The U.S. poverty rate is at its highest in recent history. (Getty)

In his New York Times column, Charles M. Blow laments the decline of American society, citing statistics from a new international report on social justice in which the U.S. received consistently low scores. The nation has failed the least among us at every turn, and we should be ashamed, he writes. 

We are slowly — and painfully — being forced to realize that we are no longer the America of our imaginations. Our greatness was not enshrined. Being a world leader is less about destiny than focused determination, and it is there that we have faltered.

We sold ourselves a pipe dream that everyone could get rich and no one would get hurt — a pipe dream that exploded like a pipe bomb when the already-rich grabbed for all the gold; when they used their fortunes to influence government and gain favors and protection; when everyone else was left to scrounge around their ankles in hopes that a few coins would fall.

We have not taken care of the least among us. We have allowed a revolting level of income inequality to develop. We have watched as millions of our fellow countrymen have fallen into poverty. And we have done a poor job of educating our children and now threaten to leave them a country that is a shell of its former self. We should be ashamed.

Read Charles M. Blow's entire column at the New York Times.