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What We Give Up to Pay for Weapons


Saturday's New York Times contained an interesting op-ed piece by Charles Blow, titled "American Shame." The main item was a table listing the 33 countries designated as "advanced economies" by the International Monetary Fund and comparing them on various social and educational characteristics. Specifically, Blow charted income inequality, unemployment rates, level of democracy, the "percentage thriving" (according to the Gallup Global Well-Being Index), food insecurity, prison population, and student performance in math and science. The bottom line: The United States is at the bottom of the heap on most of these measures, and at or near the top in none. 

It's a sobering collection of data, to be sure, but I wish Blow had added two more columns to his chart: 1) percentage of GDP devoted to defense, and 2) defense spending per capita.

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