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HomeInterviews & EditorialAmerica Sucks: How the U.S. Falls Short for Its Citizens – Desi...

America Sucks: How the U.S. Falls Short for Its Citizens – Desi Community Reacts

Dr. Tausif Malik

America Sucks: How the U.S. Falls Short for Its Citizens – Desi Community Reacts. As the election season kicks off, Joe Biden and Donald Trump are both ramping up their campaigns, yet neither candidate seems to be addressing the critical issues plaguing regular Americans.

Trump’s rhetoric of “America sucks” stands out as one of his most offensive claims, especially when considering the tangible problems highlighted in recent analyses. From exorbitant healthcare costs and crippling student debt to child poverty and rampant gun violence, the challenges facing the United States are severe and multifaceted.

Despite these pressing issues, the political discourse remains focused on divisive rhetoric rather than meaningful solutions.

Despite being one of the wealthiest nations, the United States faces numerous systemic challenges that impact the daily lives of its residents. When compared to other developed countries, the US often falls short in critical areas such as healthcare, education, child welfare, cost of living, and public safety.

This article explores these issues, highlighting the areas where America lags behind and how it affects regular Americans, including reactions from South Asian ‘Desi’ Americans who offer a unique perspective on these challenges.

Healthcare: Poor and Expensive

The United States spends more on healthcare per capita than any other country, yet it ranks poorly in healthcare outcomes. According to the Commonwealth Fund, the US is the only high-income country without universal health coverage, resulting in high premiums, deductibles, and out-of-pocket costs for many Americans. This expensive and often inaccessible healthcare system places a significant financial burden on families, with nearly 25% of Americans reporting they or a family member delayed medical treatment due to cost.

Healthcare: Poor and Expensive
Reference Image FreePik

Reaction from Indian American: “Coming from a country with more affordable healthcare options, it’s shocking how expensive and inaccessible healthcare is in the US. Even with insurance, the out-of-pocket costs are daunting,” says Ananya, a software engineer from California.

Reaction from Bangladeshi American: Saqkib, an IT specialist from Virginia, adds, “The infrastructure issues are surprising. Back home, we often hear about America’s technological advances, but the reality on the ground is different.”

Reaction from Pakistani American: “In Pakistan, there are issues with healthcare, but at least basic treatments are affordable for most people. Here, it’s a different story,” says Saad, a financial analyst in New York.

Reaction from Afghani American: “The cost of healthcare in the US is overwhelming. In Afghanistan, even though the quality of care might not be as high, it’s at least accessible to everyone,” shares Fatima, a community organizer in California.

High Cost of Education

The cost of higher education in the US is among the highest in the world. Data from the National Center for Education Statistics shows that the average annual cost of attending a four-year public college exceeds $25,000, with private institutions averaging over $50,000. This has led to a student debt crisis, with Americans collectively owing over $1.7 trillion in student loans. Unlike many European countries that offer free or low-cost education, American students face a lifetime of financial strain.

High Cost of Education
Photo courtesy Congresswoman Rashida Tliab FB

Reaction from Indian American: “In India, education is much more affordable, even in private institutions. Here, my family and I are burdened with loans that will take decades to repay,” comments Rakesh, a graduate student in New York.

Reaction from Sri Lankan American: Madushka B, a marketing professional in Texas, notes, “Public transport in the US is a far cry from the systems in cities like Mumbai or Delhi. Here, we have to rely on cars, which adds to our expenses.”

Reaction from Bangladeshi American: “Education costs in Bangladesh are much lower, even for quality institutions. The debt burden here is enormous,” says Hossain, an engineer in New Jersey.

Reaction from Nepalese American: “In Nepal, higher education is affordable for most families. The US system puts a lot of pressure on students and their families,” shares Laxmi, a healthcare worker in Illinois.

High Rents and Expensive Housing

The United States faces a severe housing crisis, with rents and home prices skyrocketing across the country. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, there is no state in the U.S. where a person working full-time at minimum wage can afford a two-bedroom apartment at fair market rent. This issue disproportionately affects low and middle-income families, who often spend more than 30% of their income on housing, leaving less for other essentials like food, healthcare, and education.

Mural by Christopher Statton and Megan Wilson, 2015

Pakistani American: Sarah, a Pakistani American living in San Francisco, shared her struggles: “The cost of housing here is insane. Even with two incomes, my husband and I find it hard to save for the future. Back home, housing is more affordable, and families can live more comfortably on a single income.”

Afghani American: Rahimi from Virginia expressed his frustration: “Rent takes up most of my paycheck. It’s stressful knowing that despite working hard, I can barely make ends meet. The government needs to address this housing crisis.”

