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US Economy: The Crisis Of The American Working Class

The disturbing evidence about the health of white middle-aged American working class, discovered and publicized this week by Nobel prize winner Angus Deaton and his wife Anne Case, is not tied to just one trend in the culture, policies, or economic factors at work within the United States.

It is not the fault of one party or movement, but has multiple root causes. But it is something we all ought to be concerned about, both for the future fiscal and policy burden it represents, and for the broader lesson it tells us about how America is changing.

The numbers clearly indicate that these Americans are increasingly likely to kill themselves
– whether on purpose or through the slow gradual death of addiction to alcohol and prescription drugs.

The rate of mortality increased most dramatically for white Americans lacking any more than a high school education.

There have been a host of reports about the rise in the number of Americans receiving disability payments over the past three decades – this one, from This American Life, is still fairly definitive. It is impossible to understand the current Labor Force Participation situation without acknowledging this dramatic growth.

Read more: The Crisis Of The American Working Class

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