Sunday, February 26, 2017

Analyzing the American economy

Robert Reich
The sobering article below by Nicholas Eberstadt [] is useful for understanding the dimensions of the economic and social crisis that fueled Trump’s rise. Some particulars:
1. Between early 2000 and late 2016, the estimated net worth of American households and nonprofit institutions more than doubled, from $44 trillion to $90 trillion. If averaged out, that would come to over a million dollars for every family of four. This upsurge of wealth took place despite the crash of 2008.
2. But of course, this huge increase in net worth isn't averaged out. It went to a small minority at the top. For most, incomes stagnated.
3. And for many, work disappeared. Between early 2000 and late 2016, America’s overall work rate for Americans age 20 and older plunged by almost 5 percentage points (from 64.6 to 59.7). For every unemployed American man between 25 and 55 years of age right now, there are another three who are neither working nor looking for work.
4. According to research by Anne Case and Angus Deaton, death rates rose somewhat slightly over the 1999–2013 period for all non-Hispanic white men and women 45–54 years of age—but rose sharply for those with high-school degrees or less, and for this less-educated grouping most of the rise in death rates was accounted for by suicides, chronic liver cirrhosis, and poisonings (including drug overdoses).
5. In December 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that for the first time in decades, life expectancy at birth in the United States had dropped very slightly (to 78.8 years in 2015, from 78.9 years in 2014). By 2013, according to a 2015 report by the Drug Enforcement Administration, more Americans died from drug overdoses (largely but not wholly opioid abuse) than from either traffic fatalities or guns.
These are the people and the families who voted overwhelmingly for Trump.

What do you think?

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