Bangladeshi American: Nusrat in New York commented, “The housing market here is brutal. Many of us live in overcrowded apartments because we can’t afford anything better. It’s a stark contrast to Bangladesh, where living costs are lower.”

Nepalese American: Shrestha, a Nepalese American residing in Seattle, noted, “The high rents are forcing people to live farther from their workplaces, leading to long commutes and less family time. This is not the American dream we envisioned.”

Sri Lankan American: Fernando from Los Angeles highlighted, “In Sri Lanka, owning a home is more attainable. Here, it’s a distant dream. The high cost of living, especially housing, makes it hard to save and plan for the future.”

The Desi community’s reactions highlight a common theme: the high cost of housing in the U.S. is a significant burden, affecting their quality of life and financial stability. As election season approaches, these issues are critical for candidates to address to improve the lives of all Americans.

Child Poverty and Food Deserts

Child poverty is a persistent issue in the US, with the Census Bureau reporting that 16.2% of children live in poverty. This is considerably higher than in other developed nations. Additionally, food deserts—areas where access to affordable and nutritious food is limited—are prevalent in many urban and rural communities. These conditions contribute to poor health outcomes and hinder the development of children growing up in these environments.

Photo Change.org

Reaction from Indian American: “It’s disheartening to see such levels of poverty in a country as wealthy as the US. In many South Asian countries, community support systems help mitigate these issues,” shares Priya, a community organizer in Chicago.

Reaction from Sri Lankan American: “The community support back home ensures that children don’t go hungry. It’s surprising to see food deserts here,” says Perera, a teacher in Texas.

Child Mortality and High Cost of Living

The child mortality rate in the US is alarmingly high compared to other developed countries. According to the World Bank, the US has a child mortality rate of 5.4 deaths per 1,000 live births, significantly higher than in nations like Canada and Germany. Furthermore, the cost of living in major American cities is prohibitive. Housing, healthcare, and education expenses consume a large portion of household income, making it difficult for many families to make ends meet.

Child Mortality and High Cost of Living

Reaction from Indian American: “The high cost of living here is something we didn’t fully understand until we moved. It’s a daily struggle to balance expenses,” says Deepak, a financial analyst in New Jersey.

Reaction from Pakistani American: “In Pakistan, we have a support system that helps mitigate the cost of living. Here, everything is so expensive,” notes Asma, a homemaker in Virginia.

High Debt and Poor Public Transport

Debt is a significant issue for many Americans. The Federal Reserve reports that total household debt reached $14.6 trillion in 2021, encompassing mortgage, student loan, and credit card debt. Public transportation in the US is also lacking compared to other developed nations. The American Society of Civil Engineers gave the US infrastructure a C- grade in 2021, citing aging and inadequate public transport systems that increase reliance on personal vehicles and elevate transportation costs.

High Debt and Poor Public Transport

Reaction from Indian American: “Public transport in the US is a far cry from the systems in cities like Mumbai or Delhi. Here, we have to rely on cars, which adds to our expenses,” notes Sneha, a marketing professional in Texas.

Reaction from Bangladeshi American: “Public transport in the US is lacking. In Dhaka, despite the traffic, public transport options are more accessible,” comments Anwar, an engineer in New Jersey.

Crumbling Infrastructure

Infrastructure in the United States is in dire need of investment and repair. Bridges, roads, and water systems are often outdated and in poor condition. This crumbling infrastructure poses safety risks and economic inefficiencies, impacting the quality of life for many Americans.

Crumbling Infrastructure
Image source Institute for New Economic Thinking

Reaction from Indian American: “The infrastructure issues are surprising. Back home, we often hear about America’s technological advances, but the reality on the ground is different,” says Ahmed, an IT specialist in Virginia.

Reaction from Nepalese American: “The infrastructure here is not as advanced as we expected. Roads and public facilities need significant improvement,” says Laxmi, a healthcare worker in Illinois.

Maternity Leave and More Work Hours

The US is one of the few developed countries that does not mandate paid maternity leave. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave, which many families cannot afford to take. This contrasts sharply with countries like Sweden and Norway, which offer generous paid parental leave. Additionally, Americans work more hours on average than their counterparts in other developed countries, leading to higher stress levels and less work-life balance.

Maternity Leave and More Work Hours
Reference Image FreePik

Reaction from Indian American: “The lack of paid maternity leave is a significant drawback. In many South Asian countries, extended family support and better leave policies help new parents,” shares Pooja, a new mother in Florida.

Reaction from Afghani American: “In Afghanistan, families support each other during maternity periods. The absence of paid leave here is tough for new parents,” comments Razia, homemaker in California.

