AGAIN AND AGAIN, AS I RESEARCH WHAT IS HAPPENING IN THE US, I FIND THAT WHATEVER I THOUGHT—THE REALITY IS WORSE
PAUL KRUGMAN FOUND THE WORDS TO DESCRIBE WHAT I HAVE BEEN FEELING FOR A VERY LONG TIME
“Something terrible is happening in this country.”
HE IS ENTIRELY RIGHT, ‘Terrible’ is the right word to use. The fact that most Americans are largely ignoring the issue is even more terrible.
ALL TOO MANY THINGS ARE DEEPLY WRONG IN THE U.S AT PRESENT, AND THE RISING DEATH RATE OF MIDDLE AGED WHITES IS MERELY A SYMPTOM.
The following is the full text of Krugman’s very brief piece in the NYT.The data makes the point with brutal bluntness.
It confirms, yet again, that the American Business Model is failing most Americans.
This new paper by Angus Deaton and Anne Case on mortality among middle-aged whites has been getting a lot of attention, and rightly so. As a number of people have pointed out, the closest parallel to America’s rising death rates — driven by poisonings, suicide, and chronic liver diseases — is the collapse in Russian life expectancy after the fall of Communism. (No, we’re not doing as badly as that, but still.) What the data look like is a society gripped by despair, with a surge of unhealthy behaviors and an epidemic of drugs, very much including alcohol.
This picture goes along with declining labor force participation and other indicators of social unraveling. Something terrible is happening to white American society. And it’s a uniquely American phenomenon; you don’t see anything like it in Europe, which means that it’s not about a demoralizing welfare state or any of the other myths so popular in our political discourse.
There’s a lot to be said, or at any rate suggested, about the politics of this disaster. But I’ll come back to that some other time. For now, the thing to understand, to say it again, is that something terrible is happening to our country — and it’s not about Those People, it’s about the white majority.