kind to the Midwest and rural America.

And rather than embrace it, rural and white working-class Americans are twisting and turning, fighting it every step of the way. We will never return to the days where a white man could barely graduate high school and walk onto a factory floor at 18 and get a well-paying job for life. That hasn’t set in for much of the Midwest.

Let me tell you about the Ohio I know: It’s the birth place of the Wright Brothers and our first astronauts, John Glenn and Neil Armstrong. It’s where the generals who won the Civil War came from and the politicians that led Reconstruction after our darkest hour.

The Secret Service was originally created to combat currency counterfeiting. It was an arm of the US Treasury until 2003 when it was transferred to the newly created Department of Homeland Security

Apparently it was born from an unofficial spy network of the Union during the Civil War. Keep that in mind that it was a band of skilled investigators who offered their services to the government. After the war, they were set to the task of finding the source of fake money that accounted for almost 1/3 of all currency in circulation at the time. It was a huge issue.

I am not an expert, but I think that the end of your response had a bit of an error of assumption. You wrote that after Adams took the presidency, "the White house remained open to the public for decades after that." The problem, of course, is that the White House was not officially completed until after John Adams moved into it in late 1800. In 1798, as OP specified, John Adams lived in the President's House on Market Street in Philadelphia, PA. In that case, he probably had even more contact with constituents than later when he moved into the White House. There is a story, for example, of when George Washington died in 1799 and Mrs. Adam's hosted several hundred mourners in the drawingroom of the President's House.

"this is America!" Ignoring that until Hitler, Germans felt the same way about "but this is Germany!"

On an intellectual level, abstractly, nevertrumpers like my mom know it is unacceptable to give nazis positions of power. Absolutely. How they react when one is literally given a position of power, is a good litmus test of how much leeway that nazi will have.

This is also an obedience test for his enemies outside of his party. Internet radicals, millennial antifas: what resistance do they offer? Do his enemies outside the party respond to a nazi being put in power, by loudly disrupting the process of normalizing this? Or do they write very witty jokes and sell artisanal safety pin jewelry on etsy and write thinkpieces on Hogwarts? It's a simple obedience test. It doesn't seem, on its surface, like a life or death decision. But, it's the first of several tests each of which determine how far supporters will go and how little enemies will do. Each obedience test will occur after the results of the last have been sufficiently normalized. The moment America normalizes the result of this obedience test, there will be another, with slightly higher stakes. Those higher stakes will not look higher. After you put the first nazi in power, is a second one really that huge a thing to get around? How you react to this obedience test, is exactly how you will react to the next. It'll feel just as easy/difficult morally.

That last obedience test always happens. And: fascism moves faster than you expect. It doesn't take long for the ramp to reach it. How long? It took Hitler, in an age before instant ubiquitous communication, 4 months to lead up to that question.

Donald Trump is a poor person's idea of a rich person.

Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat, but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.

—John Steinbeck

A common and seemingly reasonable argument for white pride or white nationalism is "why can't I be proud of my culture?" Well, you can. Always have been able to. We have Irish pride celebrations, we have German drinking festivals, we have Serbian food festivals. Any European culture you can think of has multiple organizations in North America dedicated to taking pride in their heritage and NO ONE gives them shit for it. But, you see, when you start talking "white pride", that's not a culture. That's a skin colour. There is no white culture, never was. There is no pan-European culture, never was. Europe is a continent, not a culture or ethnicity. Now, some of you are probably about to go "But wait! Black pride! How is that okay?" Well, easy. Go find a black person and ask them if their ancestors were slaves. When you find one who says "yes", proceed to ask them "what country in Africa were your ancestors from?" Do you know what their answer will probably be? "I don't know." This is because their culture was taken from them. It was beaten out of them. They were enslaved, Christianized, and then white washed. The one unifying feature they have as a people is that history of slavery and that history of being black. They can't have Liberian pride, or Congolese pride, or "insert African country" pride because they have no fucking idea where their ancestors came from other than the broad region of West Africa. Meanwhile us white people can often trace our ancestors to specific cities and regions. I can trace my mother's maiden name to a single fucking village in Ireland. I know where I came from. I don't have white culture, I have Irish culture.

As a black guy, I've always been....disappointed, that all I am is "black". Whereas a white guy can say "I'm 1/4 Polish, 1/4 Italian, 1/4 English and 1/4 German". You have all this rich culture going back 100s of years. And all I have is my "blackness", despite specific peoples in Africa having deep histories and had made great contributions to the world. I have no way to identify with any of that, because as you said and as I've thought, my history/culture was stripped from me before I was born.

