26 votes

‘There’s something terribly wrong’: Americans are dying young at alarming rates

25 comments

  1. [17]
    stephen
    Link
    These are in part diseases of despair. Life sux. Billboard musicians have it tattooed on their faces. Neo-liberalism has failed. Decades of the people in power treating the American public just as...

    Death rates from suicide, drug overdoses, liver disease ... obesity

    These are in part diseases of despair. Life sux. Billboard musicians have it tattooed on their faces.

    Neo-liberalism has failed.

    Decades of the people in power treating the American public just as "voters" and "consumers" have taken their toll. To them we are just lines on spreadsheets to be parsed and prodded to elicit compliance. No wonder people are miserable. We have ceded willingly or unwillingly all the power over our futures to people who treats us like variables in algorithms to be optimized.

    This article is full of it. Does it interview a family member of someone who OD'd or killed themself? Someone who experiences despair? No. It interview intellectual elites from Dartmouth and the University of Chicago.

    The findings are sure to fuel political debates

    Among whom? It's obvious to those of us who live lives of toil and want. Exactly who is debating this? The elites have failed. Anyone still pondering this matter has shown their hand. "I wonder why the peasants are so sad. Better read another McKinsey report."

    Maybe if these people left their yuppie enclaves and started working the beat the espouse to study a la Studs Terkel they would not be so confused.

    36 votes
    1. [13]
      dubteedub
      Link Parent
      Yup, the article even spells this out saying that those with a high-school diploma or less are in a "sea of despair" I do think it is interesting that those primarily affected the most by this...

      These are in part diseases of despair. Life sux. Billboard musicians have it tattooed on their faces.

      Yup, the article even spells this out saying that those with a high-school diploma or less are in a "sea of despair"

      Princeton professors Anne Case and Angus Deaton, whose much-publicized report in 2015 highlighted the death rates in middle-aged whites, published a paper in 2017 pointing to a widening gap in health associated with levels of education, a trend dating to the 1970s. Case told reporters their research showed a “sea of despair” in the United States among people with only a high school diploma or less. She declined to comment on the new report.

      The findings are sure to fuel political debates

      I do think it is interesting that those primarily affected the most by this seem to be people with very low education that live in rust belt states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Indiana. On the political debate side, these are the exact demographic that constitute Donald Trump's base.

      While I believe that the large majority of his support is derived by racism and scapegoating of immigrants, black people, and Muslims, there is certainly an undercurrent of truth that those in economically depressed areas of traditional manufacturing are being left behind by the economy. Trump provided easy answers to the hard questions faced by these people with dwindling job prospects, declining health, and an opioid epidemic that ravished communities in assigning blame on brown people taking their jobs. With the next election less than a year away, I think that this shows that Democrats need to present a positive message to appeal to these folks and show how they are going to actually address these systemic issues.

      13 votes
      1. [9]
        stephen
        Link Parent
        This is why Bernie polls so well in Trump territory. They both used a lot of anti-establishment rhetoric. Trump's answers were just, as you pointed out, oversimplified and/or scapegoats directed...

        I think that this shows that Democrats need to present a positive message to appeal to these folks and show how they are going to actually address these systemic issues.

        This is why Bernie polls so well in Trump territory. They both used a lot of anti-establishment rhetoric. Trump's answers were just, as you pointed out, oversimplified and/or scapegoats directed at social minorities.

        Trump's campaign strategy was to use Bernie's economic populism (among... ahem... other things) and spread it with a nativist tinge to appeal the to existing """Freedom""" Caucus built by the Tea Partiers.

        There's much talk about in the Dem establishment and corporate media-outlets appealing to swing voters. But economic populism never gets brought up. I think this is part because the economic establishment has to be working for you pretty damn well if you're a party elite or a mass media editor/talking

        This spells out why a Joe Biden 2020 general election would be a disaster. In addition to being one of non-Bernie candidates currently not organizing a movement, he is a economic status quo guy. If the Dems run anyone but the "stick it the billionaires" guy they will lose. As for Warren, maybe "big structural Bailey" will resonate but the whole identifying as Native American in 86 thing is a liability. So idk.

        Anyone else will run on "we need to protect the system from Trump" when what they really need to run on is "The system is fucked. Trump is fucked. Let's make big changes."

        11 votes
        1. [2]
          dubteedub
          Link Parent
          Looking at the deciding states of the 2016 election it seems like the latest polls show Biden is a pretty clear favorite. Wisconsin (11/13 - 11/17) - Biden 30%, Sanders 17%, Warren 15%, Buttigieg...