Drugs and Gangs

The proliferation of drugs and gang violence remains a critical issue in many American cities. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, drug overdose deaths have increased significantly over the past decade. Additionally, the FBI reports that gang-related violence continues to be a pervasive problem, particularly in urban areas. This creates unsafe living environments and contributes to a cycle of poverty and crime.

Drugs and Gangs

Reaction from Sri Lankan American: Ravi from Los Angeles expressed concern: “The drug problem here is alarming. We hear about overdose deaths and gang violence almost every day. It wasn’t something we expected to be so prevalent when we moved here.”

Reaction from Nepalese American: Maya from Chicago shared her worries: “I fear for my children’s safety because of the gang activities in our neighborhood. We need more community programs and better law enforcement to tackle these issues.”

Reaction from Indian American: Anil Patel from Houston added, “The availability of drugs and the influence of gangs are ruining young lives. More needs to be done to provide support and opportunities for the youth to stay away from such destructive paths.”

Homelessness

Homelessness is a growing problem in the United States, with over half a million people experiencing homelessness on any given night, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The lack of affordable housing, mental health services, and substance abuse treatment contributes to this crisis, affecting cities nationwide.

Reaction from Bangladeshi Americans: Rumana from New York City commented: “It’s heartbreaking to see so many people living on the streets. In Bangladesh, community and family support systems are stronger, and we don’t see homelessness at this scale.”

Reaction from Afghani Americans: Khan from Sacramento said, “The sight of homeless camps under bridges and in parks is a stark reminder of the failure to address basic human needs. This isn’t the America we envisioned.”

Reaction from Pakistani Americans: Maheen from Dallas remarked, “There needs to be more effort in providing shelters and rehabilitation programs. The government should take immediate action to tackle this growing issue.”

Safety and Security: Gun Violence

Gun violence is a major public safety issue in the US. According to the Gun Violence Archive, there were over 43,000 gun-related deaths in 2020, a stark contrast to other developed countries with stricter gun control laws. This epidemic of violence affects communities across the nation, contributing to a pervasive sense of insecurity.

Safety and Security: Gun Violence
Image Gun Violence Archive

Reaction from Indian American: “The constant threat of gun violence is terrifying. We never had to worry about this level of danger back in India,” remarks Rajesh, attorney Illinois.

Reaction from Sri Lankan American: “Gun violence is a major concern here. In Sri Lanka, strict gun laws make such incidents rare,” says Ruwan, a teacher in Texas.

Retail Theft and Its Impact on Shopping and Retail Entrepreneurs

Retail theft has become a major concern in the United States, with significant impacts on both shoppers and retail businesses. According to the National Retail Federation, retail theft, including shoplifting and organized retail crime, costs the industry nearly $70 billion annually. This not only increases prices for consumers but also affects the bottom line for retail employers and entrepreneurs, often leading to store closures and job losses.

Retail Theft and Its Impact on Shopping and Retail Entrepreneurs

Reaction from Indian American: Rajesh, Gas Station owner in New Jersey, shared his experiences: “Retail theft has hit my business hard. We have to invest in more security measures, which increases our operating costs. Unfortunately, we have to pass some of these costs onto our customers. It’s a tough situation because it impacts our ability to compete and serve our community effectively.”

Reaction from Pakistani American: SA, who manages a boutique in Texas, voiced her concerns: “We face theft almost daily, and it’s discouraging. It’s not just about the lost merchandise, but the sense of insecurity it brings to our staff and customers. Many small business owners like us are struggling to keep our doors open.”

Reaction from Bangladeshi American: FA, a grocery store owner in California, added: “Theft affects our profits significantly. We have to work extra hours to make up for the losses, and it’s exhausting. Moreover, it disrupts the sense of trust and safety in our store environment.”

Reaction from Sri Lankan American: Desilva from Chicago said, “Retail theft is a serious issue that needs more attention from law enforcement and community leaders. It not only harms businesses but also affects the overall shopping experience for honest customers. We need stronger measures to prevent these crimes and protect our livelihoods.”

Reaction from Afghani American: Zainab, who runs a convenience store in Virginia, noted: “The frequent incidents of shoplifting have forced us to reconsider our business model. We’re thinking of moving to a different location or even closing down. It’s disheartening because we’ve built strong relationships with our customers over the years.”

Conclusion

While the United States excels in many areas, it faces significant challenges that hinder the well-being of its residents. From poor healthcare and high education costs to child poverty and gun violence, these issues require urgent attention and reform. By learning from the successes of other developed nations, America can strive to create a more equitable and supportive environment for all its citizens.

Reaction from Indian American: “America has many opportunities, but it also has many challenges. It’s crucial for policymakers to address these issues to improve the quality of life for everyone,” concludes Anjali, an entrepreneur in California.

