Wall Of Worry Redux: 24 Statistics Confirming America's Decline

Tyler Durden's picture

Three months ago we presented the Coto Report's 50 ugliest facts about the US economy. Today, the Economic Collapse has followed up this list with 24 facts of their own, which confirm what Zero Hedge readers know: namely that the US economy has officially entered the "Late Roman Empire" phase of its civilization. Perhaps it is not too late to reverse course yet: As Economic Collapse states: " Urgent action must be taken if things are going to be turned around. 
It is time to get our heads out of the sand.  It is not guaranteed
that the United States will always be the greatest economy in the world
or that we will even continue to be prosperous.  For many Americans, it will be incredibly difficult to admit that our
nation has become a debt addict and an economic punching bag for the
rest of the world.  But if we are never willing to admit what the problems are, how are we ever going to come up with the solutions? What you are about to read below is going to absolutely shock many of
you.  But hopefully it will shock you enough to get you to take
action.  We desperately need to change course as a nation." Alas, unless the current ruling oligarchy, in which both parties are merely a front for Wall Street money, and the entire political and financial system are changed drastically, and fast, the decline will merely accelerate until there is nothing left of America's once greatness.

And here is the list:

#1 Ten years ago, the United States was ranked number one in average wealth per adult.  In 2010, the United States has fallen to seventh.

#2 The United States once had the highest proportion of young adults with post-secondary degrees in the world.  Today, the U.S. has fallen to 12th

#3 In the 2009 "prosperity index" published by the Legatum Institute, the United States was ranked as just the ninth most prosperous country in the world.  That was down five places from 2008.

#4 In 2001, the United States ranked fourth in the world in per capita broadband Internet use.  Today it ranks 15th.

#5 The economy of India is projected to become larger than the U.S. economy by the year 2050.

#6 One prominent economist now says that the Chinese economy will be three times larger than the U.S. economy by the year 2040.

#7 According to a new study conducted by Thompson Reuters, China could become the global leader in patent filings by next year.

#8 The United States has lost approximately 42,400 factories since 2001.  Approximately 75 percent of those factories employed at least 500 workers while they were still in operation.

#9 The United States has lost a staggering 32 percent of its manufacturing jobs since the year 2000.

#10 Manufacturing employment in the U.S. computer industry is actually lower in 2010 than it was in 1975.

#11 In 1959, manufacturing represented 28 percent of all U.S. economic output.  In 2008, it represented only 11.5 percent.

#12 The television manufacturing industry began in
the United States.  So how many televisions are manufactured in the
United States today?  According to Princeton University economist Alan
S. Blinder, the grand total is zero.

#13 As of the end of 2009, less than 12 million Americans worked in manufacturing.  The last time that less than 12 million Americans were employed in manufacturing was in 1941.

#14 Back in 1980, the United States imported approximately 37 percent of  the oil that we use.  Now we import nearly 60 percent of the oil that we use.

#15 The U.S. trade deficit is
running about 40 or 50 billion dollars a month in 2010.  That means
that by the end of the year approximately half a trillion dollars (or
more) will have left the United States for good.

#16 Between 2000 and 2009, America's trade deficit with China increased nearly 300 percent.

#17 Today, the United States spends approximately $3.90 on Chinese goods for every $1 that China spends on goods from the United States.

#18 According to a new study conducted by the
Economic Policy Institute, if the U.S. trade deficit with China
continues to increase at its current rate, the U.S. economy will lose over half a million jobs this year alone.

#19 American 15-year-olds do not even rank in the top half of all advanced nations when it comes to math or science literacy.

#20 Median household income in the U.S. declined from $51,726 in 2008 to $50,221 in 2009.  That was the second yearly decline in a row.

#21 The United States has the third worst poverty rate among the advanced nations tracked by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

#22 Since the Federal Reserve was created in 1913, the U.S. dollar has lost over 95 percent of its purchasing power.

#23 U.S. government spending as a percentage of GDP is now up to approximately 36 percent.

#24 The Congressional Budget Office is projecting that U.S. government public debt will hit 716 percent of GDP by the year 2080.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Gully Foyle's picture

Ya all just discovered Economic Collapse?

Those fucking lists are the highlight of my day.


May as well share this


It's not an uncommon sight in financial markets: price trends that gradually accelerate until they go "parabolic." Of course, not all of the moves are to the upside. Sometimes, it's less of a "moon shot" than a crash-and-burn. Does that describe the trajectory of the United States standing in the world? Based on the following article by Salon.com's Glenn Greenwald, "Collapsing Empire Watch," it's hard not to draw that conclusion.

