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US drops to ‘alarming’ number 18 on Global Happiness Index while progressive Nordic nations thrive

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Nordic countries with strong social welfare structures fared best, as they have in previous years, on the United Nation’s annual accounting of global happiness—while the United States finished in 18th place, down four spots from 2017.

Finland was ranked number one on the World Happiness Report, compiled by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. The country was joined by other Scandinavian nations—Norway, Denmark, and Iceland—in the top four, followed by Switzerland, the Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden, and Australia.

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“I think there really is a deep and very unsettling signal coming through that U.S. society is in many ways under profound stress, even though the economy by traditional measures is doing fine,” Jeffrey D. Sachs, an editor of the report, told the New York Times. “The trends are not good, and the comparative position of the U.S. relative to other high-income countries is nothing short of alarming.”

The drop followed President Donald Trump’s first year in office, during which the majority of Americans reported disapproval of the country’s top elected official, and hundreds of thousands protested his regressive policies on immigrationwomen’s reproductive rights, and gun control—as well as widespread concerns that the president is blatantly profiting off his position in public office.

The past year also saw reports of America’s widening wealth gap, with the average upper middle-class household holding 75 times more wealth than low-income families.

Trump’s tax law, pushed through Congress despite the disapproval of 53 percent of Americans, only heightened the perception of many people that the government is intent on transferring wealth to the richest Americans while the majority live paycheck to paycheck.

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The World Happiness Report ranks countries according to per capita GDP, social support, life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity, and corruption levels.

Life expectancy in the U.S. dropped for the second year in a row in 2017, with researchers suggesting that the opioid addiction epidemic and inequality are related to the decline.

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Reigning political ideologies in the highest-ranking nations contrast sharply with that of the U.S., noted the researchers.

The countries in the top 10 tend to “believe that what makes people happy is solid social support systems, good public services, and even paying a significant amount in taxes for that,” said Sachs.

Every top-ranking country also ensures that every citizen has access to free or affordable healthcare, while millions of Americans remain uninsured despite the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Why was Jeffrey Epstein buying size 5 women’s panties — while in jail?

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The Miami Herald has another bombshell report on Jeffrey Epstein, who died in a Manhattan jail while waiting to stand trial on federal sex crimes charges.

"A decade ago, during a brief stint in Palm Beach County Jail, convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein made an odd purchase at the facility’s store: two pairs of small women’s panties, size 5," the Herald reported Saturday night.

The newspaper noted, "the panties raise questions about why a childless male inmate, accused of sexually abusing girls as young as 14, would be allowed to buy female undergarments so small that they wouldn’t fit an average-sized adult woman."

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White nationalist Republican ridiculed after only 2 people show up for his town hall meeting

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Embattled Rep. Steve King (R-IA) suffered further humiliation on Saturday when only two people showed up for his town hall meeting with Iowa constituents.

King, who was stripped of all committee assignments for his white nationalism, was been an embarrassment for Republicans with his constant racism and misogyny.

A photo of the town hall meeting was posted on Twitter by Reuters photo editor Corinne Perkins.

https://twitter.com/corinne_perkins/status/1162806565109473280

Rep. King was quickly mocked in the comments.

Here's some of what people were saying:

https://twitter.com/sedespres/status/1162811223186006018

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2020 Election

Democrats could flip the Texas state house in 2020 — and reshape the national map

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Blue Texas? Democrats have long dreamt of winning Texas’s 38 electoral votes in the presidential election. That may still be a long shot, but a recent “Texodus” from Congress has given new talk to a political transformation across the Lone Star State that could have massive ramifications down the ballot and for decades to come.

This article was originally posted at Salon.

Four of the state’s GOP members of Congress have announced their retirements in recent weeks, an unusual torrent of departures signaling that a storm is coming. And evidence shows that it’s not just hitting Texas’s federal delegation. It’s coming to Austin, too.

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