United States of America

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United States of America
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The United States of America (USA), often known simply as the United States, is a capitalist and imperialist state and the foremost superpower of the world. The United States came into being during the American Revolution with the ratification of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. It currently boasts the world's largest economy at 15% of the world's GDP (PPP),[1] and it continues to exert tremendous influence in the many imperialist organizations it has created, including NATO, the Organization of American States, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the National Endowment for Democracy, the U.S. Agency for Global Media, and Human Rights Watch. The US has developed an immense and thorough apparatus for maintaining its power and dominance through economic, judicial, political, proxy, and direct warfare, inevitably leading to tremendous atrocities which the state tends to cover up and deny. The current and future situation of United States hegemony has come into question since the dawn of the 21st century due to causes which are still debated.

The American political system is deeply corrupt, but euphemisms like "lobbying", practices like the revolving door, and legal loopholes like "nonprofit" organizations which launder contributions, help to obfuscate its true nature. Because of the entrenchment and hegemony of bourgeois wealth in politics, the government is not broadly representative of its people, and what freedom exists often tends to benefit the property-owning classes rather than to bolster the dwindling personal and civil liberties of ordinary Americans. From its seat in the United Nations, the US has opposed the recognition of the human right to food, paid maternity leave, and affordable/sustainable energy;[2][3] abstained on the right to clean water and sanitation;[4] declined to recognize the rights of children, Indigenous people, and the disabled;[citation needed] and has repeatedly opposed resolutions to condemn racial discrimination and the glorification of Nazism,[3][5] often breaking with the position of most of the world. The pervasiveness of anti-communist ideology, close relationship between government officials and corporate leadership, pro-war tendencies, increasing state surveillance and decrease in civil liberties, and the presence of chauvinism, patriarchy, and systemic racism makes the US a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie with traits of fascism.[6][7][8]

Many Americans are convinced into the support or otherwise dismissal of their country's inhumanity by concessions and ideology, especially American exceptionalism, concealing the contradictions of capitalism so that the working peoples do not seek to dismantle the status quo. Some Americans believe that the American press is a free one, but American news networks like CNN and Fox News still staunchly support the bourgeoisie and the state despite being privately owned. In spite of the propaganda, Americans generally have a vague understanding that their country is heading in the wrong direction, with over three-quarters reporting dissatisfaction with the current state of their nation.[9]

Despite its overall wealth, very many in the US remain economically immiserated, especially in states like Mississippi, which is poorly developed and has one-fifth of its population living in poverty.[10] Mississippi is also the state with the highest percentage of African-Americans, reflecting the country's immense racial inequality and abiding racial tensions which continue to worsen.[11] The country ranks relatively low in education for its level of wealth,[12] with higher education often burdening students with debt that takes an average of 20 years to pay off,[13] and spends twice the proportion of its GDP on healthcare compared to other developed countries[14] [failed verification] [dead link] despite providing less coverage. [citation needed] About a quarter of Americans reported putting off treatment for a serious condition in 2019 due to cost, with about a third doing so for any health issue,[15] and 56% of Americans lack even the savings to cover even a $1,000 emergency expense, meaning even an unexpected car repair could send them into debt.[16] The United States also greatly suffers from pollution caused by deregulation (in sectors like animal agriculture) and an absence of nationwide quality standards or relevant funding, [clarification needed] leaving half of all US water unsuitable for swimming, fishing, or drinking.[17] US infrastructure is also poor, with many bridges needing repair, millions of people exposed to dangerous levels of lead in water, poor city planning, and aging power grids that buckle under stress. The nation's various crises and issues may even have a hampering effect on the success of its imperalism, seeing as over 70% of young Americans are reportedly ineligible, due to obesity, education problems, or crime and drug records, to join the US military; for selective branches like the Marine Corps the number may be as high as 93%.[18]



Karl Marx considered the American Revolution to be a historically progressive bourgeois revolution which held great importance for the defeat of feudal society and the spread of bourgeois democracy and liberal thought. In comparison to the French Revolution, however, it was rather conservative, and when it came time for the American revolutionaries to support the French movement they had inspired, they vacillated as much as did their British cousins.

Jacksonian Democracy (1828–1854)

Crisis and civil war (1854–1865)

Slavery first spread to the colonies in the 17th century but only exploded in profitability in the 1790s, when the Industrial Revolution increased British demand for cotton and the labor-saving "cotton gin" revolutionized the production process. To quote Edward E. Baptist's The Half Has Never Been Told:

…Despite something of a northern consensus that slavery was backward and inefficient, and despite the hard times of the previous decade, plenty of southern readers and talkers answered the question of whether or not the South could continue to use slavery as its recipe for modern economic development with a resounding yes.…

By 1860, the eight wealthiest states in the United States, ranked by wealth per white person, were South Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, Connecticut, Alabama, Florida, and Texas⁠—seven states created by cotton's march west and south, plus one that, as the most industrialized state in the Union, profited disproportionately from the gearing of northern factory equipment to the southwestern whipping-machine.

In the long run, of course, capitalist farming proved to be superior. [citation needed] In fact, among the reasons why slaveowners wanted the "freedom" to extend slavery into new territories and states was to offset soil erosion and to prevent slaves from accumulating in one area, increasing the threat of a serious slave revolt. This conflict would ultimately trigger a crisis in the 1850s.

