The death rate of white Americans between 45 and 54 is rising while in the countries that conservatives malign as "nanny states" it is falling. The core problem is among white men and women with little education. Oxy, alcohol, and other self-destructive behaviour is the driver. It is an epidemic of despair. It is a product not only of de-industrialization, but of the politics of resentment and moralistic harping. Cut taxes, cut welfare, cut unemployment, cut Medicaid rather than expand it,blame them for their inadequacies rather than create opportunities. People like Maine Gov. Paul LePage and New Jersey's own bully Chris Christie are leaders in this process - a victimization which goes beyond race and is driven by contempt for the less capable and the less fortunate. - gwc
You Can't Understand American Politics Without Reading This Study
by Josh Marshall // Talking Points Memo
I don't say this lightly or often. But this is one of the most important studies in years in terms of understanding the current state of American politics and society. The study is the work of two Princeton University scholars, Ann Case and Angus Deaton, who analyzed vast quantities of federal government data about mortality rates across age cohorts, racial and ethnic groups and genders.
They made a startling discovery. As you would expect, every age and ethnic/racial grouping has continued to see a steady reduction of morbidity (disease) and increase in lifespans for decades. But there's one major exception: middle aged (45-54) white people. Since roughly 1998, disease and death rates for middle aged white men and women has begun to rise.
To put these numbers in context, this reversal is contrary to the trend in France, Germany, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and Sweden. Indeed, it goes against the trend in every wealthy, industrialized democracy we know of. The aforementioned list is simply the other countries used as reference cases in the study.
Within the US, this reversal is unique among racial and ethnic groups. Hispanics, African Americans, Asians. Historically, health outcomes and lifespans in the US have been heavily race and wealth dependent. So when it comes to lifespans and various disease statistics, African-Americans start off in a worse position. But they share the trend toward improving numbers which is the norm across groups in the US and wealthy countries abroad. Middle aged white people - men and women - are alone in reversing this trend and going backwards. Nor is the trend undifferentiated within this group. It is a most severe among middle-aged whites with the lowest education levels.