Overlooked stories: what are we missing?

An anti-drug-war protester holds up a sign in New York City
Image caption Could this be the end of the war on drugs?

Iran's nuclear program. Healthcare reform. Syria. The US government shutdown. President Obama's poll numbers. Plenty of ink and bandwidth have been dedicated to hashing and rehashing these stories in the media.

But what else is out there? We can often get so hung up on the "it" story that we lose perspective and miss something really important looming on the horizon. Conventional wisdom can be turned on its head in an instant, but in hindsight the coming change can be all too clear.

I asked some columnists and commentators what they thought was the biggest overlooked story right now. Their answers are below. What do you think?

Centralised wealth

Perhaps because so many Washington journalists share the company of, the self-interest of and - in many cases - the same tax-bracket as the capital city's most affluent residents, the real issue of the accelerating concentration of wealth in the top 1% and growing income inequality between the most advantaged and everyone else does not get the coverage and attention it merits.

It is a good bet that what opposition to the US war in Iraq was to the 2008 campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination - the defining issue - income inequality/the 'rigged' economic system will be for the 2016 campaign. - Mark Shields, columnist

The end of the Mexican migration

The story I think that is most overlooked today is that net immigration from Mexico to the United States since 2007 has been zero, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, in a study of both US and Mexican statistics. This is a sharp departure from the huge 1982-2007 surge of immigration from Mexico to the United States and has implications for any immigration legislation.

Surges of migration, both internal and immigrant, have often stopped suddenly and unexpectedly, as the surge of Mexican immigration has done, at least temporarily. It is my prediction that we won't see a surge of Mexican migration of similar magnitude in the future. - Michael Barone, Washington Examiner and author of Shaping Our Nation: How Surges of Immigration Transformed America and Its Politics

The war on drugs

The legalisation of marijuana in Colorado and Washington, treated largely as an amusing novelty, could prove to be the beginning of the end for the war on drugs, a disastrous, pervasively perverse policy that dates back not to the Reagan or Nixon administrations, as commonly asserted, but to the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914.

Nearly a century later, after millions of arrests, countless years of incarceration, and the steady erosion of civil liberties in the name of achieving a "drug-free society" - a goal that is neither feasible nor desirable - Americans finally seem to be reconsidering the idea that prohibition is a just and sensible way to deal with the hazards posed by psychoactive substances. - Jacob Sullum, Reason magazine

A so-called economic recovery

The subject most overlooked is the underwhelming nature of this "recovery". Historically, the deeper the recession the stronger the bounce back - not so with what may be the weakest recovery on record, certainly the weakest since World War II.

The 2% gross domestic product growth is now the new normal, but with each dreary quarter GDP numbers, reporters use adjectives like "steady" or "improving". Since when have 2% growth numbers been acceptable?! - Larry Elder, syndicated columnist and radio chat show host

Citizen apathy

Two words: citizen apathy. Buried within the very soul of America is the idea that we are a "can do" country - but not lately. We cannot seem to come up with real solutions to the very real problems facing our country, so they linger and rot away at our foundation.

There has been no cohesive citizen action, no massive outcry for change as we're faced with myriad economic and political disasters.

To name a few: a stunning percentage of Americans now on government assistance programmes, chronic unemployment, a financial community that seems almost completely immune from punishment over the mortgage crisis and the partial banking collapse it created, the shocking number of Americans held in prisons, the increasing number of mass shootings carried out by mentally unstable people, and last but not least, the outrageous ineffectiveness of our national political leaders.

Why is it that so few of us dedicate any time at all to making this a better, stronger country in which to live?

I fear it may take another American Revolution to turn things around. - Diane Dimond, author and syndicated columnist