Reaction from Pakistani American: “Addressing these systemic issues is vital for creating a better future for all Americans,” says Saad, a financial analyst in New York.

Reaction from Afghani American: “Reforming these areas can significantly improve the lives of millions,” shares Fatima, a community organizer in California.

Reaction from Bangladeshi American: “It’s important for the US to learn from other countries and implement changes that benefit everyone,” comments Hossain, an engineer in New Jersey.

Reaction from Nepalese American: “Policymakers need to prioritize these issues to ensure a better quality of life for all residents,” says Sharma, Retailer in Illinois.

Reaction from Sri Lankan American: “With concerted effort, America can overcome these challenges and become a more supportive”. Premdasa, Florida.

Recommendations

Despite these challenges, the United States remains a land of immense potential and opportunity. Addressing these issues head-on can help restore and maintain the dignity of the nation, ensuring it remains a place where everyone can thrive.

Tackling Retail Theft

Politicians can implement and support stronger laws and policies to combat retail theft. Enhanced security measures, better coordination with law enforcement, and community programs to deter crime are essential. Grants and incentives for small businesses to invest in security technologies can also make a significant difference.

Improving Healthcare

To address the high cost of healthcare, politicians should advocate for reforms that increase transparency and competition among providers. Expanding access to affordable healthcare through public options or subsidies can ensure that all Americans receive the care they need without financial strain.

Making Education Affordable

Investing in education is crucial. Politicians can work towards making higher education more affordable by increasing funding for scholarships, reducing interest rates on student loans, and supporting community colleges and vocational training programs. These steps can help reduce the burden of student debt and make education accessible to all.

Reducing Child Poverty

Combating child poverty requires comprehensive social safety nets. Expanding programs like the Child Tax Credit, SNAP, and affordable housing initiatives can provide the necessary support for families in need. Policies promoting fair wages and job opportunities are also vital in lifting families out of poverty.

Addressing Food Deserts

To tackle food deserts, politicians can support initiatives that bring grocery stores and farmers’ markets to underserved areas. Incentives for urban farming and community gardens, as well as partnerships with local businesses, can help provide fresh and affordable food to all communities.

Improving Public Transport and Infrastructure

Investing in public transportation and infrastructure is essential for the country’s growth. Politicians should push for comprehensive infrastructure bills that address the needs of urban and rural areas alike. Improving roads, bridges, and public transit systems can enhance mobility and economic opportunities for all citizens.

Enhancing Safety and Reducing Gun Violence

To improve safety and reduce gun violence, politicians can advocate for common-sense gun laws, including background checks and restrictions on high-capacity magazines. Community-based programs that address the root causes of violence, such as poverty and lack of education, are also crucial.

Providing Better Maternity Leave and Work-Life Balance

Supporting policies that provide paid maternity leave and promote a healthy work-life balance can improve the quality of life for American workers. Politicians should advocate for family-friendly workplace policies that enable parents to spend time with their children without sacrificing their careers.

Combating Homelessness

Addressing homelessness requires a multi-faceted approach. Politicians can support affordable housing projects, increase funding for mental health and addiction services, and provide job training programs to help individuals reintegrate into society. Collaborative efforts between federal, state, and local governments are essential in tackling this issue effectively.

By focusing on these areas, politicians can help create a more equitable and prosperous America. Addressing these issues not only enhances the quality of life for all citizens but also upholds the values of freedom and bravery that define the United States. Through dedicated effort and collaboration, the nation can overcome its challenges and continue to be a beacon of hope and opportunity for the world.

About the Author

Dr. Tausif Malik is an Indian American social entrepreneur, publisher, and academician, renowned for his innovative ventures. He founded and publishes The Desi BuzzGCC Startup News, Startup Berita, and Halal Biz News, amplifying entrepreneurship globally. Dr. Malik also spearheads AIMBSNHalal Angels Network, and Startup Villages, fostering startup ecosystems. His groundbreaking initiative, RiseBack.org, offers affordable edtech solutions, providing Indian university programs starting at $50 per month and professional IT courses priced at $250-$350. Through his diverse endeavors, Dr. Malik empowers individuals with access to education and opportunities.

Dr. Tausif Malik
Dr. Tausif Malik, a serial entrepreneur, academician, publisher, and editor, founder behind The Desi Buzz, GCCStartup.News, and StartupBerita.com. Notably, he is the driving force behind RiseBack.org, the world's first Affordable Education Platform (Edtech). RiseBack.org is dedicated to fostering accessible University degrees (Undergraduate & Graduate/Masters) with starting fees as low as $60 per month, collaborating with accredited Indian Universities. Dr. Tausif Malik is a firm advocate of empowerment through education and fostering development through entrepreneurship.
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