The critical environmental and sustainability issues of the United States of America:
- Government Debt
The U.S. government’s public debt is now more than $22 trillion — the highest it has ever been. The Treasury Department data comes as tax revenue has fallen and federal spending continues to rise. The new debt level reflects a rise of more than $2 trillion from the day President Trump took office in 2017.
Over the next 10 years, annual federal deficits — when Congress spends more than it takes in through tax revenues — are expected to average $1.2 trillion, which would be 4.4 percent of gross domestic product. That’s far higher than the 2.9 percent of GDP that has been the average for the past 50 years.
- Health Care System
According to the Commonwealth Fund, which regularly ranks the health systems of a handful of developed countries, The United States is the lowest performer, even though it spends the most. More than 27 million people in the United States were uninsured in 2016—nearly a tenth of the population—often because they can’t afford coverage, live in a state that didn’t expand Medicaid, or are undocumented.
According to the Commonwealth Fund’s most recent report, in the United States, “doctors and patients report wasting time on billing and insurance claims”. While insurance coverage in general is great, it’s not ideal that different insurance plans cover different treatments and procedures, forcing doctors to spend precious hours coordinating with insurance companies to provide care.
American colleges and universities are failing in one of their most basic missions: to equip students with the tools they need for a career. Many students graduate ill-prepared to earn a living and pay off the debt they’ve accumulated getting their degrees—40% of those who start college don’t finish within six years. The graduation rates are also poor, with just 39 percent of full-time college students earning a bachelor’s degree in four years, and only 59 percent finishing in six years. Despite these problems, colleges continue to raise tuition. Because federal loan money is handed out with little scrutiny as to the student’s ability to pay it back, colleges have had free reign to raise prices at levels often double the inflation rate. Students are borrowing more money and taking on more and more debt. And with federal loans accounting for much of the $1.5 trillion in outstanding student loan debt and more than a million people defaulting on their loans, taxpayers are picking up much of the tab for this broken system.