I'm a legal researcher rather than historian, so I may not have suitable expertise or sources, but many of the taxes were repealed. A tl;dr would be that they needed the money, but also wanted not to be seen as compromising; they wanted to assert their right to impose taxes, even if they knew it was kind of wrong. In the early 1760s the British Government was broke - having just fought the Seven Years' War. It decided to tax the colonies to raise revenue. It started with the Sugar Act in 1764. This replaced an earlier Molasses Act - which imposed taxes on rum etc. imported from non-British colonies, largely to limit imports from them (favouring the British colonies instead). The Molasses Act taxes weren't really enforced, though. The new Sugar Act taxes were lower, but were enforced much more strongly, and were explicitly about raising revenue (to pay for the British standing army in North America) rather than influencing trade. The main opposition to this was probably economical rather than constitutional. The next big set of taxes were those in the Stamp Act - past in 1765 and repealed in 1766. This mainly involved requirements that all sorts of paper documents (both official ones, but also things like newspapers and playing cards) be printed on paper bought in London and stamped with an official Government stamp (and taxed in London). Stamp taxes were seen as very effective and cheap to collect, and the British Government needed the money. However, after opposition (and boycotts that were causing further financial problems), the Great British Parliament repealed the Act in 1766 (and some of the Sugar Act), but felt the need to pass the American Colonies Act (or Declaratory Act) - stating that they maintained the right to impose taxes on the colonies. The Townshend Acts came next - a series of Acts passed in the late 1760s that imposed more taxes on the colonies. Initially these were supposed to be for funding the militias, but were used to fund local government officials and judges - so they were paid by the British Government rather than the local governments, and were more likely to be loyal to Great Britain. These were justified from a political position by being "external" taxes; taxes imposed on stuff exported from elsewhere in the British domain to the colonies, rather than taxes imposed on stuff going on in the colonies. But obviously this didn't make any difference to the opposition. The Townshend Acts were largely repealed in 1770 (interestingly, the bill to do so was introduced on the same day as the Boston Massacre). However, while many in Parliament wanted to repeal all the taxes, the Government insisted on keeping the tax on tea imports as a way of asserting that Parliament still had the right to tax the colonies. It was a way of saving face and not being seen as compromising too much. The repeal also didn't remove the notoriously corrupt American Board of Customs (which was seen as a major face of the British Government in the colonies), and kept the financial control over government officials. Finally, then, there was the Tea Act 1773. This wasn't really about the colonies, but about keeping the British East India Company afloat (although a large chunk of its problems were due to boycotts and smuggling in the colonies due to the Townshend Acts taxes). It let the Company import tea directly to the colonies (rather than it having to be sold in London at auction), and waived or refunded all taxes on tea exports from London (to make it easier for the Company to sell off its surplus stock). The then Prime Minister behind this supposedly thought he was being really clever; by allowing direct importing and removing the export taxes, the price of British-controlled tea in the colonies should have dropped significantly, undercutting the smugglers, and encouraging the purchase of British tea again. But in order to do that, the colonists would implicitly be accepting Parliament's taxes. There were suggestions that the Tea Act should repeal the Townshend Acts tax on tea as well, but the Government refused as it wanted the money (and the principle). Of course, this backfired immensely; uniting the wealthy merchants who would lose out from acting as middle men in the tea business with the smugglers losing out from the lower taxes, and the political protesters who saw this as validating and re-affirming the unconstitutional tea taxes. And it led to protests, most notably the Boston Tea Party. Which led to retaliation from the British Government, and things spiralled into war. Interestingly, after this Parliament passed the Taxation of Colonies Act 1778 as an attempt at ending the war by conceding the argument. The Act stated that the British Government would no longer impose any taxes on the British colonies in the Americas and West Indies for raising revenue - only for regulating trade, and those taxes would go to the colonies not Westminster. But firstly it wasn't binding on future British Parliaments (basic British constitutional law), and secondly it was too late; the war was already in full swing. The Taxation of Colonies Act was finally repealed in 1973, as part of the general cleaning up of statute books that goes on in the UK.

only slightly less than 1/2 of the federal government debt is in bonds. almost a third of the debt, believe it or not, is actually money owed to vendors on net credit accounts. 13% is loans from the federal reserve, and 13% is owed to the state and local governments, mostly as block grant money that is due to them.


