Topic

Social Talk

Tags

Sorry there are no tags yet

Author
Cinnamon Carter

Why Our Lives are Shorter Than Those in Other Wealthy Nations

Old-people-South-Africa

Up until 1979, we could expect to live approximately 1.5 years longer than a resident of one of a group of 35 wealthy, predominantly Western nations.  By 2015, that gap reversed.  And in 2016, our life expectancy dropped for a second year in a row, a statistical event that hasn’t happened since the early 1990’s.

  

We remain one of the wealthiest countries in the world.  So what’s going on?

  1. While our healthcare system provides generally good care, access to it is a problem.  We are the only one in that group of 35 that does not have some sort of universal health-care coverage.
  2. Violence is having an impact on our life expectancy.  We are more likely to be murdered than people in nearly any other of the rich nations.  Easy access to guns seems to be the influencing factor here.
  3. We stand out in terms of our stinginess for our social safety net relative to other rich countries.
  4. Individual factors should as tobacco use, violence, and disease shorten our lifespans.

  

However, the biggest differences are found in non-medical determinants resulting from dramatic differences in public policies.

  • We start our children later in school than other rich countries.
  • We spend far less public money on early childhood education and care than almost any other wealthy country.
  • We are the only high income country in the world that does not mandate paid maternity leave, sick leave, and vacation time.
  • Our unemployment benefits are less generous than in most of the other rich countries.
  • Housing assistance is minimal relative to other wealthy nations.
  • We have the highest income inequality among the other rich countries since our tax code is more generous to the wealthy than the other tax systems.

  

If these and other social welfare factors were brought up to the average of the other wealthy countries, it would add almost 4 years to our life expectancy.  We die earlier, due in part, to a welfare state disadvantage.  We have made deliberate policy choices: rejecting single-payer health care, cutting taxes for the rich, shunning universal basic income, and abandoning universal child care.

  

These choices increasingly set us apart and create an ever-widening gap from the rest of the wealthy world. 

What do you think?  

Source: Star-Ledger, 12/2017, Christopher Ingraham, Washington Post
Author
Cinnamon Carter



Similar Stories
Social Talk

Submitting DNA

Just like Cambridge Analytica rocked Facebook, submitting your DNA to one of those genealogy sites is a threat to your privacy.
Forensic...

Social Talk

Recycling: Myth or helping the planet?


Recycling: Myth or helping the planet?  Truth or Dare (not to protect the earth)?
#1: Recycling uses more energy than making something...

Social Talk

5 Habits of the Fountain of Youth

5 Habits to the Fountain of Youth?  Well, not exactly.
The five healthy lifestyle factors identified in a new study published in the...

Social Talk

Why Baby Boomers are hitting the Bottle – and I don’t mean feeding their grandchildren

Those of us at a certain age, traditionally assume that teenagers and college-age people are the demographic groups that drink the...

Social Talk

How New Technology Tricks You into Forgetting Things – Losing my mind or losing my cellphone?

There was a time, long, long ago, in an era that is now far, far away, it was impossible to lose your phone.  Why, you say?  Because the...

Social Talk

Beware: Nothing in life is free

Those of us not born into the age of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – you get the idea, have long known nothing in life is free and if...

Social Talk

The World is Still Populated and Run by Humans

So shouldn’t people in every city considering autonomous cars be asked if they want to allow them and if so, in what function?

Social Talk

Technology: To help and protect us or a brain drain?

We design technology to assist us, provide warnings for us, prevent us from getting hurt, to provide checks and balances, and even take...

Social Talk

Have you developed internet anxiety?

You are probably thinking this is about being anxious about using the internet.  Guess what, it is not (or is it?).  This is about the...

Social Talk

Is constant & continual progress necessary? When is it time to stop?

It seems that there is no final frontier.  Human kind has investigated and continues to investigate the earth, the planets, the oceans,...