          This is why Bernie polls so well in Trump territory.

          This spells out why a Joe Biden 2020 general election would be a disaster.

          Looking at the deciding states of the 2016 election it seems like the latest polls show Biden is a pretty clear favorite.

          • Wisconsin (11/13 - 11/17) - Biden 30%, Sanders 17%, Warren 15%, Buttigieg 13%
          • Michigan (10.31 - 11/3 - Biden 34%, Sanders 28%, Warren 19%, Buttigieg 8%
          • Pennsylvania (10/21 - 10/27) - Biden 30%, Warren 18%, Sanders 12%, Buttigieg 8%

          The other rust belt states mentioned in the article all have Biden ahead as well, though their latest polls are a lot older.

          • Ohio (10/1 - 10/7) - Biden 32%, Warren 21%, Sanders 13%, Harris 6%
          • Indiana (4/19 - 5/5) - Biden 33%, Sanders 23%, Buttigieg 20%, Harris 3%
          • Kentucky does not have a poll available.

          In fact, I have not been able to find a single state poll that shows Sanders is polling in the lead.

          I looked up all these polls from here - https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2020-primaries/democratic/.

          All of the deep red states in the South have Biden ahead very strongly ahead over the other candidates due to the large support he has from the black electorate.

          That is not to say that I disagree with you on the need for large systemic changes to our system. I am just saying that I have not seen evidence that shows Sanders is the only Democrat that can beat Trump.

          7 votes
          1. stephen
            Link Parent
            Sorry I should clarify, polling well against Trump in hypothetical general election. I'm also not saying he is the only one polling well - just that he polls well compared to say, mayo Pete or Yang.

            Sorry I should clarify, polling well against Trump in hypothetical general election. I'm also not saying he is the only one polling well - just that he polls well compared to say, mayo Pete or Yang.

            6 votes
        2. [6]
          SunSpotter
          Link Parent
          I think the Democrats have seen the writing on the wall about Biden, because I've started seeing a lot of push for Bloomberg lately. Unfortunately, I feel less certain about Bloomberg than Biden....

          This spells out why a Joe Biden 2020 general election would be a disaster.

          I think the Democrats have seen the writing on the wall about Biden, because I've started seeing a lot of push for Bloomberg lately. Unfortunately, I feel less certain about Bloomberg than Biden. I have this intense fear that the Democrats won't be able to get over themselves, and will try to block Bernie again. It scares me because if they disenfranchise liberal voters like last time, I know it's going to end badly, and I don't want 4 more years of Trump.

          1. stephen
            Link Parent
            I am 100% certain that Bloomberg is being sold to the base by the media. The mainstream, centrist/center-right media outlets are doing everything they can to stop Bernie, again. It's obvious why...

            Bloomberg

            I am 100% certain that Bloomberg is being sold to the base by the media. The mainstream, centrist/center-right media outlets are doing everything they can to stop Bernie, again. It's obvious why they would rather have a ratings hog and crook in office than a progressive. It's too bad people still watch cable and network news.

            7 votes
          2. [4]
            Loire
            Link Parent
            There has been no push for Bloomberg. I don't know where people get these ideas from. Bloomberg is universally derided for trying to get in the race. Biden is still the leading candidate pretty...

            There has been no push for Bloomberg. I don't know where people get these ideas from. Bloomberg is universally derided for trying to get in the race.

            Biden is still the leading candidate pretty much across the board. This monolithic group referred to as "Democrats" by the internet has not done anything to change that, and if they saw "The writing was on the wall" for Biden, and decided to ignore all of the polling showing otherwise, why would they select Bloomberg of all people to replace him?

            6 votes
            1. [3]
              SunSpotter
              Link Parent
              The push is on cable and other ad spots. No one I've talked to is actually a fan of him, but it's obvious there's a lot of money being thrown behind him.

              The push is on cable and other ad spots. No one I've talked to is actually a fan of him, but it's obvious there's a lot of money being thrown behind him.

              3 votes
              1. Loire
                Link Parent
                He is also, himself, one of the richest men in the world.

                He is also, himself, one of the richest men in the world.

                5 votes
              2. dubteedub
                Link Parent
                Yeah, thats because Bloomberg spent almost $40 million of his own dollars in the forst 3 weeks of his campaign. Thats not support from the Dem establishment or anyone else. Its just a rich...