Marx and Engels themselves discussed the Civil War as it was in progress, making many accurate predictions, including that the war would have to attack slavery as an institution in order to succeed. [citation needed] Marxists have continued to discuss the war to the present day, including historian Herbert Aptheker in a summary of the origins and course of the war. According to Aptheker, war resulted when the emerging industrial bourgeoisie came to see the spread of slavery in the American West as hostile to its own economic interests and lent its support to the Republican Party for its explicit opposition to this expansion. This would also have the benefit of slowly undermining the political power of slaveowners in the Senate and Supreme Court as more free (non-slave) states were added to the Union. The industrial bourgeoisie had no interest in waging war against slavery otherwise and was only forced to do so after the slaveowners, in response to the election of Lincoln, seceded and took up arms instead of accepting a gradual and peaceful demise. The Union government continued to insist until well into the war that its aim was to force the seceding states to accept the results of the election and bring them back into the Union, rather than to abolish slavery itself.

Some sections of the American bourgeoisie, in fact, were able to profit from slavery and supported its preservation.[a] British capitalists, interested in weakening the Union as well as ending the blockade which had induced a "cotton famine" in the textile trade, sympathized with the Confederate cause and attempted to find pretexts to support them, including the so-called Trent Affair, as Marx describes in his correspondence for the New York Tribune. While British workers had cause to sympathize with the anti-slavery Union, being hurt by competition with slave labor and receiving almost none of the gains [clarification needed], they also, according to Marx, suffered from unemployment on account of the cotton shortage, but continued to show solidarity and to oppose the craven bourgeoisie in its efforts to aid reaction.

Era of labor struggle (1865–1933)

One of the parts of American history least understood by modern Americans is the true scale of the labor struggles that occurred between 1860 and 1950.

Strike of 1877

At least 100 demonstrators were killed nationally during the suppression of the Strike of 1877.[19]

Haymarket Affair

The Haymarket Affair is the origin of the worldwide celebration of Labor Day on May the 1st.

List of violent suppressions

The era of labor struggle was saturated with outbreaks of violence. Some of the most prominent include:

  • The Pullman strike, 1874; about 70 killed
  • The Molly Maguire hangings, 1877; 10 men executed after mine owner Franklin Gowen framed and personally prosecuted them for sedition
  • The Homestead strike, 1892; Andrew Carnegie enlisted the state militia, resulting in deaths on both sides
  • The Ludlow Massacre, 1914; 19 killed, mostly women and children
  • The Coal Wars, a series of disparate struggles often involving the police
  • The Flint sitdown strike, 1936, in which police threatened to use machine guns

New Deal (1933–1947)

The New Deal program of President Franklin D. Roosevelt began a period of concessions and compromise between American labor and capital (roughly patterned after similar concessions won in Europe) with the stated aim of reducing unemployment and poverty. However, liberal historians debate whether the Keynesian New Deal or the state capitalism of the wartime era did more to alleviate the Depression. In any case, Roosevelt was one of the most radical presidents in recent memory, pushing against the bounds of the American political and legal systems in order to enact his reforms. His popularity was overwhelming, creating a coalition which would last decades, and his four-term tenure directly resulted in the modern two-term maximum.

Suppression (1947–1950s)

The First Red Scare was an open attack on domestic labor and radical politics, culminating in 1919 with the Palmer Raids and the deportation of hundreds of communists and anarchists.

After World War II, when the wartime pact between labor and capital came to an end, the struggle resumed on a national scale and fiercer than ever. President Truman used federal power to put down an attempted rail strike in 1946, but otherwise attempted to continue the New Deal agenda and push forward labor rights in the face of renewed Republican opposition. Truman was defeated, and the Republicans enacted the repressive Taft-Hartley Act, in legal force to this day.

While Taft-Hartley was an effective legal attack against labor, an attack on the ideological front was needed. The Second Red Scare, later known as the McCarthy Era, was a simultaneous attack against the Soviet Union and against domestic labor, creating an effective weapon against the most radical elements of the labor movement. Liberal unionists like John L. Lewis of the AFL were a crucial piece of the McCarthyist suppression apparatus, banning organizers and reporting them to the HUAC. Actors like John Wayne produced propaganda films about communist influence among the "good" liberal unions, and future presidents Richard Nixon, a red-baiting California politician, and Ronald Reagan, anti-communist snitch while President of SAG, counted among the Inquisitors' ranks.

Crisis (1960s–1981)

The rate of profit crashed during the 1960s, producing an acute crisis by the end of the decade. In addition, social contradictions came to the fore, including racial oppression and opposition to the massive Vietnam War effort.

Jim Crow

Neoliberal turn (1981–2016)

Jimmy Carter pioneered several elements of the neoliberal push. Paul Volcker was his appointee. However, the election of Ronald Reagan signalled the onset of an openly reactionary push against labor and American Blacks.


Crisis of neoliberalism (2016–present)

In the early 2000s, several signs of instability were present, including the highly contested 2000 election, the 2001 attacks, the Dot-com crash, and the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. This became a crisis in earnest with the 2008 recession, Obama's "Pivot to Asia" policy, and the collapse of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The details of this crisis are still recent and are therefore debated. In any case, the election of Donald Trump, the deaths of over one million due to COVID, the 2020 George Floyd unrest, and the January 6th Capital riot all indicate a newly sharpened domestic crisis, and internationally the US continues its belligerent policy in Ukraine and the Pacific Ocean. Trust in the political process has eroded, and gun violence, mass shootings, and general crime have all exploded since 2020.


