GRANTHAM: Here are 12 ways people get America all wrong

Jeremy Grantham
Jeremy Grantham Morningstar.com

People prefer good news over bad news.

That bias is theme of Jeremy Grantham’s new quarterly message to GMO’s clients.

“As a bear in the bull market of 1999 I was banned from an institution’s building as being ‘dangerously persuasive and totally wrong!'” the investment legend wrote. “The investment industry also has a great incentive to encourage this optimistic bias, for little money would be made if the market ticked slowly upwards. Five steps forward and two back are far more profitable.”

To illustrate how this bias pervades society, Grantham identified 12 ways the US is thought to be a global leader. And in his charting, he reveals how the facts tell a different, more depressing story.

“It is my attempt to bring home how extreme is our preference for good news over accurate news,” he said.

We grabbed his charts to give you a quick summary of what he’s talking about.

[slideshow]
[slide
permalink=”/#american-wage-growth-has-lagged-most-of-the-developed-world-1″
title=”American wage growth has lagged most of the developed world.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5668bcc82340f83b008b492b/image.jpg”
source=”GMO”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#american-unemployment-is-low-only-because-many-folks-arent-even-trying-to-look-for-jobs-2″
title=”American unemployment is low, only because many folks aren’t even trying to look for jobs.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5668bcc82340f855008b48ee/image.jpg”
source=”GMO”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#america-used-to-be-a-leader-in-labor-force-participation-but-not-anymore-3″
title=”America used to be a leader in labour force participation. But not anymore.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5668bcc82340f817008b48ee/image.jpg”
source=”GMO”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#america-certainly-leads-in-health-care-spending-but-it-doesnt-deliver-on-life-expectancy-4″
title=”America certainly leads in health care spending, but it doesn’t deliver on life expectancy.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5668bcc72340f827018b48d2/image.jpg”
source=”GMO”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#america-is-the-only-place-where-death-rates-are-actually-on-the-rise-thanks-to-share-increases-in-alcoholism-drug-use-and-suicides-5″
title=”America is the only place where death rates are actually on the rise, thanks to share increases in alcoholism, drug use, and suicides.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5668bcc72340f840008b4902/image.jpg”
source=”GMO”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#americans-complain-that-too-much-is-going-to-the-government-but-relative-to-gdp-its-not-that-much-6″
title=”Americans complain that too much is going to the government, but relative to GDP it’s not that much.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5668bcc72340f826018b4902/image.jpg”
source=”GMO”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#at-least-we-live-in-a-fair-society–wrong-7″
title=”‘At least we live in a fair society’ — WRONG”
content=”America is not fair if you think income inequality is a good proxy for this.”
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5668bcc82340f8fb008b48e4/image.jpg”
source=”GMO”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#we-have-a-democracy-where-people-really-count–wrong-8″
title=”‘We have a democracy where people really count’ — WRONG”
content=”America isn’t much of a democracy if you consider the fact that the financial elites can double the chance of a legislative bill getting passed or blocked.”
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5668bcc82340f899008b48d6/image.jpg”
source=”GMO”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#we-have-the-best-education-system-in-the-world–wrong-9″
title=”‘We have the best education system in the world’ — WRONG”
content=”America’s maths and science test scores raise doubt that this country has the best education system in the world.”
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5668bcc82340f8c3008b48f1/image.jpg”
source=”GMO”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#america-lags-during-the-most-important-years-of-intellectual-development-10″
title=”America lags during the most important years of intellectual development.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5668bcc72340f894008b48bc/image.jpg”
source=”GMO”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#america-produce-more-co2-per-capita-than-any-other-country-in-the-world-11″
title=”America produce more CO2 per capita than any other country in the world.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5668bcc72340f8b8008b48f0/image.jpg”
source=”GMO”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#america-is-not-generous-12″
title=”America is not generous.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5668bcc72340f87d008b48d7/image.jpg”
source=”GMO”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[/slideshow]