It's easy to say and easy to document, but quite difficult to really internalize, that the United States is in the process of imperial collapse. Every now and then, however, one encounters certain facts which compellingly and viscerally highlight how real that is. Here's the latest such fact, from a new study in Health Affairs by Columbia Health Policy Professors Peter A. Muennig and Sherry A. Glied (h/t):

In 1950, the United States was fifth among the leading industrialized nations with respect to female life expectancy at birth, surpassed only by Sweden, Norway, Australia, and the Netherlands. The last available measure of female life expectancy had the United States ranked at forty-sixth in the world. As of September 23, 2010, the United States ranked forty-ninth for both male and female life expectancy combined.

Just to underscore the rapidity of the decline, as recently as 1999, the U.S. was ranked by the World Health Organization as 24th in life expectancy. It's now 49th. There are other similarly potent indicators. In 2009, the National Center for Health Statistics ranked the U.S. in 30th place in global infant mortality rates. Out of 20 "rich countries" measured by UNICEF, the U.S. ranks 19th in "child well-being." Out of 33 nations measured by the OECD, the U.S. ranks 27th for student math literacy and 22nd for student science literacy. In 2009, the World Economic Forum ranked 133 nations in terms of "soundness" of their banks, and the U.S. was ranked in 108th place, just behind Tanzania and just ahead of Venezuela.

There is, however, some good news: the U.S. is now in fifth place in total number of executions, behind only China, Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, and comfortably ahead of Yemen and Sudan, while there are two categories in which the U.S. has been and remains the undisputed champion of the world -- this one and this one. And, of course, the U.S. is not just objectively the greatest country on the planet, but the greatest country ever to exist in all of human history -- as Dave Roberts put it in response to these life expectancy numbers: "but we're No. 1 in bestness!" -- so we're every bit as exceptional as ever.

trav7777's picture

it's impossible to look at the US compared to other nations without examining our demographics.

Let's look at what we've done in the past 30 or 40 years.  We've relentlessly imported 3rd world demographics and systematically propped up our indigenous 3rd world demographic through programs such as affirmative action, which have devoted resources to those with demonstrably less APTITUDE than others.

So, when 25% of your country is essentially 3rd world, how do you expect to compare to Lichtenstein and shit?  We have demographics in this nation whose violent crime rates are 6-10x that of the majority demographic rate.  This will put a crimp on "life expectancy" as the highest cause of death for young men in one of those demographics is murder.

Yet, our policy profile and the relentless mantra of "multiculturalism" or wtfever it is suggests we should devote more resources to artificially elevating those who have proven unable to cut it, and we should have more immigration to change the demographics of the nation further, because having more 3rd world people and behavior and culture is a "good" thing.

Those in power pushing these agendas want us to be more like Mexico or more like Africa.  They see this "diversity" as strength.  It will somehow make us better.  Well, scoreboard, bitchez; it certainly has NOT by any objective metric in comparison to other nations.  We just keep sliding down the list.  Increasing diversity certainly appears to have failed to improve ANY QoL in any organization on any metric. 

The onus is on the demographic whose dominance LED to the initial high rankings to stand up en masse and retake the helm and discourse.  There may be some eggs broken in cooking this omelette.

Arthor Bearing's picture

Just so we can bring it back to the usual enemy, the third world was imported by Kennedy et al. in the 60's in order to continue our economy's exponential growth so we could continue to pay off debt obligations to the fed.

Trundle's picture

We've also relentlessly poisoned our kids with various vaccines, pharmaceuticals, crap food etc. since birth.  That has a huge impact on their cognitive abilities.

trav7777's picture

the Flynn Effect would seem to dispute that.

Honestly, for anyone who's interested, you can compare ALL of these HDI and QoL metrics, demographic to demographic, from US to Norway or Belgium or any of them and see that we actually tend to outperform them.  The dominant european demographic's violent crime rate here is lower than that in Europe, homicide rate, we tend to have higher educations, higher IQs, etc.

Just break our indices down by demographic and some VERY clear trends emerge.  More diversity is not more strength, it means averaging us toward wherever the demographic came from.  It takes a very long time for nurture to overcome nature, if such a thing is even possible.  There are a variety of scholarly works out there, such as IQ and the Wealth of Nations, that are good starting points.

All this kvetching over America's "decline" proceeds under the absurd and factually wrong assumption that all people have equal traits.  It's a suicidal fantasy world that we inhabit with regard to this.

A Nanny Moose's picture

LOL - Politically correct profiling. Nothing wrong with broadening one's horizons. We cannot forget the contributions some of those demographics have made. I will agree that basing progress of a society on the lowest common denominator, can hold an entire society back. One never knows where the next George Washington Carver will come from.

trav7777's picture

"broadening horizons"??  Is that some kinda diversityspeak?