While the US undoubtedly has the greatest track record of imperialism, it also supported plenty of independence movements for the purpose of replacing colonial influence with a new global free-trade regime which served to benefit the US. This was the case in India, Africa, Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh himself was partnered with early on), and China, where the US pushed for the Open Door policy that would prevent European powers from carving up China and instead establish a policy of free trade.

The US also opposed the 1956 invasion of Egypt by Israel, the United Kingdom, and France in the Suez Crisis, triggered when the Egyptian leadership nationalized the Suez Canal. The canal's previous owners were Europeans who feared it could be closed to block oil shipments from the Persian Gulf to Europe, with Israel also particularly upset with Egypt for blocking the Straits of Tiran. The US sided with Egypt against its own allies and even threatened to refuse a massive loan the British needed for several reasons, for one being that it would destabilize the region and strengthen Soviet-backed liberation movements. [clarification needed] There were also protests in oil-rich and strategically important Islamic countries that were feared to come under Soviet influence, [clarification needed] with the US also wanting to prop up the anti-Soviet Middle Eastern Defense Organization. The Soviets also threatened to nuke the United Kingdom, France, and Israel if they did not withdraw. Although the three invading powers could have reasonably secured victory in Egypt, pressure from the United States ended up causing their withdrawal, a political defeat for the invaders. Many consider the Suez Crisis to be a final indicator that the British and French had lost their status as world powers and that the United States would be taking over as capitalist hegemon.

The US has around 80% of the world's foreign military bases, with roughly 750 of them in over 80 countries and costing the US over $80 billion a year. Al-Qaeda recruitment correlates with US troop presence in the Middle East, which conveniently gives more of an excuse to conduct aggressive intervention in the region. [clarification needed] [20]


The US spends more on its military than the next 9 countries — China, India, the UK, Russia, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Japan, and South Korea — combined. In 2021, its expenditure was $801 billion.[21] Its carbon emissions are greater than 140 whole countries, putting it on par with the entire emissions of Portugal or Finland.[22]

Funds transfers

By leveraging its general influence and the dependence of international payments systems on its clearing houses, the United States projects inordinately large authority over transfers of funds around the world. Part of this is done through the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), which provides services for transferring payments between banks worldwide. Despite being based in Belgium, its data is intercepted and retained by the NSA[23] and the US government uses it to cut off several countries at odds with US foreign policy, including Iran, North Korea, and Russia, from banking services on the system. Around half of international trade is dollar-denominated, with the bulk of that cleared through US banks — as it is then under US jurisdiction, the government can then monitor, deny, or even seize transfers.[24] In 2012 for example, a Danish businessman bought $20,000 of Cuban cigars from a Hamburg-based distributor, but the transaction, which was routed through the US, was frozen by authorities there on the basis that it violated the American trade embargo against Cuba — though the businessman appealed, he was informed it will not be returned to him.[25]

Modern politics

The United States is ostensibly a democratic republic, although the interest of the people is not represented in spite of this. Wealthy capitalists fund lobbying efforts to get representatives to act as they want, rather than what people need. Other times, consent for predetermined causes is manufactured by manipulating public opinion in favor of it. Thus a more realistic term that describes the Statesian political system is "oligarchy".

Bourgeois domination in election campaigns

The Citizens United Supreme Court case in 2010 allowed for the rise of "super PACs", which unlike regular political action committees can raise unlimited funds for political campaigns as long as they do not coordinate with them. This allowed wealthy individuals to translate much more of their wealth into political power — billionaire contributions rose 40-fold from the decision in 2010 to the 2020 Presidential election.[26] From 2009 to 2020, just 12 people accounted for 7.5% of all federal campaign donations.[27] This trend was aided by another Supreme Court case, McCutcheon v. FEC, which in 2014 decided that an earlier limit on the two-year aggregate campaign contributions of an individual is unconstitutional.

Voter suppression

Many people in the US, especially ethnic minorities, the poor, and students, are effectively unable to vote through various methods, including the removal of proximate voting booths. While much of this is carried out by Republicans, the Democratic establishment also benefits through the suppression of more radical voices. In the case of college students, a disproportionate amount of them vote in early-voting periods — the Texas legislature for example, in response outlawed polling places which did not stay open for an entire 12-day period, practically shutting them down. In New Hampshire, where many students come to out of state, a new law was passed which required them to get a New Hampshire driver's license and auto registration in order to vote; which can cost hundreds of dollars annually. Preceding this piece of legislation was the state's Republican House speaker, William O’Brien, promising in 2011 to clamp down on unrestricted voting by students, calling them “kids voting liberal, voting their feelings, with no life experience.” From 2014 to 2018 Florida flat out banned early voting sites at state universities, effectively reinstated in 2019 by a law that requires all early-voting sites to offer “sufficient non-permitted parking” — a difficulty for densely packed campuses. In 2018, North Carolina enacted a voter ID law that recognized student identification as valid, but with requirements so cumbersome that universities were unable to comply — despite a later relaxation of the rules, under half of the state's schools have certified their IDs for voting. In Wisconsin, poll checkers are required to check for signatures only on student IDs, though some schools remove signatures from their IDs as a security measure due to the cards working also as debit cards and dorm room keys. Furthermore, the IDs used for voting expire in two years, whereas most college IDs expire in four, with students further mandated to show proof of enrollment before being allowed to vote. Though these measures were stated to combat fraud, there is no record of intentional student voter fraud in the state. In states like Texas and Tennessee there are laws intended to get high school students to register to vote, although either through a loophole or just refusal, this often does not happen.[28]

