Over the years, Paul Krugman has come across his share of Republicans who claim that thanks to right-wing economic policies, the United States is #1 in life expectancy — and the liberal economist and New York Times columnist typically responds that in fact, the U.S. lags behind a long list of developed countries where life expectancy is concerned. Krugman, in his December 2 column for the Times, compares life expectancy rates within the U.S. — demonstrating that the redder the state, the more likely one is to die young.
“Back in the Bush years,” Krugman explains, “I used to encounter people who insisted that the United States had the world’s longest life expectancy. They hadn’t looked at the data, they just assumed that America was No. 1 on everything. Even then, it wasn’t true: U.S. life expectancy has been below that of other advanced countries for a long time.”
Krugman goes on to say, “What I haven’t seen emphasized is the divergence in life expectancy within the United States and its close correlation with political orientation.” And Krugman, drawing on data presented in a 2018 article for the Journal for the American Medical Association, notes that residents of GOP-controlled states are more likely to die younger.
“I looked at states that voted for Donald Trump versus states that voted for Clinton in 2016, and calculated average life expectancy weighted by their 2016 population,” Krugman notes. “In 1990, today’s red and blue states had almost the same life expectancy. Since then, however, life expectancy in Clinton states has risen more or less in line with other advanced countries, compared with almost no gain in Trump country. At this point, blue-state residents can expect to live more than four years longer than their red-state counterparts.”
Krugman attributes this red state/blue state disparity on life expectancy to a variety of factors, including access to health care, obesity rates and education.
“Public policy certainly plays some role, especially in recent years, as blue states expanded Medicaid and drastically reduced the number of uninsured, while most red states didn’t,” Krugman observes. “The growing gap in educational levels has also surely played a role: better-educated people tend to be healthier than the less educated.”
Krugman also notes, “The prevalence of obesity has soared all across America since 1990, but obesity rates are significantly higher in red states.”
Krugman ends his column by noting that Attorney General William Barr has blamed “militant secularists” for suicide rates and substance abuse problems in the U.S., explaining why Barr’s claim is misleading.
“European nations, which are far more secularist than we are, haven’t seen a comparable rise in deaths of despair and an American-style decline in life expectancy,” Krugman stresses. “And even within America, these evils are concentrated in states that voted for Trump and have largely bypassed the more secular blue states. So, something bad is definitely happening to American society. But the conservative diagnosis of that problem is wrong — dead wrong.”
MLK was ‘gravely disappointed’ with white moderates — whom he believed were responsible for impeding civil rights
"We also realize that the problems of racial injustice and economic injustice cannot be solved without a radical redistribution of political and economic power."
—Martin Luther King Jr., 1967
This Martin Luther King Jr. Day comes as moderate Democrats, falling in line behind former vice president Joe Biden, are warning that the party risks re-electing Donald Trump if it nominates too radical a candidate for president — by which they mean someone like Senators Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren.
‘Naked, unapologetic and insidious’ corruption: Dems respond to Trump’s official statement on impeachment trial
Impeachment managers House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., left, Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and other mangers are seen arriving to the Senate before Schiff read the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on the Senate floor on Thursday, January 16, 2020. (Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
Responding to President Donald Trump's official answer to the impeachment charges against him now facing trial in the U.S. Senate, the Democratic House Managers assigned to prosecute the case rejected Sunday morning the president's claim his conduct was "perfect" by saying there is "a different word for it: impeachable."
One-term presidents: Will Donald Trump end up on this ignominious list?
Donald Trump has many hardcore fans and many, many detractors. It's certainly possible he will be re-elected, but also clearly plausible that he will be a one-term president. General election polls have generally found him trailing in a head-to-heat matchup with either former Vice President Joe Biden or Sen. Bernie Sanders, and roughly even with Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Sen. Elizabeth Warren. It would be folly to say that he is definitely going to lose, to be sure, but it is equally foolish to act as if he has victory in the bag.