We're number … 38?

CHARLESTOWN, N.H. — In a recent Oxfam study on worker well-being, the United States came in last of the 38 countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The countries in the OECD include not only western European countries, Canada, and the U.S., but also Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Australia, Poland, Hungary, Turkey, Israel, Chile, Columbia, Costa Rica, and Mexico.

Since most of us are workers, this is a big deal. Most people thought the U.S. was at the top. Why is it at the bottom?

For at least the last 40 years, the U.S. has steadily eliminated worker's rights and increased protections for large corporations. Safety standards have also dropped because the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has experienced repeated funding cuts.

Unions have been undermined so that workers have no voice. Taxes for the rich have decreased while taxes for rest of us have gone up. Most of our representatives in Washington act like they believe that the well-being of the people of the country is not the business of government.

Some state directly that taking care of people is not what they are about and supporting the military and the wealthy and attacking marginalized people is the proper role of government.

As a result, we have increased poverty and homelessness, and many people are working long hours and still not making enough money to get by on.

Even people in our country who seem to be doing well are often one illness or injury away from becoming homeless.

Is this why the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) says life expectancy is dropping in the U.S. and why our rates fall below those of most industrialized countries?

If you are a worker and aren't in the top 20% financially, does how you vote affect your personal quality of life and the lives of the people in your community in a positive or negative way? Are you okay with being on the bottom in terms of worker well-being?

If you want more information on this study, visit bit.ly/725-study.

This Voices Letters from readers was submitted to The Commons.

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