Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Reversing The Tragic Trends Of Our Time

Economy: It's sad that many of the routine improvements in the U.S. quality of life that we once took for granted have suddenly and dramatically worsened in recent years. Something has gone terribly wrong with the economy.
In just the last week or so, new data have emerged suggesting troubling trends in the U.S. They include:
> U.S. life expectancy. For nearly all U.S. history, it was taken for granted that each generation would live longer than the previous one. As recently as 1960, the average person lived just 69.77 years. That rose to 78.9 years by 2014. But last year, for the first time since 1993 (the peak for the AIDS pandemic), life expectancy in the U.S. fell to 78.8 years. This has happened before in Russia and some other decaying industrial economies, but it should never happen in an advanced economy such as ours. Yet it has.
> Drug deaths: Last year, for the first time, heroin deaths outnumbered gun deaths. While Americans angrily debate Second Amendment rights and the role of guns in society, they seem oblivious about soaring heroin use. What's behind this troubling trend? Likely the hollowing out of the economy — especially in the Midwest — where once-plentiful, well-paid factory jobs have largely disappeared. What's left are dispirited and depressed people whose standard of living has collapsed below middle class, and who have neither the training nor the education to fit into a postindustrial, high-tech economy. Someone with no job, no family and, most of all, no hope, is a prime candidate to abuse drugs.
Read the rest of this IBD editorial HERE.

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