29 May 2014

cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (wtf?)

  • Higher education (every other first-world country manages for it to not be a giant scam)

  • The prison system (for-profit prisons, racial inequality, prisoner abuse)

  • Law enforcement (racism, misogyny, corruption)

  • The entire criminal justice apparatus (i.e. further gaps between reported and prosecuted crimes, jury verdicts like the Trayvon Martin case)

  • Any and all types of social security (i.e. it is almost nonexistent)

  • Military spending (why is it greater than the next ten biggest spenders put together and why is it STILL INCREASING)

  • Disgracefully shitty treatment of actual military veterans (even more nauseating when you look at the amount of faux-patriotic jingoism spewed by the same conservatives who don't want to care for vets)

  • Gun control (every other first-world country is managing a lot better)

  • Campaign finance (enough said)

  • Banks (Wall Street, discriminatory loan practices)

  • Real estate market (still horrifyingly enforcing segregation)

  • Public education (it sucks, it's under-financed, and all the test-focused policies are just making it worse)

  • Regulation of food and food labelling (meat and milk pumped full of antibiotics and hormones, shoddy hygiene and inspection, known carcinogens that are used anyway and which manufacturers aren't required to warn about)

  • Medicine (hospital management and doctor salaries but also the med school system)

  • Public transport (largely missing)

  • Minimum wage (outrageously low)


I saw a post about the mass shooting epidemic, something like "There's nothing we can do, says the only country where this regularly happens", and it got me thinking... this attitude is basically true of almost every area of public policy I can think of.


After having lived in Finland for 10 years, I can only think of 3 areas of public policy where the US is better:



  • The US government will not stop you from naming your child what you want to name it, even if it's a non-traditional name. The Finnish government, in contrast, doesn't allow made-up names or names of the wrong gender and you have to make a case to a judge sometimes even to borrow one from another language or country.

  • US public schools do not have bible school. But on the other hand, Finnish schools only give this schooling by default to children whose names are already registered by their parents with the church (by virtue of having been baptized there). I mean, I still don't think they should do it; I highly doubt that the elementary teacher education conveys enough expertise to qualify the average teacher to teach it, but if it did, the awful anti-Semitic textbook would be automatic fail anyway.

  • A murderer sentenced to life in prison in the US is less likely to be released back into society where he can kill again. This is mostly a side-effect, though, of the fact that he's likely to be put to death (which is bad). There is no such thing as life in prison without parole in Finland (or Sweden or Norway for that matter). The maximum sentence here is... I forget, 20 years or something? The prison/hospital for the criminally mentally ill is the only way and I'm not sure it's even guaranteed. ... And murderers aside, the US tends to let violent and dangerous criminals out to stab and assault again all the time, even though the prisons are stuffed with young black men innocent of anything but, like, driving while black or possessing weed. Plus domestic abusers who attempt to kill their spouses, or who do kill their spouses, tend to be released quickly (or let off scot-free), so it's not like the system actually works in any systematic way.


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cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (Default)
Cimorene

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