Voter roll purges are another abused mechanism that have been used to decrease the share of non-white voter turnout. They have have significantly increased since the 2013 Shelby v. Holder Supreme Court decision which gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965, effectively allowing states with a long history of discrimination to no longer have to get permission before changing their election processes or policies.[29]

Some states also disenfranchise felons even long after they have served their sentences — in Mississippi for example, 11% of the adult population is prevented from voting due to Jim Crow-era laws that disenfranchise even many people who committed nonviolent crimes.[30]

Two-party system

Yes, we have one party here. But so does America. Except, with typical extravagance, they have two of them!

— Julius Nyerere, anti-colonial leader of Tanzania and its predecessor Tanganyika from 1961–1985[31]

United States elections generally use the first-past-the-post method, where the candidate with the most votes is the winner, rather than for example allocating each party an amount of seats in the legislature proportionate to its votes. This compels smaller parties to append themselves to either of the two major parties that they most agree with. This leads many to feel they are not really represented in government. As George Washington was finishing his second term in 1796, he warned in his Farewell Address about the negative impact that opposing political parties would have on the country — and right with his successor John Adams the two-party system was established.

Wherever they differ, Republicans and Democrats constantly undo or sabotage each other's work, such as by legislating a repeal of previous programs, refusing to fund them, forcing a watered-down compromise,[32] filibustering, or even refusing to enforce and uphold such programs. As the United States is strongly federated, with each of its states having considerable power to decide things on its own, many programs enacted nationally fail to be implemented in parts of the country whose governors and legislature are of the other party. This is as seen with the No Child Left Behind Act, the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare), and response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In practice and especially on the most meaningful topics the two parties are very similar to each other. While Democrats have a more progressive veneer of the two, they like Republicans are a party oriented towards things like privatization, deregulation, imperialist war, and funding the military-industrial complex, as well as neglecting to substantially address racial inequality or the war on drugs. Examples of the two parties having essentially the same attitudes are plentiful and pervade through history:

  • Bailing out large financial institutions in 2008 by mostly injecting capital into them
  • In 2021 the Senate proposed a bilateral infrastructure plan that would be funded by privatizing existing infrastructure. Democrats strongly condemned this idea four years prior when Donald Trump proposed it, but then backed it as part of Joe Biden's infrastructure agenda; despite having earlier pointed out the damage the profit motive wreaks on this sector in particular.[33]
  • General deregulation for among many others, the banking, rail, energy, and airline sectors — helping create the modern state of financial meltdowns, catastrophic vehicle crashes, power outages, etc. In 1978, Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy, liberal Harvard professor (and later Supreme Court Justice) Stephen Breyer, and President Carter teamed up to begin neoliberal deregulation, creating legislation with both Republican and Democrat support in Congress. This started with the Airline Deregulation Act passed the same year, after which was targeted the transportation system and the telecommunications industry.[34] This ramped up under the Republican Reagan administration and continued beyond.
  • Creating a police state
  • Backing wars in places like Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and many others
  • With near unanimity, constantly restocking Israel's Iron Dome system.[35] This is just a subset of all the bombs both parties gladly send over to Israel, and this itself is separate from the ammunition and other materiel provided with the same kind of enthusiasm, altogether making for several billions of dollars in aid every year.[36]
  • Backing a prolonged conflict in Afghanistan
  • Stoking fear and aggression over China while also using this issue to increase military spending[37]
  • Creating the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, which was a unanimous act of Congress
  • Providing constant and intense support for NATO[38]
  • Regularly killing civilians with drone strikes with no internal pushback. The practice of drone strikes began under George Bush, ramped up under Obama, and continues more or less enthusiastically by everyone after him.[39]
  • Going soft on punishing large, politically well-connected companies that admit to illegal wrongdoing[40]
  • Passing trade deals that allow corporations to offshore jobs en masse to exploit cheap labor
  • Creating and fiercely supporting the war on drugs, for example through pledging to (and delivering on) expanding the police force and their budget, instituting harsher penalties, and establishing mandatory minimum sentences along with enhancements (additional penalties under certain circumstances). Even foremost Democratic politicians like John Kerry and Kamala Harris flaunt their backgrounds as prosecutors.[41] Both parties have also contributed to the discriminatory nature of the way the war on drugs was framed, where white, middle-class drug users and dealers were seen as victims and poorer, non-white users and dealers were seen as the root of the problem, with penalties for the former correspondingly being minimal while maximal for the latter.[42]
  • Rejecting and mocking calls for decisive, large-scale efforts to deal with the climate crisis. Besides outcry from media moguls like Michael Bloomberg and various liberal columnists, among the most outspoken critics are leading Democrats like Nancy Pelosi, Dianne Feinstein, Dick Durbin, and Ernest Moniz, with plenty of them being multimillionaires with investments or job positions in fossil fuel companies.[43]
  • Refusing to address the origin of extortionate costs for higher education. The "radicals" among the two parties want to have such debts paid off by the state, which is really a transfer of public funds to loan sharks — and even that is not allowed to pass.[44]
  • Moderate Democrats and Republicans, when polled on their stances on various values and opinions, are found to be almost in complete agreement with each other.[45]
  • Having close relations with convicted child sex traffickers like Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislane Maxwell. Even former presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump have taken many flights with them on their private jet called the "Lolita Express", also being recorded on numerous occasions together.[46][47]
  • Passing a measure to "denounce the horrors of socialism"; approved by a vast majority of the House of Representatives.[48]

