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U.S. Downgraded to Third World Nation

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Yesterday, while millions of Americans waited until the last moment to cheerfully open their veins for Uncle Sam, word came tumbling through the news wires to prove their money was going to a good cause. It was going to the benefit of a needy, bankrupt, slightly shady, poorly governed Third World nation.

That's right, folks, Standard & Poor's made it official when it cut its outlook for the national debt from "stable" to "negative." We are now officially a Third World country. While JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Bank of America each report billions in quarterly profit, the country in which they're situated is starting to look like Greece, which may have to restructure its national debt.

I was wondering when S&P or Moody's would finally put their official stamp on what had been obvious for a very long time. We are a country whose word cannot be entirely trusted. Sure, our national debt still has its AAA rating. But there's just a tinge of doubt being expressed by the credit raters. And how can you blame them? If you were sitting in a cubicle on Water Street in Lower Manhattan, where S&P has its headquarters, you'd feel the same way.

It's been pretty obvious for a long time that this country is a Third World nation, but I'll reel off some of the most obvious indicators for anyone who's been living in a cave for the past few years:

We are dominated by a plutocracy of super-rich fat cats. You don't have to go to India, Paraguay or Egypt to find vast income inequality. Nope, we're doing just fine in the income-inequality department right here in the good old U.S. of A. Thanks to an eroding industrial base, tax breaks for the rich and policies that have sent jobs overseas, we now are right down there in the mud with the cruddiest countries around. Now, where am I getting the data to make such a Marxist statement. (I can just see the comments.) The Central Intelligence Agency, that's where.

Just take a look at the CIA's "Gini index," which shows income distribution throughout the world. The higher a nation's Gini index, the more unequal its income distribution. CIA numbers show that the U.S. ranks 40th of 136 nations surveyed, with Namibia being No. 1, the worst, and Sweden No. 136, the best. We're sandwiched between Jamaica and Cameroon.

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