                Yeah, thats because Bloomberg spent almost $40 million of his own dollars in the forst 3 weeks of his campaign. Thats not support from the Dem establishment or anyone else. Its just a rich blowhard self promoting.

                Bloomberg makes ‘massive’ ad buy

                2 votes
      2. [3]
        NaraVara
        Link Parent
        Not quite. The disaffected people simply don’t vote at all. Donald Trump’s base is mostly fairly well off despite having lower education levels. Think professions like plumbing. They’re doing fine.

        On the political debate side, these are the exact demographic that constitute Donald Trump's base.

        Not quite. The disaffected people simply don’t vote at all. Donald Trump’s base is mostly fairly well off despite having lower education levels. Think professions like plumbing. They’re doing fine.

        2 votes
        1. [2]
          dubteedub
          Link Parent
          Do you have a source for that?

          Do you have a source for that?

          1. NaraVara
            Link Parent
            Yeah, about Trump's base at least. It's actually hard to separate out various factors since income is covariate with age and education, but Clinton won the actual working class vote pretty...

            Yeah, about Trump's base at least.

            White over $50,000: Analysts have frequently noted that the median Trump voter wasn’t poor. Many low-income whites didn’t vote; wealthier whites who would benefit from Trump’s tax cuts were more likely to turn out. Here, I analyze whites earning more than $50,000, a reasonable cut-off for non-poor in most states.

            It's actually hard to separate out various factors since income is covariate with age and education, but Clinton won the actual working class vote pretty decisively.

            As for disaffected people not voting that one is harder to find because it's really hard to get great individual level survey data on voting habits. Almost everything you find is county or precinct level, which can't really do the kind of analysis we'd need. So we more need to rely on anecdotes and mine are mostly informed by experiences phone-banking and seeing patterns in what sorts of people were receptive or not.

            6 votes
    2. [4]
      Comment deleted by author
      Link Parent
      1. [2]
        DrStone
        Link Parent
        For that, you can click on “label” for the comment and use “Exemplary”

        For that, you can click on “label” for the comment and use “Exemplary”

        7 votes
        1. Amarok
          Link Parent
          As long as your account is at least a week old, that is. The label feature doesn't show up for the first week.

          As long as your account is at least a week old, that is. The label feature doesn't show up for the first week.

          1 vote
      2. stephen
        Link Parent
        Thanks much! I do my best to keep tildes high quality. Your message means a great deal to me :)

        Thanks much! I do my best to keep tildes high quality. Your message means a great deal to me :)

        1 vote
  2. [7]
    Sahasrahla
    Link
    What's different about California? It and Wyoming were the only states with no increase in "midlife mortality rates", and while Wyoming could perhaps be written off as a statistical fluke or a...

    What's different about California? It and Wyoming were the only states with no increase in "midlife mortality rates", and while Wyoming could perhaps be written off as a statistical fluke or a special case, California is a large and diverse (by any measure) state with a population comparable to countries like Canada or Argentina. The article offers some hints

    About a third of the estimated 33,000 “excess deaths” that the study says occurred since 2010 were in just four states: Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Indiana...

    but even outside of the hardest hit areas the map shows problems across the country. Interestingly, this doesn't seem to be a "red-state blue-state" problem that could be explained away by differences in progressive/regressive local politics. Some left-leaning states in the north-east are hit particularly hard and traditionally conservative states like Texas and Georgia are doing relatively well.

    “Some of it may be due to obesity, some of it may be due to drug addiction, some of it may be due to distracted driving from cellphones,” Woolf said. Given the breadth and pervasiveness of the trend, “it suggests that the cause has to be systemic, that there’s some root cause that’s causing adverse health across many different dimensions for working-age adults.”
    ...
    “There’s something more fundamental about how people are feeling at some level — whether it’s economic, whether it’s stress, whether it’s deterioration of family,” [Meara] said. “People are feeling worse about themselves and their futures, and that’s leading them to do things that are self-destructive and not promoting health.”

    Sounds like a closer look at the data is needed. Much of the article hints at economic distress but there's a lot of speculation too. And, even if the root cause is economic, how does that interact with other factors like drug policy or the food industry considering that opioid use and obesity are implicated?


