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  • The second and third indicators, income equity and poverty, are measures of current income distribution.

  • The fourth indicator, savings rate, is a key factor in assessing long-term economic growth.

  • The fifth indicator, environmental wealth, is based on a new measure of wealth that reflects resource depletion and environmental costs.

  • Finally, the sixth indicator, based on per capita production per hour worked, is designed to measure productivity.

As a group, these represent a balanced and measurable set of indicators. Baseline data for five of the six indicators are readily available. Because of both conceptual and practical problems, developing an indicator on environmental wealth, however, is more problematic. The Commerce Department has been attempting to construct a very similar indicator, often referred to as Green GDP. Currently, work has been halted by Appropriations Committee language, adopted in 1994, barring further development of this indicator.

PCSD Goal: A Healthy Environment

Ensure that every person can enjoy the benefits of clean air, clean water, safe food, and secure and pleasant surroundings.

Indicators of progress toward this goal are not all currently measurable:

  • The first indicator, toxic materials per capita, is based on measures of long-lived and other toxic materials released into the environment as pollutants or waste; it does not consider distribution of toxic pollution across the U.S. population.

  • The second indicator, life expectancy, is based on measures of expected life span covering various economic and demographic groups.

  • The third indicator, infant mortality, is based on measures of infant mortality rates developed for various economic and demographic groups.

  • The fourth indicator, safe drinking water, is based on measures of the percentage of the population whose safe drinking water does not meet safe drinking water standards. This indicator assumes the accuracy of the SDWA's definition of "safe."

  • The fifth indicator, clean air, is based on a measure of the percent of U.S. population that lives in cities where air quality standards for one or more pollutants are not met. This indicator is consistent with the ambient standards of the Clean Air Act.

These five indicators cover a broad range of issues, yet they do so in a fairly general matter. In many respects, they correspond to the EPA milestones. However, EPA has a total of 65 milestones (the great majority of which are health related). The PCSD has clearly opted for breadth over specificity.

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