Electoral college

While state governors are elected by popular vote, Section 2, Article 1 of the Constitution and the 12th Amendment have the president be elected by electoral votes, a system which essentially gerrymanders the country along state lines. If there are millions of votes cast in a state and a party gets just one more than the others, then it wins the entire state and the votes for the other parties have no impact on the result. One of the most extreme manifestations of such a system was in the 2000 presidential election in Florida, where nearly 6 million people voted and yet just 537 votes (0.009% of the total) resulted in all of the state's electoral votes being given to George Bush, with Florida decisively pushing Bush's electoral count number to 271, just over the 270 needed to win. Thus Bush won the election despite Al Gore having over half a million more actual votes than him nationwide. Similarly, in the 2016 presidential election Donald Trump won 34% more electoral votes than Hillary Clinton, winning the election despite having 4.6% less actual votes (nearly 2.9 million) — interestingly, Donald Trump tweeted in 2012 that "the electoral college is a disaster to democracy". Because electoral votes are partially allocated by senator count, which every state has 2 of regardless of population, this leads to a situation where voting power is determined by where one lives. In Wyoming there is one elector for around 200,000 people, whereas in California there is one for roughly every 700,000; thus the voting power of a Wyomingite is around three-and-a-half times greater than that of a Californian. This does not however compel politicians to care more about less populated states, as they are almost all safely Democrat or Republican (as Wyoming is), and thus a small group of swing states end up receiving the bulk of attention. Because of the electoral college, there is predictably lower voter turnout in states that lean considerably to a particular party as people with a minority opinion understand their vote essentially won't count.

This system has its origins in the 18th century slave-owning class of the South which realized that it would lose in direct elections, and so established a compromise where each of their slaves would count for three-fifths of an electoral vote on top of the free population, resulting in a situation where Virginia had 20% more electoral votes than Pennsylvania despite having 10% less free voters, and where slaveholding Virginians held the presidency for 32 of 36 years after the Constitution was ratified.[49]


While no consensus exists on whether or not the US qualifies as neo-fascist, the bourgeois state has repeatedly demonstrated a propensity for neo-fascism, such as in ignoring neo-fascists breaking the law,[50] permitting Eastern European neo-fascists to visit the country and train other white supremacists,[51] ignoring or obscuring neo-fascism in Europe,[52][53][54] permitting neo-fascists to run for senate,[55][56] deploying neo-fascists in other territories,[57][58][59] awarding governmental positions to some neo-fascists,[60] and supporting neo-fascist politicians in countries like Bolivia[61] and Ukraine.[62][63][64][65][66][67][68]



Despite ostensibly featuring a 40-hour work week, this remnant of 20th century labor movement victories has degraded. Since 2000 and into successive decades, the average full-time employee in the US has worked 47 hours a week, even in conditions of high unemployment such as the Great Financial Crisis that began in 2007.[69] This trend arises in the wake of neoliberalization in which practices such as mandatory overtime became widespread, with workers also "choosing" to work more as costs of living outpace wage growth.

Parental leave

The United States, despite being among the richest nations ever, is one of the seven countries in the world — the only wealthy one, that does not have mandated paid maternal leave — in contrast to the OECD average which provides 18 weeks. This is despite there being plenty of evidence that parental leave improves the well-being of parents and babies, increases women's participation in the workforce, and reduces gender pay gaps. The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 requires 12 weeks of unpaid leave for parents, conditioned by them working at least 1,250 hours over a minimum of 12 months and if there are at least 50 employees in that company. North Korea, for its part, gives 240 days of unpaid maternity leave — three times that of the USA. Only about half of American mothers take 5 or more weeks off for maternity leave, with a third taking none at all — of women making under $30,000, this rises to 62%. Whereas experts recommend six months to a year of paid maternity leave, the most radical lawmakers are only proposing 12 weeks, and they are having little success. The average amount of paid maternity leave given by companies is 8 weeks,[70][71] but most do not have access to even this; in March 2021, 23% of workers had access to paid family leave and 89% had access to unpaid family leave.[72] In the US, child care is seen as a mother's work, and despite fathers often being allowed 12 weeks of unpaid leave, 70% of them take 10 days or less — setting an enduring standard in which fathers do not fully participate in family life and which reinforces the division of labor on gendered lines, besides failing to establish a work-life balance for fathers and reifying their value as tied to their job.[73]

