Everywhere I go I am constantly being bombarded by the America in decline hypothesis. I see multiple books on it in the bookstore; I hear presidential candidates referring to it on TV; I am swamped by it by pundits in the media. I am told that America's best days are behind it, we are declining and will soon be surpassed by others (like China! sure lol!)
ShaMao'er readers will know already that I believe this to be absolute crap. The reasons are myriad, but here's just one representative example of everything that is right in America and in this specific case, truly without comparison anywhere else in the world:
Here's a representative example of what is contained within:
Dan and Jan Duncan—$75 million to various causes, including $50 million to launch the Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children's Hospital. The institute to study and treat pediatric neurological disorders will be completed by 2010. Dan Duncan is chairman and director of Houston-based Enterprise Products, an energy-services company, and wife Jan is a member Texas Children's Board of Trustees. The family has also been extremely active in cancer research and has given millions in support of the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, where Duncan, a cancer survivor, was a patient.
Richard and Melanie Lundquist—$54 million to the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools and California Science Center. Lundquist is the president of Continental Development Corporation, a real-estate company that owns millions of square feet in California commercial space. His wife, Melanie, has been involved in children's educational and social causes and serves on the California Science Center Foundation's Board of Trustees. The 10-year, $50 million commitment to the Partnership for L.A. Schools aims to improve the city's public schools, but it is a conditional gift—the schools must show progress and meet benchmarks in test scores, graduation rates, and other categories. The two also gave $10 million to establish the Lundquist Cardiovascular Institute at Torrance Memorial Medical Center in Torrance, Calif.
As the name of the article implies, these are just 2 of 60 examples in 2007. The smallest donation on the list is for $30 million dollars.
Ever heard of Mr. and Mrs. Duncan or Mr. and Mrs. Lundquist? Neither have I. And that is the thing about America. Random people make giant fortunes in a legitimate non-corrupt fashion and they give it back. On a regular basis and to an extent completely unrivaled in the rest of the world (see below graph), they give it back to improve the nation.