America Ain't All Bad: Five Good Reasons To Be Optimistic


(MENAFN- Asia Times) Recently I've been writing some fairly
gloomy stuff , mostly related to war and international affairs. But even though I've been focusing on scary happenings overseas, I'm still very optimistic about the domestic situation here in the United States. So I thought I'd make a little list of trends that we should be happy about.

First, the big picture. 2020 and 2021 were pretty dark years for the US in many ways - not in
all
ways, but in many. Covid killed a million Americans, there was massive social unrest, violent crime skyrocketed across the nation, and in 2021 inflation soared and real income fell.

There were some good things going on too - Covid relief spending allowed a lot of people to pay down their debts, and the economy rebounded strongly in 2021 - but overall, if you said that 2020-21 were bad years, reasonable people probably wouldn't contradict you. I still expressed optimism during those years, but more of the“We can fix it” variety rather than the“Things are going great” variety.

Those years, and the years of unrest that preceded them in the late 2010s, cemented a negative mood in the minds of the American people that will take a while to heal. But the healing is underway, because there are a bunch of positive trends going on in the nation right now. Here are a few.

Crime is going down now

Violent crime is a huge problem in America today - in fact, it's pretty much always a huge problem in America, since this is generally a very violent country. But in the 1990s, 2000s, and early 2010s things were getting steadily less bad.

(Just as a side note, I like to use murder rates as a proxy for overall violent crime - assault, robbery, and rape are subject to underreporting. If there's a lot of assaults happening, people might just stop calling the cops when they get punched, but everyone calls the cops for a dead body. So I use murder to measure overall violent crime. Also, I often just say“crime” when I mean“violent crime”, because many other people use this shorthand.)

Violent crime hit a low point in 2014. But in 2015, it started drifting up again, and in 2020 it absolutely spiked. Many, including myself, feared that America was entering a long-term period of elevated urban violence, like we did in the 1970s.

But starting in 2022, something good started to happen - violence
started to fall . It fell even more in 2023:


America Ain

Source:
Axios

And the trend looks like it's continuing, or even accelerating, in 2024. The Wall Street Journal has
a great table
where you can look at changes in murder rates in various cities over the last year. In most cities, murders are falling, and in some places they're absolutely plunging:


America Ain

Source:
WSJ

America is becoming safer. Why? Unfortunately, as with the big crime decline that started in the early 1990s, we'll probably never know. Changes in policing and incarceration, the good economy, and falling social unrest are all possibilities.

But the good news here is that the country seems to be getting safer. If the trend continues, we could get back to the relatively good years of the early 2010s.

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Asia Times

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