    For comparison I was wondering what trends in life expectancy look like here in Canada. According to this article from Statistics Canada (May, 2019) life expectancy did not increase from 2016 to 2017, "a first in over four decades". However, the article places the blame squarely on drug deaths (especially in young men, but also women) which were associated mainly with the opioid crisis and which most heavily affected BC and to an extent Alberta. As the article put it:

    Increases in life expectancy in four provinces are largely offset by a marked decline in British Columbia... Although older men are living longer, the increase in deaths among young men almost completely offset these gains. A similar pattern occurred among women, although to a lesser extent... While developments in treatments for cancer, circulatory disease and other causes of death led to improvements in life expectancy, these gains were offset by losses in life expectancy from other causes. In particular, the drug overdose crisis occurring in Canada was a major contributing factor in the changes seen in life expectancy from 2016 to 2017... Of all accidental drug poisoning deaths, opioid-related deaths are responsible for a large share of the loss of life expectancy in Canada in 2017...

    6 votes
    1. [6]
      Loire
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      The decrease in Alberta is easily explainable, the province is in a long term economic downturn that started in late 2014 and shows no signs of abating. Suicides and increasing opioid addiction...

      The decrease in Alberta is easily explainable, the province is in a long term economic downturn that started in late 2014 and shows no signs of abating. Suicides and increasing opioid addiction are likely in that scenario. British Columbia is a lot more surprising. Addiction seems common in Vancouver and the housing market there is insane but otherwise they are doing fine economically. I wonder if the northeast, Fort St. John region is dragging the province down as that area is essentially Alberta and is suffering from the oil downturn.

      3 votes
      1. [5]
        Autoxidation
        Link Parent
        Alberta's income is heavily tied to the price of oil. Pretty much the only things going for the province are farming/ranching and oil extraction/refining. When oil really starts to swing downwards...

        Alberta's income is heavily tied to the price of oil. Pretty much the only things going for the province are farming/ranching and oil extraction/refining. When oil really starts to swing downwards with increased pressure to swap to alternatives, I expect there be a lot of very disgruntled people there. Many have grown accustomed to the prosperity the oil industry has brought in the past decade or so. High paying jobs straight out of high school ($40+ an hour) is fairly common. Lots of jacked up trucks and expensive houses in oil towns. Those places are poised to be hard hit by shifting off of oil.

        3 votes
        1. [4]
          Loire
          Link Parent
          They aren't "poised". Alberta never recovered from the oil crash in 2015. They've been down since then and are about to get kicked once more as oil busts again.

          They aren't "poised". Alberta never recovered from the oil crash in 2015. They've been down since then and are about to get kicked once more as oil busts again.

          3 votes
          1. [3]
            Autoxidation
            Link Parent
            I'm thinking when refineries actually close and people are forced to move out of those towns.

            I'm thinking when refineries actually close and people are forced to move out of those towns.

            1. [2]
              Loire
              Link Parent
              There are only four oil refineries in the province and all four are in cities too big to force mass migrations. Most of the oilfield work is Alberta is related directly to drilling (/mining in the...

              There are only four oil refineries in the province and all four are in cities too big to force mass migrations. Most of the oilfield work is Alberta is related directly to drilling (/mining in the case of certain oilsands deposits) and related secondary service industries.

              Honestly the fact that Alberta isn't suffering even worse than it already is, is something of a good sign. The province peaked at 8.1% unemployment when drilling essentially ceased, and it's dropped 2% since then despite the provinces inability to return to 2014 levels of drilling. At it's peak in 2014 there were 450 drilling rigs in the province and now they are at less than a hundred. Despite this 75% drop in conventional drilling the province has absorbed the unemployed moderately well.

              The province is more diverse than Canada gives it credit for. They will never again be the powerhouse that they were but it's not a Newfoundland situation either.

              2 votes
              1. Autoxidation
                Link Parent
                When I visit I still see a lot of oil money, which means most of the commercial industry there relies on that part of the economy. Beyond farming and ranching, there isn't much there, at least...

                When I visit I still see a lot of oil money, which means most of the commercial industry there relies on that part of the economy. Beyond farming and ranching, there isn't much there, at least outside of the main metropolitan areas. Forestry, fishing, mining, and oil and gas extraction is 28% of Alberta's economy. The trend is only going to go down as demand falls with pushes towards greener technology.

  3. ubergeek
    Link
    Life expectancy is down, as is birth rate. It's almost as if the newer generation doesn't feel like life is worthwhile to live any more. I wonder why? /s

    Life expectancy is down, as is birth rate. It's almost as if the newer generation doesn't feel like life is worthwhile to live any more.

    I wonder why? /s

    3 votes