Yves Smith directs us to, among others things, a discussion by Kate Pickett. Pickett's presentation notes that the US has more "bads" than most other wealthy, 'modern' countries — across the board. Greater inequalities in longevity, crime, mobility, happiness, education, and on and on.
It is time to stop pretending that this is an accident of other phenomena in the US. Rather, this is what the American elite want.
Americans equate wealth, longevity, "good looks" (in the form of housing, fashion, personal appearance) with virtue. Americans embrace the notion that the wealthier, longer-lived elite are better, innately better, morally better, intellectually better.
Americans embrace an innateness of status that was rejected by Europeans through the French Revolution and numerous other social upheavals.
Worst, Obama, most Democrats, all Republicans, and most important, the Oligarchs (the top 1% or so), want the rest of us to be worse off — in every sense.
This is an explanation that has all the merits attributed under the scientific method. It is simple. It explains what we observe. It has predictive power. Above all, it explains why Obama and others would pursue the policies they do despite overwhelming factual evidence.