To The Daily Sun,
I recently submitted a letter to the editor which illustrated the research of Angus Deaton and Anne Case. We now have this article, "When Inequality Kills" published today from Joseph Stiglitz, professor of economics who was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science. Stiglitz tells us the following, "This week Angus Deaton will receive the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics for his analysis of consumption, poverty, and welfare."
Stiglitz goes on to say: ".... Deaton published some 'startling' work with Anne Case in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Analyzing a vast amount of data about health and deaths among Americans, Case and Deaton showed declining life expectancy and health for middle-aged white Americans, especially those with a high school education or less. Among the causes were suicide, drugs, and alcoholism."
"France, for example, spends less than 12 percent of its GDP on medical care, compared to 17 percent in the U.S. Yet Americans can expect to live three full years less than the French." Stiglitz continues, "For many years, Americans explained away this gap. The radical gap in health is, of course, all too real. According to a study published in 2014, life expectancy for African Americans is some four years lower for women and more than five years lower for men, relative to whites. The Case-Deaton results show that such theories will no longer do. And the gap can now be measured not just in wages, but also in early deaths. White Americans, too, are dying earlier as their incomes decline."
"To stay above water, many Americans borrowed from banks at usurious interest rates. In 2005 President George W. Bush's administration made it far more difficult for households to declare bankruptcy and write off debt. Then came the financial crisis, which cost millions of Americans their jobs and incomes. When unemployment insurance, designed for short-term bouts of joblessness in a full-employment world, ran out, they were left to fend for themselves, with no safety net (beyond food stamps), while the government bailed out the banks that had caused the crisis."
The Great Recession, devaluation of stocks and bonds, soaring college tuition with education loans virtually never dischargeable only add more stress and pressure to middle-class Americans and their families.
The international Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress which Stiglitz co-chaired and on which Deaton served, emphasized that GDP is often not a good measure of society's well-being. New data on white Americans' declining health status confirms this conclusion.
Joseph Stiglitz has been a distinguished Professor at Columbia University School of Business since 2001. He received Columbia's highest academic ranking (as professor) in 2003. In addition, he is the recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science and the John Bates Clark medal. He is a member of the Pontifical Academy of Social Science, former Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of the World Bank, former member and Chairman of the (U.S. President's) Council of Economic Advisors. Since 2012 Stiglitz has been the President of the International Economic Association (IEA).
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