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American Exceptionalism?

We’re exceptional all right. Let us count the ways. We’re the only country in the entire industrialized world that…

1. does not mandate paid leave for mothers of new-borns

2. does not mandate paid vacations for workers

3. does not mandate paid sick leave for workers

4. does not provide universal healthcare (for those that do, see list below)

5. has fewer unionized workers than anyone else (10.7% of workforce)

6. spends the most on education and gets the worst results (especially in math)

7. has a larger achievement gap between rich and poor children than anyone else (gap between children from rich/poor 40% larger among children born in 2001 than those born 25 years earlier)

8. exports more weapons than anyone else (30% of world’s arms)

9. has tested more nuclear weapons than anyone else (over 1,000, more than rest of world put together)

10. imprisons more people than anyone else (2.3 million)

11. swigs down more sugar-sweetened soft drinks per day than anyone else (U.S. youth consume 143 calories from SSBs and U.S. adults consume 145 calories from SSBs per day)

12. has more obesity than anyone else (65.7% of American adults are obese, and 17% of American children; 63% of teenage girls become overweight by age 11)

13. spends more on health care and gets less in return than anyone else ($3.2 trillion; 17% of GDP)

14. charges more for prescription drugs than anyone else (between 3 and 10 times more)

15. pays doctors more than anyone else (roughly double)

16. charges more for health care in general than anyone else (incalculable)

17. has more babies die the day they are born than anyone else (11,300 each year)

18. has shorter life expectancy than anyone else (78.8 years vs. 82+ years for most other developed countries)

19. creates more multi-billionaires than anyone else (585  billionaires: 25% of rest of world put together)

20. has more homeless people than anyone else (over half a million Americans sleep in the streets)

21. has more mental illness than anyone else (20% of adult Americans suffer this; only 41% get care)

22. has more drug and/or addiction rates than anyone else (21.5 million American adults)

23. has more teenage births than anyone else (4 million in 2016)

24. has less social mobility than almost anyone else (most European countries out-ranked the U.S. in terms of earning more than parents)

25. has higher divorce rates than anyone else (3.6 per year per 1,000 inhabitants)

26. has more illiteracy than anyone else (32 million Americans can’t read or write)

27. spends more on its military than anyone else (nearly a trillion dollars)

28. has 300 million guns (more than rest of world put together)

29. had 22,000 gun suicides in 2016 (more than rest of world put together)

30. had 11,760 gun homicides in 2016 (more than rest of world put together)

31. averages one mass shooting – 4 or more people – per day

32. still has the death penalty (in 25 states as of 2020)

33. And finally, here are the 122 countries that do have some form of universal healthcare:

AlbaniaAlgeriaAndorra, Antigua, ArgentinaAustraliaAustriaBahrainBarbados, Barbuda, BelarusBelgiumBelizeBhutanBolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, BotswanaBrazilBrunei Darussalam, BulgariaBurkina Faso, CanadaChileChinaColombiaCook IslandsCosta RicaCroatiaCubaCyprusCzech Republic, Denmark EcuadorEritreaEstonia FijiFinlandFrance, GabonGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGreeceGuernseyGuyana

Hong KongHungary IcelandIran, Isle of Man, IsraelItaly, JamaicaJapan, Jersey, KazakhstanKiribatiKuwait, LatviaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourg, MacauMacedoniaMalaysiaMaldivesMaltaMauritiusMexicoMoldovaMonaco, Montenegro, NamibiaNetherlandsNew ZealandNiue, Oman, PakistanPalauPanamaParaguayPeruPolandPortugal, Qatar, RomaniaRussiaRwanda, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, SamoaSan MarinoSaudi ArabiaSerbiaSeychellesSingaporeSlovakiaSloveniaSouth KoreaSpainSri LankaSwedenSwitzerland, TaiwanThailand, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, TunisiaTurkeyTuvalu, UkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUruguayUzbekistan, VanuatuVenezuela, Zambia

How do you like them apples?

David Stansfield is a former PBS writer-producer and the author of “Take Nothing For Granted,” a thriller set against the backdrop of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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