Americans have definitely been losing the ability to empathize with those who are worse off than they are or who are suffering. A lot of this may have to do with how we have been raising children in such a way that they feel entitled and overly-important. As young ones grow up, it's very wise to expose them to people in various situations, as well as to encourage them to care about others and whatever they are going through. I feel another reason we are becoming desensitized to others' needs is the belief that we can make a donation and all will be right with the world. It is much more important to teach young people to donate their time and resources, not just with financial contributions.
Americans lack the ability to put themselves in other people's shoes. Part of this is due to the media in the United States. The majority of the news we receive is local and specific only to the United States. We rarely receive world news and even when we do, it is generally European based.