Number One


Number One

By Andrew L. Shapiro

After years of slipping superiority and encroaching mediocrity, the "We're Number One" ethos is born again in America. General Schwarzkopf assures us we're the world's only superpower; President Bush hails the unique ability of the US to punish "naked aggression" ...

In percentage of one-year-old children fully immunised against polio, we're Number Seventeen, behind such nations as China, Brazil and Bulgaria. Egypt, Jordan and the Soviet Union have a smaller percentage of infants born at low birth weight.

Algeria, Morocco and Zimbabwe spend a larger percentage of their GNP on public education. Children in Hungary score better on an international mathematics test. Lebanon, Libya and Cuba have, on average, more teachers for their school-age children.

But don't despair. There are still some areas where the United States is first. Among Western industrialised nations, we're Number One in percentage of children living below the poverty line, Number One in teen pregnancy, Number One in murders of males between 15 and 24, Number One in murder by handguns for all ages, Number One in percentage of population incarcerated, Number One in percentage of commuter trips made by private car rather than public transport, Number One in per capita energy consumption and Number One in emissions of air pollutants.

Let's hear it for the USA!
[From the US Nation.]

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