Child labor

The 2020s have seen multiple states seek to weaken child labor laws, with proposed and passed legislation seeking to, for example, lower the working age to 14 or 13, allow employees who are minors to be paid less than minimum wage, extend the working day of minors, limit legal protections for minor workers, and allow minors to work in dangerous environments like meat-packing plants and automobile parts factories. Already this has shown to adversely impact youth workers' school performance, sleep, and other factors of well-being, such as suffering injuries from chemical burns. These developments come as capitalists complain that they don't have the cheap labor pool they desire, especially with the tight labor market squeezing the reserve army of labour. In 2023, partially due to enhanced enforced efforts, there was a 44% increase in illegal child employment, including cases of 10-year-olds operating hot grills, ovens, and deep fryers at McDonald's.[74]

Inequality and poverty

The US has high levels of income and wealth inequality — a few people are multi-billionaires, whereas most are vulnerable to if not currently in destitution. The top 1% has 27% of the country's total wealth, which in 2021 became greater than the sum wealth of the entire middle class, often defined as the middle 60% by income, the position of which is becoming increasingly precarious.[75] Because of bourgeois lobbying, the US tax code contains many loopholes for those of means to exploit in order to legally avoid taxation. This helps lead to a situation where the country's 25 wealthiest people have an effective tax rate of 3.4%[76] despite the average worker paying 24-28% (depending on family status),[77] with one large reason for this being that investments like stocks, which account for more of capitalists' income than that of typical workers', are taxed less than that of workers' paychecks. Paychecks get automatically deducted for Social Security and Medicare and are then subject to federal and then usually state taxes — stocks meanwhile are subject to a 20% capital gains tax if held for over a year. Executives of private equity companies have a loophole that allows them to report fees from managing clients' money as investment income, which is taxed at a lower rate than ordinary income. The wealthy also establish charities that they or their associates control and then donate to them, with that money largely ending up back in their hands. This is typically done by the very wealthiest; the top 25 who are the ones with the 3.4% average tax rate versus the 22% of the top 400.[76]

Wages are not even adjusted for inflation in the US, with 64% of Americans currently living paycheck-to-paycheck.[78]

Food insecurity

One in seven children in the US live in food-insecure households. 6.1 million children nationwide directly experience reductions in dietary quality, variety, food intake, and/or suffer disrupted eating patterns.[79]


Medical debt is possibly the leading cause of bankruptcies in the United States, accounting for 40–62.1% of them. Around 41% of American adults, or around 100 million people, have medical debt, with 12% of adults having more than $10,000 of it. 63% of people with current or recent medical debt report cutting spending on basics such as food and clothing to deal with it, while 48% said they used all or most of their savings to pay it off. A quarter of medical debt holders have their bills go past due or are simply unable to pay it off. One of the largest causes of unexpectedly large medical bills is the involvement of out-of-network healthcare providers without the patient knowing about it, then the insurance either not covering the costs fully or at all. The most common types of bills that lead to medical debt are lab fees or diagnostic tests (59%), doctor visits (56%), emergency care (50%), and dental care (49%). Although there was a pricing transparency rule made in 2021 that required hospitals to post the rates they've negotiated with insurers for 300 common medical services, in reality just 14.3% of hospitals fully complied with the law.[80]


The US spends the biggest proportion of its GDP on healthcare than any other country, at about 17%, compared to an average 8.6% in other OECD states, with annual per capita healthcare spending reaching over $11,000 compared to other OECD countries that average half this sum.[14] This however does not translate into better coverage, and actually correlates with the opposite. Because of costs, about 25% of Americans put off treatment for serious conditions, with this figure rising to 33% for treatment of any kind.[15] To deal with healthcare costs, many Americans have resorted to begging from strangers and their social networks, implicitly incentivized to share their most private medical information in order to get more sympathy and interaction. On GoFundMe, one-third of all funds raised are for medical expenses, the largest category in the service, with only 10% of such campaigns succeeding.[81] The National Opinion Research Center has found in 2020 that 8 million Americans have started campaigns for themselves or someone in their household to cover anything from routine medical care to major surgeries.[82] Meanwhile, 62% of bankruptcies in the US are related to medical costs. Many millions of Americans are further either uninsured or have high-deductible plans that leave them insured only nominally,[81] all the while high-premium and high-deductible insurance plans replace the market share of more affordable ones.


In 1984, the USDA laid out five food groups to be consumed in certain proportions, laying the basis for the food pyramid which was published in 1992, revised in 2005, and replaced by MyPlate in 2011, each of which were an attempt to visualize how much of each group people should eat, promoted especially in schools. These schemes were made up by lobbyists who have major influence in what constitutes the USDA's Dietary Guidelines, unfairly vilifying fats while promoting oversized portions of refined carbohydrates and dairy, all the while neglecting the importance of water, all of which drew wide ire from nutritionists and food scientists. Among the companies that have lobbied the USDA include the likes of PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Monsanto, Nestle, and McDonald's, whose impact on the 2015-2020 USDA Dietary Guidelines for example is evident in the downplaying of important nutritional facts while missing sustainability considerations for how food is farmed and manufactured — despite the USDA's own Advisory Committee recommending it.[83]

Research based on National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data on dietary health perceptions reveal that 85% of Americans incorrectly evaluate the healthy quality of the foods they eat, with almost all of them overestimating — the people who most accurately assessed their diet were those who said it was "poor", who were right 97% of the time.[84] Americans also have very low "agricultural literacy", with researchers widely remarking that most people in the United States simply lack the schema for how food is produced and processed; that food for them pretty much comes from the store with very little understanding of how it gets there — this results in phenomena such as 7% of American adults believing chocolate milk comes from brown cows, 40% of 4th, 5th, and 6th graders not knowing that hamburgers come from cows, and the most popular answers to one's favorite vegetable being potato chips and french fries.[85] Imaginably, the intense efforts of lobbyists, the general apathy towards education, and the widespread lack of literacy skills even among adults all contribute to the nation's lackluster dietary culture.


Because of factors like the wide influence of the fast food, snack, and other food lobbies in government, advertising, and culture, along with a corresponding lack of regulation, the United States has nearly the most obese population in the world, topped only by minor Pacific island nations. 41.9% of Americans over 20 are obese, and 73.6% of Americans over 20 are at least overweight.[86] This epidemic drives the prevalence of obesity-related conditions such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer — among the leading causes of preventable, premature death in the country. In 2019, the estimated medical cost of obesity was nearly $173 billion, with obesity disproportionately affecting racial minorities too: 49.9% of Non-Hispanic Black adults are obese, as are 45.6% of Hispanic adults.[87] From such data it may be inferred just how powerful the influence of capitalists is, and how naturally willing the political leadership is to sacrifice so many resources, the well-being of people and the nation, and racial equality for the sake of big capital.

Life expectancy

The United States has an abnormally low life expectancy for its level of wealth — in 2021, this was 76.1 years, just three years above the world average and below Cuba, which had a life expectancy of 79.0 that year.[88] America's life expectancy is among the ranks of countries like Columbia, Poland, and Slovakia, which have between three and twelve times less GDP per capita. Meanwhile, countries with a similar GDP per capita like Denmark and Norway have a life expectancy five to six years longer (with longer healthspans and general quality of life too). America's poor standing is the result of its perennial health problems as well as its particularly lackluster response to the COVID-19 pandemic — on top of obesity, drug, poverty, pollution, and violence epidemics within the context of an expensive, fragmented profit-driven healthcare system, much of the American public refused to take preventative measures due to misinformation and lack of education.[89][90]

Drug use epidemic

From 1999 to 2022, nearly a million people have died from drug overdoses. Within that period, opioid deaths increased eightfold, and have manifested in three waves — the most recent one which began in 2013 being driven by illicitly manufactured fentanyl. Despite the overwhelming majority of fentanyl traffickers being US citizens, right-wing media in particular scapegoats migrants for the crisis. Amid the rising overdose deaths, less than 1 in 10 people who need addiction care get it.[91] The origin of the opioid epidemic is in the late 1990s, when pharmaceutical companies encouraged healthcare providers to prescribe the drugs at a greater rate, also reassuring the medical community that patients would not become addicted. As it so happened in reality, within two decades around 2 million Americans were addicted and were either misusing their prescriptions or taking non-prescription opioids. Over 70,000 die every year in the US from drug overdose, with around 70% dying from synthetic opioids (other than methadone, a prescription drug). With the quickly rising prevalence of opioids are consequences such as increasing amounts of newborns experiencing withdrawal syndrome due to their mothers' opioid use. Often what happens is a patient gets painkillers, then the insurance runs out but the patient is hooked and needs pain relief, and so ends up becoming an addict who sources their opioids from the street. Indeed, only about 40% of opioid overdose deaths are from prescriptions.[92]


The US ranks relatively low in education despite its level of wealth; around the OECD average and below many poorer countries.[12] To top this off, higher education is very expensive and takes an average of around 20 years to pay off.[13]


Major parts of the US school system are privatized as a result of lobbying efforts. Pearson Education and McGraw-Hill for one sell textbooks at a very high markup, leading to common practices among students such as buying cheaper, secondhand copies instead or pirating. In response to the former, Pearson has made plans to phase out physical textbooks and instead sell them as NFTs, so as to claim a cut from every subsequent resale. Texas Instruments for its part uses its market share within the school system to sell dramatically overpriced calculators, which get bought because they are incorporated into the teaching standards themselves and everybody is used to them. School lunches are privatized too — companies like Tyson Foods, PepsiCo, and Domino's buy influence from school lobbies to get their products in cafeterias, and although the products they sell to schools are supposed to be healthier than their commercial variants, they are still loaded with calories, sodium, and fat, contributing to America's obesity and general health epidemics. This is all against the backdrop of millions of students relying on free or low-cost lunches every day. The low quality of school food is widely noticed by students and is part of the mainstream consciousness about the American school experience, with food often being frozen, soggy, or expired, with much of it being thrown out by students.


According to the U.S. Department of Education, 54% of Americans aged 16–74 — about 130 million people — have literacy skills beneath the 6th-grade level. Despite literacy being absolutely crucial to developed economies, correlated with several important outcomes such as personal income, employment levels, health, and overall economic growth, this rather easily solvable problem remains to be neglected in the country.[93] Using an international assessment method called the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) that classifies literacy up to Level 5, an analysis by the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy has estimated that getting all American adults to at least Level 3 of literary proficiency (the minimum that qualifies for literacy) would generate an additional $2.2 trillion in annual income for the country — about 10% of GDP. Adults under Level 3 are unlikely to correctly evaluate the reliability of texts or draw complex inferences, at most being able to make simple comparisons and inferences at Level 2 or just being able to understand basic written instructions while having difficulty making any kind of textual inferences (Level 1 and below).


