But the truth is, its not just the economy that is slowly improving. There are signs that some of the social issues that have plagued us for at least decades are also improving. But outside "elite" academic circles, no one seems to be noticing...or better yet, asking why.
Here are a couple of examples:
On an issue that came up in the debates last week, you'd never know that teen pregnancy is actually on the decline.
A new study, titled “U.S. Teen Pregnancies, Births and Abortions, 2008: National Trends by Age, Race and Ethnicity” published by the Guttmacher Institute, has found teen pregnancy to be down among all racial groups.
Teen pregnancies are at their lowest rates in 40 years, according to the latest numbers dating 2008 which is when the latest statistics were given.
Conventional wisdom has always believed that when the economy is bad, crime goes up. While that has usually been the case historically, not this time.
The rate of major crimes in the U.S. continues to drop – even during the recent recession and its aftermath – and crime experts aren’t sure why...
According to recently released FBI crime statistics, the number of violent crimes -- murder and non-negligent homicide, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault -- reported in the first six months of 2011 declined 6.4 percent compared with the first six months of 2010. The number of property crimes (burglary, larceny-theft and motor vehicle theft) decreased 3.7 percent for the same time frame.
The report is based on information from more than 12,500 law enforcement agencies and shows the continuation of a downward trend in crime that began in 2008.
It’s also part of a broader, longer-term trend: Between 1991 and 2010, the homicide rate fell 51 percent and property crimes dropped 64 percent. Crime rates decreased significantly during the 1990s before flattening out at the start of the new century.
The statistical trend is puzzling and not easily explained.
It seems to me that - rather than wail about how awful things are and suggest that we go back to the 1960's - the pertinent question we should be asking is "why are we seeing these improvements?" Doing so might help us build on the successes.
Now wouldn't that make an interesting topic for a presidential debate?