By Nancy Spannaus
Nov. 29, 2018—Forget the stock market, inflation, and the jobs figures. According to the most vital measures of the U.S. economy, the fundamentals are very unsound.
U.S. life-expectancy at birth decreased again in 2017, according to statistics released today by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). This makes the third year in a row that, contrary to the rest of the world, U.S. life-expectancy has stagnated or gone down. Such a multi-year reduction—from a peak of 78.9 years in 2014 to 78.6 years in 2017—has not occurred for 100 years, at the time of World War I and the Spanish flu epidemic.
The fact that adults between 25 and 44 years of age were the grouping that showed a statistically significant decrease in life-expectancy bodes poorly for future population growth as well. A society whose young adults of child-bearing age are dying at increasing rates, is a society headed for death.
A complementary report from the CDC also issued today points to one of the causes of the life-expectancy decline: deaths from opioid overdoses increased 9.6% between 2016 and 2017. The absolute number—70,237—is slightly less than had been anticipated in the summer, but should still be cause for alarm. The other cause of deaths that the CDC cites is the increase in suicides.
I’ve written about it before, but I have to say it again: population growth, in quality and quantity, is a hallmark of the American System of economics, and all competent economic science. The human mind is the source of invention and wealth, as human history shows, and as humanity cultivates its power over nature (including itself), it creates new potentials for progress. Through human inventive power, we have been able to advance from a culture where people had to spend all their waking hours simply guaranteeing their survival, to one where people (potentially) can eliminate poverty, harness nature, and have the leisure to develop their minds, create new inventions, and explore new worlds.
Conversely, when the human mind is degraded—as through slavery, narcotic drugs, pornography, and other degeneracy—the economy is eventually doomed. This is the process which we in the United States have been going through for nigh onto 50 years, and it’s killing us.
The last statistic I will mention is suicide. Suicide is now the 10th major cause of death in the United States, and has increased from 10.5 per 100,000 in 1999 to 14 per 100,000 in 2017. It is at the highest rate in 50 years. Here again, the United States is out of sync with the rest of the world, where the suicide rate, on average, is going down.
“Since this (drop in life expectancy) is being driven by increases in deaths due to drug overdoses and suicides and this affects the younger population, you’re talking about a lot of potential life that’s not being lived as a result of those increases,” commented Robert Anderson, chief of the Mortality Statistics Branch at the National Center for Health Statistics.
This situation is not going to be reversed by special programs to stop addiction and suicides. It’s going to take a sweeping change in the approach we citizens take toward our obligation to society and the future. Fortunately, there are models within our own American history for success. When will we start to heed them?