In 2021, about three-quarters of Americans identified with a specific religious faith, with 69% of the populace identifying as Christian; this breaking down into 35% Protestant, 22% Catholic, and 12% other or simply "Christian". 2% of Americans are Jewish, with the next largest religions being Islam and Buddhism, each represented by about 1% of the population. 21% reported no religious preference. 49% of Americans say religion is "very important" in their life, with another 27% saying it is "fairly important" and 25% saying it is "not important". This represents a continuing decline in religious adherence, with 90% of adults in 1971 being Christian, 6% believing another religion, and 4% having no religious preference. Furthermore, in 1965 70% of Americans said religion was "very important" whereas this figure decreased to 49% in 2021.[94]

In the US, evangelicalism is a large movement among Protestant Christians who believe in the necessity of spiritual rebirth as well as evangelism, the act of preaching the gospel. In 2012, The Economist estimated "over one-third of Americans, more than 100 million, can be considered evangelical". A 2017 poll by LifeWay Research found that 80 percent of evangelicals believed that the creation of Israel in 1948 was a fulfillment of biblical prophecy that would bring about Christ's return. This generally accords with a 2003 Pew Research Center poll which found more than 6 in 10 evangelicals believed this, compared to around a third of Americans overall. The LifeWay poll also found 45% of evangelicals take the Bible as their biggest influence on their views on Israel, with two-thirds of evangelicals strongly believing that the biblical promise of the Holy Land to Abraham and his descendants was an eternal one from God. More than half of evangelicals further said that they support Israel because they believe it is important for fulfilling end-times prophesy.[95]


US infrastructure is aging, fragile, and rather neglected, facing further pressure from climate change. This manifests in phenomena like increasingly common power outages, among the most damaging examples being the 2021 Texas power crisis, which disabled utilities for over 4.5 million homes and businesses while killing uncertain hundreds. The amount of power service interruption is slowly going up year by year, with privately owned power companies failing for about twice as long as public ones — this worsened through continuing deregulation. What brings even more difficulty is winter energy use growing to new records, which is making utility companies institute rolling blackouts to deal with demand — while also hoping for the mercy of the weather to not break the electric grid altogether. The lack of care to improving the electric grid also bodes poorly for fighting climate change, as that will require the electrification of vehicles, stoves, and home heating.[96][97] On top of this, over a third of bridges in the US (>220,000) are in need of repair, with over 43,000 being in poor enough condition as to be deemed "structurally deficient".


Due to lobbying from car manufacturers, the US is heavily centered on cars as a means of transport, whereas the country's vast expanses and population centers rather point to rail systems and other forms of public transport as being more appropriate. In population centers where there are many residences and businesses, city planners generally neglect public transport and walkways/bike lines, almost always instead opting to create stroads — high-speed, multi-lane roads as a means of thoroughfare despite being a practical hazard in population centers — especially for walking or cycling, which are thus discouraged and which compels more people to get a car, contributing to issues such as congestion, automobile-related injury, emissions, etc. Bike lanes are also placed dangerously close (immediately next to) car lanes, with bicycles many times banned from sidewalks, further disincentivizing the use of this means of transport. Legislation against high-density housing further makes travel take longer, placing even more pressure on people to get a car.


The American Society of Civil Engineers has given America's water infrastructure a grade of C-. Notably, the system is aging and underfunded, in spite of recent programs and investment plans, with a water main breaking every 2 minutes on average, spilling an estimated 6 billion gallons of treated water a day.[98] The last major infrastructure overhaul was around 1945, with many sewer and water systems being from the 19th century. Thousands of dams and levees are furthermore on the brink of failure. Waste water systems are crumbling, with sewage water and waste sometimes spilling into the streets and people's yards, also spilling into waterways.

Millions of Americans are exposed to high levels of lead in tap water, even in major cities. The Natural Resources Defense Council found in 2020 that 186 million Americans, or 56% of the country, drank water from drinking water systems whose lead levels were detected to have exceeded the 1 part per billion (ppb) limit recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Of this amount, 61 million people were found to be served with drinking water systems exceeding the FDA's limit of 5 ppb set for bottled water, with 7 million people being served by water systems whose lead levels exceeded 15 ppb, a level that is supposed to trigger additional action to reduce lead levels. These estimates are also underreported as an EPA audit found states failed to report 92% of Lead and Copper Rule health violations, which explains why no lead detections were found in the water systems of Puerto Rico — a part of the country particularly neglected in many ways. In spite of standards set for manageability, the EPA and health experts agree that no amount of lead above 0 ppb is safe.[99] Water contamination further takes a regional character, with water in the eastern United States often contaminated by coal ash while water in the western part is often contaminated by nitrates from fertilizers.

See also

External links

  • The Geography of Nowhere: The Rise and Decline of America's Man-Made Landscape, James Howard Kunstler: explores the effects of suburban sprawl, urban planning, and automobiles on American society, and what may be done about it
  • Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions since World War II, William Blum: history book on covert CIA operations and United States military interventions after World War II and their imperialist nature
  • A large collection of Marxist works on US history


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  95. Half of evangelicals support Israel because they believe it is important for fulfilling end-times prophecy. The Washington Post.
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