The Caging of America
there are now more people under “correctional supervision” in America—more than six million—than were in the Gulag Archipelago under Stalin at its height
in 1980, there were about two hundred and twenty people incarcerated for every hundred thousand Americans; by 2010, the number had more than tripled, to seven hundred and thirty-one. No other country even approaches that.
The amount of wasted human potential and direct costs of such huge numbers of people in prison is a huge loss to society. Along with things like our broken health care system the damage to our society is enormous and yet we don't seem to be very interested in fixing the problem.
Sadly this is fairly typical; we don't seem to be interested in fixing any of our problems. Instead we just seem to hope the good forces (entrepreneurism, successful businesses, scientific breakthroughs, existing wealth, hard work...) can do enough to make up for the wastes (prison, bailouts for too-big-to-fail-institutions, healthcare costs, anti-market favors for big political donors [flawed intellectual property rules, failure to preserve competitive markets - allowing companies to buy competitors to eliminate competition...], security theatre...).