GW Carver was a historical irrelevancy; most of the things he's popularly credited with were not in fact his inventions.  Part of the myth surrounding him and other things such as the traffic light or gas mask are complete falsehoods intended to promote diversity as a strength.  It's pure historical revisionism to obfuscate the fact that, at best, diversity is utterly irrelevant.

midtowng's picture

So its immigrants that have ruined the country, huh? It couldn't possibly be those millions of exported jobs, nor the wealthy elite that have directed the nation's policies.

trav7777's picture

Look, dude, we weren't talking about jobs or this other BS, we were comparing QoL and HDI factors.

From that perspective, YES, 3rd world imports who tend to mirror 3rd world behaviors present in their region of origin DO average downward indices such as those pertinent to the OP.

As far as "whose fault" it is, obviously the rulership saw diversity as a strength; I thought I was patently clear when I explained that the first time.  Clearly, they value diversity OVER QoL

i.knoknot's picture

c'mon GF,

you compare the US and iraq, iran, saudi arabia in 'total number' of anything? try this same number as percentage of populations...

and i'm not buying the china numbers - whatever they tell you...

i don't care if i agree with the point, shit like this is asinine.



masterinchancery's picture

Bogus stats which include lots of 3d world born immigrants, and their kids, now living in the us.

Sudden Debt's picture

Because Jane and Jhon Doe have the memory capacity of a goldfish, nobody will care and nobody will remember the good old days.

Hollywood will make a movie about the economy of 2010 and in 2080, everybody will say: LOOK! America was once a influential world power!

Voodoo Economics's picture

Yes, but the rest of the world isn't as inventive as we are. Yes, they've now got the engineers, mathematicians, programmers, etc. etc., but we've got Paris Hilton and Dumb Jocks making gazillions and everyone else just trades.

spartan117's picture

#1 Ten years ago, the United States was ranked number one in average wealth per adult.  In 2010, the United States has fallen to seventh.

If that statement is based on housing equity, then it should only get worse.  Plus, how is this data compiled and compared against the rest of the world?  If the dollar continues to fall against currencies of the developed/developing nations, then it only means that we have a bigger decline coming in the next few years.

Sudden Debt's picture

Looks like Hollywood has actually been able to make a very realistic movie about the future of America:






Gully Foyle's picture

Sudden Debt

Never read any C.M. Kornbluth then. Try The Marching Morons.

Way before Idiocracy.

NotApplicable's picture

And way before The Marching Morons, was a man named Cecil Rhodes who so greatly feared being overrun by the barbarians that he dedicated his life and his immense wealth to ensure the liberties of English gentlemen were not lost, creating the Rhodes Scholarships.

To these people we owe the CFR, and countless other social "do-gooder" groups. Instead of making the world a better place though, they work to promote idiocracy in order that they may continue to demonstrate the necessity of their rule.


Gully Foyle's picture


And before Rhodes there was the church. A church that felt a serious threat from Gutenberg.

There is always a before. There is always some individual or group wishing to capitalize on the ignorance of others.

Same as it ever was.

George Costanza's picture

CogDis, I think that the "dumb money retail investor" feels this decline and that is one of the many reasons why they are not falling for the Fed Trap to seduce them back into Equities.  

That along with demographic factors and balance sheet repair needs. 

HarryWanger's picture

This is great, since everyone always says the market "climbs a wall of worry". Why the market goes up when it's worried about the country being squashed like a little bug has always confounded me.

packman's picture

#23 U.S. government spending as a percentage of GDP is now up to approximately 36 percent.

That statement is false actually.  The graph originally referred to in the blog referenced is all government spending (including states and municipalities), not just U.S. government spending.

U.S. government spending is running at 25.4% of GDP. ($3.7T per year, as of Q2).


clagr's picture

Wow! Now I sure do feel better to have that cleared up.

packman's picture

My comment wasn't really intended to paint a prettier picture - just making a commentary that using sloppy data to make an argument doesn't help the argument.


i.knoknot's picture

+++ thank you.

perhaps this is why the church feared gutenberg. it threatened their hedge on BS?


"but that doesn't matter ikk, i want to make a point so i'll use google to help me bend some stats..."

friggn irritating - especially when the point doesn't need exaggeration to be valid.

Sophist Economicus's picture

Lemme Guess,


France or Belgium are number 1, right?

Cpl Hicks's picture

Good comment. If you sliced/diced and boiled down these lists and came up with the "top" countries I bet that we could have a lively debate about if we would consider moving ourselves, families and wealth to one of the list toppers.


