Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
US workers have no guarantee of paid leave
WHEN it comes to paid leave, US workers don't seem to get a break.

While the French get 30 days of paid leave and most other Europeans receive at least 20, the country with the world's biggest economy does not guarantee workers a single day, researchers said overnight.

Most US businesses do give employees vacations, but the lack of government guarantees means one in four private-sector workers do not get paid leave, said researchers for the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a Washington think tank.

"The United States is the only advanced economy in the world that does not guarantee its workers paid vacation days and paid holidays," said economist John Schmitt.

"Relying on businesses to voluntarily provide paid leave just hasn't worked," he said.

"It's a national embarrassment that 28 million Americans don't get any paid vacation or paid holidays."

most expensive, least effective health care system

The United States health care system is the most expensive in the world but ranks last compared with five other developed nations on measures of quality, access, efficiency, equity, and outcomes, according to the third edition of a Commonwealth Fund report analyzing international health policy surveys.

While the US did well on some preventive care measures, the nation ranked at the bottom on measures of safe care and coordinated care.

Another new Commonwealth Fund report comparing health spending data in industrialized nations published today reveals that despite spending more than twice as much per capita on health care as other nations ($6,102 vs. $2,571 for the median of Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development [OECD] countries in 2004) the US spends far less on health information technology--just 43 cents per capita, compared with about $192 per capita in the UK.

"The United States stands out as the only nation in these studies that does not ensure access to health care through universal coverage and promotion of a 'medical home' for patients," said Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis. "Our failure to ensure health insurance for all and encourage stable, long-term ties between physicians and patients shows in our poor performance on measures of quality, access, efficiency, equity, and health outcomes. In light of the significant resources we devote to health care in this country, we should expect the best, highest performing health system."

Best and Worst Countries for Mothers and Children -- US/UK tie for 10th place.  Numero Uno?  Sweden :-)

I could go on but really... why bother.  literacy, infant mortality, academic skills by age of student, technical innovation... not a lot of golds for the US these days.  a bronze now and then.  but hey, we incarcerate a higher percentage of our population than any other country on earth, and we consume more energy per capita, so we really are Number One in some things...  by some odd statistical coincidence, the US constitutes 5 pct of the world population and 25 percent of the imprisoned world population;  and the US consumes about 25 percent of global fossil energy resources annually.  the 5/25 symmetry is eyecatching but probably meaningless.

before the accusations of America-bashing begin, lemme just say I'm not saying it's the worst hellhole on earth to live in (though I am, personally, trying to get the hell out).  what troubles me is the disconnect between actual metrics and the persistent USian illusion that the US is the gold medal winner in every conceivable category.  proof is often offered in the form of the flood of refugees and immigrants trying to get in -- even when what they are fleeing from is US bombs or US-installed warlords/dictators, but that's a whole other rant...

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 07:17:12 PM EST
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