"One of the most important achievements of the Civil Rights Movement was to take the authority over moral character away from white men," Goff told me. "There's no credential that [restores it] — having a black friend or relative is not sufficient."

Goff said that the casting of racism as an evil worthy of condemnation made all the ways white people expressed their bigotry taboo. Those taboos are, in part, what people are referring to when they rail against political correctness.

One way to argue that the evil of racism is not uniquely wedded to whiteness is to argue that it is a moral failing that lives equally in blackness.

Last year, two professors wrote in the Washington Post about their research showing that white Americans think anti-white bias has been on the rise in recent decades, and that it now constitutes a bigger problem in the country than anti-black bias.

"This perception is fascinating, as it stands in stark contrast to data on almost any outcome that has been assessed," professors Samuel Sommers and Michael Norton wrote. "From life expectancy to school discipline to mortgage rejection to police use of force, outcomes for white Americans tend to be — in the aggregate — better than outcomes for black Americans, often substantially so. (While a disturbing uptick in the mortality rate among middle-aged whites has received a great deal of recent media attention, it is worth noting that even after this increase, the rate remains considerably lower than that of blacks.)"

Already, 60 percent of our carbon-free electricity comes from the 99 nuclear reactors that dot the nation’s map, from Avila Beach, Calif., to Seabrook, N.H. These reactors provide low-cost, reliable electricity for the United States, which uses nearly 20 percent of the world’s electricity. But over the next decade, at least eight of these reactors are scheduled to shut down. That will push up carbon emissions from the American electricity sector by nearly 3 percent, according to the United States Energy Information Administration.

In California, the closing of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in 2012 contributed to a 24 percent increase in carbon emissions from the electricity sector, according to data from the California Environmental Protection Agency Air Resources Board. Carbon emissions from the electricity sector in New England rose 5 percent in 2015, the first year-to-year increase since 2010, largely because of the closing of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station in December 2014, according to ISO New England, the region’s grid operator.

In roughly two decades, the United States could lose about half its reactors. That’s because, by 2038, 50 reactors will be at least 60 years old, and will face having to close, representing nearly half of the nuclear generating capacity in the United States.

Unfortunately, some of our federal policies to encourage clean energy, such as the Clean Energy Incentive Program within President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, do not explicitly include or incentivize nuclear power. Likewise, some states have chosen to adopt policies, such as renewable portfolio standards, that do not include or incentivize nuclear power.

At the same time, our energy markets do not currently account for the value of carbon-free power, a failure that puts nuclear power at an unfair and economically inefficient disadvantage to fossil fuels like coal and natural gas.

Conservative contradictions:


There are more public libraries in the United States than McDonalds.

There are more subway restaurants in the world than mcdonalds

1 of out every 20 Americans is now a millionaire.

Really a demographic story more than a wealth story, although it's also a wealth story relative to the world. The Baby Boom retirement wave is on...

Also, strange to see that a country as rich as ours has a median wealth of $55k. I think most Americans would be very surprised to find we have more in common with Greece in terms of personal wealth than we do with the UK, which has a median wealth nearly double ours.

The most interesting part to me was:

Despite its plurality of millionaires, the U.S.’s median wealth of $55,876 puts it 21st place in the world, alongside Austria and Greece.

To me this suggests that it's possible to accumulate more wealth in the US than many other countries, but not everyone is able to do so. Wealth inequality is higher in the US than the countries at the top of the median wealth list. Higher incomes are taxed more heavily in the other countries than in the US, but the social programs (health, school, etc) that are provided for free mean that all people in those countries can save more money.

The majority of people with an individual net worth over $500M live in the United States. Of 6610 people qualifying in 2017, 1830 lived in the United States.

Atlantic City was the East coast version of Las Vegas during the prohibition era. It barely has any prominence today except for what it used to be.

For 50 years after its debut in 1892, the Pledge of Allegiance was accompanied by the so-called "Bellamy Salute": extending the right hand, palm upward, toward the flag ... and holding the position until the end.

Italian fascists adopted a similar (purportedly Roman) gesture in the early Twentieth Century, which Hitler and the Nazis took up in the 1930s. The ensuring controversy prompted Congress to amend the Flag Code in 1942 and institute a new right hand over the heart practice.

Responding to a video of a group of white male teenagers harassing a Native American man:

That video features another Trump-era phenomenon that we just seem take for granted, now: When bigots want to harass maringalized people, they can simply chant one of the president’s slogans. Or don his hat. Or yell out his name. And everyone knows what it means.

—Radley Balko