Comrade de Chaos's picture

"(Reuters) - Singapore widened the trading band for its currency in response to increasing market volatility and India intervened to temper a rising rupee as foreign exchange tensions persisted ahead of a key G20 meeting."



and the question of the day ,has the FED started direct purchases of foreign currencies to devalue the $ yet? Are we there, yet? Are we? Arrree

Azannoth's picture

"The economy of India is projected to become larger than the U.S. economy, China" etc. those are meningless extrapolations, without external deman (mainly from the USA) those economies Can not grow (that fast)

trav7777's picture

not enough oil for them to grow that large

AbandonShip's picture

But where else can we go??? 

Has anyone successfully emigrated from Uncle Sam recently that can share their experience?

Canada? (imminent housing bubble there too), Switzerland? Nordic countries?  Trying to figure out if I can get  a phat ex-pat package either in Singapore, HK or <gasp> Arab Gulf.  I hear Aussie mining firms are gearing up for another materials run for ChIndia.  Any Aussie's out there that give us buy/sell recommendation on living in Australia?

RobotTrader's picture

Hands down, the "worst of the worst" commercial bank here in Los Angeles is Banco Popular.  These guys were the "subprime" SBA lender for many years.  Any SBA deal I looked at and didn't like, I referred it to BPOP.  About 75% of the time, those guys would make the loan.

Worth watching, because if it breaks out, look out above...

Weimar Ben Bernanke's picture

Stop with your fear mongering and anti america sentitment Tyler. Do not you have heard we Amerika,history and the law of economics do not apply to us! American exceptionalism will prevail. I dont care about your facts and economic models that show we are in a decline! Odummer will save us if not then Sarah "Alaskan Bimbo " Palin will save America. USA USA USA USA!!!! It is your patriotic duty to watch Jersey Shore,American Idol,Dancing with the stars and not pay attention what out govt is doing!!!!

Sarcasm off.

The only thing America needs to have in order to compare it to Rome's decline is an Adrianople. The battle of Adrianople proved that Romes military supeiorty was done for. If we go to war with Iran that will be our Adrianople.Iran cant us beat conventionally. However they will use assymetrical warfare to defeat us in Iraq,Afghanistan. All they have to do is destablise Saudi Arabia,Iraq,Baharain,and Egypt.Give stinger missiles to the Taliban and give us major headaches in these areas.Afghanistan could be our Adrianople if Pakistan collapses. But America's military prowess is slowly declining.

johnnynaps's picture

Bzzzz! Wrong! We don't have to worry about winning and losing conventional battles, the "terrorists" proved that with one simple attack. Since 9/11 our economy has done what?

Point being, if we were to go to war with Iran there will be more debt, more political backlash, higher gas prices, social unrest, and an even worse economy. You need not worry about stinger missiles.......you will have to worry about natives with glocks!

johnnynaps's picture

some disgruntled oligarch that wanted to make a ton of cash shorting airlines! Just another great reason for this ponzi scheme to come crashing down!

traderjoe's picture

I think Afghanistan and Iraq qualify as abject 'failures'. What 9 years in Afgan and how much progress?

Winston Smith 2009's picture

Here's what will trigger the collapse:


The _entire_ chain of ownership in real estate is fatally tainted.  This is HUGE.

BobPaulson's picture

Denial of the HUGENESS has been ongoing for 3 years now. When the doctor lifts the bandage, sees what's underneath and smiles and does _nothing_, you know you're a goner.

Internet Tough Guy's picture

Even the Mona Lisa is falling apart.

BobPaulson's picture

I agree with many of the trends of the predictions but I am not moved by predictions many decades into the future. There are many game changes out there we haven't discovered (the famous Rumsfeld unknown unknowns) that could make things worse or better. 

i.knoknot's picture

+'s on that too.

"experts at FT (bloomberg, CNBS, etc.) predict that a solar flair will wipe out *all* major economic powerhouses (and most of the the smaller ones as well), in less than 100,000 years, presenting a great opportunity for the long-term bears..."


George Costanza's picture

The financials are finally take a bit of a hit, that does not bode well for the overall market.    Equities cannot break through upper bounds unless Financials participate

the mad hatter's picture

#25 parasitic bankers have captured the legislative process worldwide and have forced the fiat-based fractional reserve banking system down the throat of humanity

NotApplicable's picture

Nothing new about that fact. Though, perhaps the new part will be its endgame.

Caviar Emptor's picture

Between 1960 and 2006, US production of goods and services as a percentage of total world production dropped by half. Despite the hype surrounding the "glorious days" of the 1980s and 90s, which were just deficit-induced spend-fests.