On June 10, EFAM published an article titled America — the Grim Truth. And grim it was indeed!
“Americans, I have some bad news for you,” the article starts.
“You have the worst quality of life in the developed world – by a wide margin.
“If you had any idea of how people really lived in Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and many parts of Asia, you’d be rioting in the streets calling for a better life. In fact, the average Australian or Singaporean taxi driver has a much better standard of living than the typical American white-collar worker.”
Author Lance Freeman explains that he is an American who has lived all over the world, and there is one country he will not live in again — the USA. Then he explains why.
- Health care. We’re the only country in the developed world without a single-payer health care system. This is ironic, he continues, because we have so much more to make us sick! This includes a food supply which is contaminated with hormones, antibiotics, salmonella and other dangerous chemicals, genetically modified crops, and the like. Add the over-reliance on prescription drugs, and we’re sicker than ever and need a good health-care system more than most.
- No vacations. The average US worker, according to this article, has 12 vacation days per year. This compares with 44 for Finland at the top, and 18 for Japan at the bottom of the list of developed countries. (Check the stats I posted in a previous article called Where in the World Do Employees Get the Most Time Off?.) The real kicker is that US exmployers are not required to give vacations, so some people never have them and some only “earn” them after they’ve completed a year working for the same company.
- The cost of education. In most developed countries higher education is free or heavily subsidized. Not so in the USA, where a four-year degree can cost $100,000 or more. (I know this is true, because our former French exchange student attended a highly ranked University in Lille for less than our student would have paid for room and board at college.)
- Debt as a way of life.
- Lack of freedom. Yes, you read that right. Mr. Freeman states:
“America is actually among the least free countries on earth. Your piss is tested, your emails and phone calls are monitored, your medical records are gathered, and you are never more than one stray comment away from writhing on the ground with two Taser prongs in your ass.
“And that’s just physical freedom. Mentally, you are truly imprisoned. You don’t even know the degree to which you are tormented by fears of medical bankruptcy, job loss, homelessness and violent crime because you’ve never lived in a country where there is no need to worry about such things.”
He also maintains that 70% of our tax dollars support the Pentagon, which he characterizes as a “shadow government,” unelected and unaccountable to citizens. “If you call a life of surveillance, anxiety and ceaseless toil in the service of a government you didn’t elect “freedom,” then you and I have a very different idea of what that word means,” he states.
He then predicts life in the US will grow worse, not better, in the future, and advises leaving. He reminds his readers that most of them are the descendants of immigrants who left their homes in search of a better life somewhere else and suggests it’s time to continue that journey.
I have to say, I find a lot to agree with in this article. I have been very concerned about a number of the issues he raises, especially health care. One of my goals in moving is to find a place to live where the food is actually food, not processed, food-like substances that make me sick. And you don’t want to get me started on Big Pharma and our medical establishment, trust me on this!
I’ve watched the decline in education with horror, and I’ve been appalled at the amount of debt my children and other friends and relatives have started their working lives with.
Do I buy Mr. Freeman’s conclusions? The truth is, I don’t know. I don’t want to believe he’s right — that a collapse into chaos is inevitable and the only question is whether it will be gradual or sudden — but I’m afraid he may be.
You can read his entire article here.
Your Guide to Local Health Care in the World’s Top Retirement Havens
Is the possibility of future collapse driving you to move overseas? Do you think it’s a load of hooey? Add your comment below!
Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall
I am an expat living in New Zealand for the last 8 years and strongly endorse everything you say in your blog. In fact I have written a memoir about the experiences that led me to emigrate: THE MOST REVOLUTIONARY ACT: MEMOIR OF AN AMERICAN REFUGEE.
I am with you, I don’t want to believe this because once you do, your entire belief structure in our country collapses. Unfortunately most of what he says is true.
Balanced Melting Pot
This doesn’t surprise me. While the reasons listed in this article are not behind my move, after about 5 years living back in the US, I started to get that restless feeling. I know that I don’t like (and I can feel it happening) getting sucked into the stressful American way of life. Yes, you can find what you want whenever you want – but, that just doesn’t make me happy. Then again, there are Americans who could never truly enjoy living in another country with all the benefits mentioned. As they say, ignorance is bliss 🙂
the only thing I agree with in Tom Freedmans article is the assumption that America is on the path to collapses. However it will collapse because of foolish ideologies such as socialism. such as Socialized single payer health care. That is what is currently collapsing countries such as Span, Portugal, Greece and I could go on. Ultimately if we do not go back to our foundation and Constitutional rule we will colapse. most of his and most “progressive/statist/socialists” assumption is based on a utopia that will never exist. If you want to see how government controlled health care works… and how “good” the USA is at running Just go visit some native Americans and see how “healthy” they live because of how well the government treats them. Better yet look at the BS the veterans have to put up with or the fact that social security is BROKE! there is no money! the only way to save the USA is to cut the budget in 1/2 and lower taxes.
I have even considered leaving the USA also, not because I want more from my government, but because I want LESS interference, less taxes, less waste, less bush, less OBAMA, less polosi and less Reed. I want more freedom to live my life, chase my own opportunity to prosper and treat others well then DIE with dignity with out some dumb ass socialist/statist interfering.
Mark, your comments prove that there are many, many reasons for wanting to expatriate.
Frankly, I find it obscene that the US is the only industrialized country that panders to corporations ahead of citizens and where a hard-working person who’s done the right things for a lifetime is only a small illness away from bankruptcy. Just as having an educated population is good for the country as a whole (something we really don’t have any more, IMO), having a healthy population is also good for the country as a whole.
And, FWIW, the VA health programs are consistently rated very highly in satisfaction, much higher than private insurance plans.
I would also point out that we would have plenty of money if we weren’t squandering over 60% of our tax dollars on wars that aren’t making us safer or improving our position in the world and the military infrastructure to support them.
I do agree that the government pokes its nose where it doesn’t belong far too often, and individual freedoms have been severely eroded, especially in the last decade.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts.