The avoidable collapse of Empire

Glennzilla links to another of those plummeting statistics that empirically chronicle the “imperial collapse” of the United States:

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.

Here’s the thing, though. All of this is avoidable. Services eroding to the ridiculous point, the decaying infrastructure….easily avoidable. The United States, firmly in the lower half of taxation amongst industrialized countries, simply needs to up tax rates a few points. It doesn’t even have to go the middle of the pack! Such is the lingering wealth of the United States.

Alas, there is an incredible disconnect amongst the American public between the government services they love and depend on, and the taxes that pay for them…

[M]ost Americans who say they want more limited government also call Social Security and Medicare “very important.” They want Washington to be involved in schools and to help reduce poverty. Nearly half want the government to maintain a role in regulating health care. […]

Although Republicans, and many Democrats, have tried to demonize Washington, they must contend with the fact that most major government programs remain enormously popular

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