Engelsk / The American political system

Problems and challenges facing the United States

What are the most important problems and challenges facing the United States?

Which ones do you think are the most important to fix?

How would you fix them, if you were in Congress or the White House?

Here is a list. Not everyone thinks all of these are real problems….

  • Economic inequality rich-poor. Rich getting richer, middle class and lower classes getting poorer. Many super-rich pay lower taxes than normal-income people.
  • Large numbers of homeless people.
  • Large number of illegal immigrants (and their US-born children). Should they be given rights, should they be thrown out? What about their US-born kids?
  • Very low wages for certain jobs («the working poor» – many people need to have two jobs to get by). Is a minimum wage a good idea?
  • US has the world’s most expensive healthcare system, but millions of people still without health insurance
  • Huge difference between good schools and bad schools (bad schools in poor/ black neighborhoods)
  • It has become very expensive to go to college/ university. Therefore, many young people will never get the chance to get higher education and well-paying jobs.
  • Gun violence – 3,21 gun murders per 100,000 people per year (compared to 0.05 for Norway)
  • Police kill thousands of people each year, most of them black
  • The US still has an enormous deficit (underskudd) – it spends more money than it takes in.
  • US spends billions on subsidies to the energy sector (mostly oil and gas).
  • US spends billions on subsidies to corn farmers to make biofuels for cars.
  • The US has the world’s biggest prison population, mainly due to very harsh punishments for drug-related crimes.
  • The obesity rate in the US is almost highest in the world, many people have really unhealthy diets. (obesity = fedme)
  • Abortion is still legal in the US
  • «Creationism» (the Biblical creation story, with Adam and Eve etc.) is taught alongside the theory of evolution in schools in  many parts of the country. One important reason is that parents often run school boards, and 42% of Americans believe the Bible’s version of the creation of the world, not the scientific one.
  • School districts are not allowed to force their pupils to participate in prayers in the classroom.
  • Americans are almost the world’s number one when it comes to climate gas emissions per person.
  • US is engaged in «drone wars» in lots of countries, killing suspected terrorists (and innocent people who were in the way). These people are killed because they are suspected to be terrorists. Many experts believe that drone strikes make people so angry that they create more terrorists than they kill.
  • The US military budget has been sharply reduced in recent years, but is still enormous, at more than 40% of world total.
  • The NSA (National Security Agency) spies on ordinary Americans (and everyone else): collects telephone and internet data, as revealed by Edward Snowden
  • The opioid crisis: millions of people get addicted to heroin via strong prescription (legal) painkillers
  • Hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) destroys drinking water and the environment, but means the US now produces almost all the oil and gas it needsA debate on the Iran deal in the Senate (from C-Span, which broadcasts everything from Congress)

A debate in the Senate (from C-Span, which broadcasts everything from Congress)

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