Bona Fide Good News

|

The AP reports some genuinely happy news—though like all good things, from young love to high culture, it'll probably turn out to be a statistical error:

The U.S. population may be aging, but the number of Americans who died in 2004 represents the biggest one-year decline since World War II, according to preliminary government data released Wednesday.

Nearly 50,000 fewer Americans died in 2004 than in 2003, according to data based on about 90% of U.S. death certificates….The age-adjusted death rate declined greatly for 10 of the 15 leading causes of deaths, according to the preliminary data. One of the biggest drops, 6.4%, was in the death rate for heart disease, the No. 1 killer.

NEXT: "Today we don't just have Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse but an entire cavalry regiment of doom-mongers"

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. US lifespans should be catching up to those of socialized med nations b4 you know it then!

  2. Great, lets top load the population with non productive, resource squandering technophobes!

  3. How many adult diapers were sold in 2004 compared with 2003? Living longer doesn’t necessarily living well longer.

  4. Does this mean the social security trust fund, lock box, or whatever it is, or isn’t, will go bankrupt sooner?

    One of the most honest things a politician ever said was Dick Lamms, “Old people have a duty to die.”

  5. Looks like both the Americans who fund medical R&D with “high” priced medicines, and the citizens of socialized med nations who get a free ride on the resulting new drugs licenced into their countries, are getting their money’s worth.

  6. Mr. Obvious:

    Yeah. The Boomer-bomb is going to blow up in our faces in the next decade. The costs of retiree entitlements are going to make the Iraq war look like a bargain.

  7. Great. More people on the freeway. More people in the checkout line at the store. More people who really, really care about American Idol. More…people.

  8. Well, with this sudden increase in population, the Malthusians can get back in business about how the food supply will run out and all that…

    They can just take the global warming hysteria tactics and mold them to the cause.

    The business of scaring people is booming, people.

  9. Fewer people are dying becuase there is less second-hand smoke around.

    At least 60.000 people die each year directly from exposure to second-hand smoke.

    *ducks*

  10. Dang it, mk, I’m four minutes late with that comment.

  11. Does anyone still think that Malthus may have been right? The whole overpopulation hysteria thing does seem to have legs. I agree he started a discussion that led to some profound truths but he couldn’t have been more off in his predictions.

    Off the top of my head, the only thinker who is still considered substantially influential while being obviously wrong about many of his foundational assumptions that I can think of is Freud. If I try, I’m sure I can think of a few more.

  12. MK- A lot of people think Malthus is right. Bad ideas are like bad pennies-they never really go away. That said, no one seems willing to acknowlege that an increased population has at least one downside- more people=more irritation.

  13. Obviously this means that America is in the throws of a LONGEVITY EPIDEMIC!

  14. mk:

    That is an incredibly stupid assertion about longevity tied to reduction of second-hand smoke.

    Obviously, this is all due to mandatory seat belt and helmet laws.

  15. That said, no one seems willing to acknowlege that an increased population has at least one downside- more people=more irritation.

    In a couple of years they’ll be on to everyone to start having more children. I think they’re doing this in Italy at present because youngsters are worrying more about clothes, jobs and websites than popping out sprogs ao the population is starting to decline or level out.

    If there are going to be more old people now is DEFINITELY the time to start investing in nasal/ear-hair clipper companies.

    Anyway, doesn’t more old people simply mean more wisdom.

  16. And let me digress in saying that I love seeing Gen X parents put helmets on their toddlers on tricycles.

    When I was very small I was involved in a massive trike pileup. We didn’t wear armor in those days. It gives me a seizure just thinking about it.

  17. With Malthus, I was specifically thinking of his notion that, due to the industrial revolution, as people became more wealthy they would have more and more children thereby filling the planet with too many people.
    There are lots of people around, but it is demonstratively false that they all came from those who have the largest amount of resources to provide for them. Largely agricultural countries still provide the lion’s share of excess population and wealthy technically proficient countries barely replace their populations.
    BOCTAOE
    With Freud I was thinking about that whole “vaginal orgasm” thing.

  18. MNG,
    I’m personally against the use of seat belts and helmets as I think that the human race will never evolve to the point where we have bubble-wrap skin until we eschew such things.

  19. Paging Dr. Kevorkian, paging Dr. Kevorkian. . .

  20. This is how Carousel begins. In about 15 years.

  21. You need to visit more nursing homes. It’s a great antidote to excessive optimism about increasing lifespans. One can only hope that medical science will let the sense of smell decline naturally. Blind, paralyzed and incontinent amount to an existence, not a life.

  22. lots of thinkers were wrong, but are still quite influential

    Aristotle
    Newton
    Marx
    Bill Phillips – (The Phillips Curve (relationship between unemployment and inflation))

    As for the profound truths Malthus proposed, what were they?

    Malthus said that since population growth is geometric, but our ability to increase food population grows at a slower rate.

    This was incorrect, there is no other way to say it. There is no profound truth; he made a statement, it was wrong.

    Due to our technological achievments our ability to grow food has vastly outstripped population growth. This has led to substantial increase in calorie consumption per person as well as a reduction in land used for farming.

  23. lots of thinkers were wrong, but are still quite influential

    Not necessarily a thinker but someone who I have neber been able to get to grips with: Ernest Hemingway.

    God he was a miserable bugger.

  24. remember-

    “There’s nothing wrong with you that an expensive operation can’t prolong.”

  25. In a couple of years they’ll be on to everyone to start having more children. I think they’re doing this in Italy at present because youngsters are worrying more about clothes, jobs and websites than popping out sprogs ao the population is starting to decline or level out.

    Oy, well, if more kids means more dipshits like the guy who wanted to fight me because I told his obnoxious rugrat to “shut the hell up” in a restaurant will be around, maybe the voluntary extinctionists have something going.

    Sad thing is the guy was, like 26. I’d expect that from some uptight middle-ager who’d had kids late in life, but this guy was wearing a polo shirt with the collar turned up.

  26. This story seems like good news as well. The total number of yearly cancer deaths fell for the first time in over 70 years. While the rate of cancer deaths has been falling for years, for the total number to decline is really quite surprising when you consider the increasing population and specifically the increasing population of senior citizens.

  27. See the next thread to hear about how this is really bad news. All of those people living longer are just going to drive and pollute more and create more global warming. The sollution to global warming seems to be global death.

  28. Paging Dr. Kevorkian, paging Dr. Kevorkian. . .

    Comment by: tbone at April 20, 2006 10:59 AM

    I always thought that it was convenient for a guy with such a creepy name to be known as the Suicide Doctor. It’s never a Dr. Springwell or a Dr. Goodwin.

  29. Brian,

    I really think that we are only ten years or so from curing cancer. It still kills too many people but cancers which were untreatable just a few years ago are now still fatal but treatable giving people years of live where in the past they had months and cancers that were treatable a few years ago are now cureable. We are really getting close.

  30. And let me digress in saying that I love seeing Gen X parents put helmets on their toddlers on tricycles.

    How embarrassing, as we were pretty much the last generation to grow up without all that coddling. Where did they get these parenting ideas from??

    I really think that we are only ten years or so from curing cancer.

    I truly hope so.

  31. rhywun:

    I blame Spock. Not the pediatrician, but the vulcan. Damn green-blooded freak.

  32. I’d just like to take this moment to wish Mr. Nice Guy a happy 4/20.

    Please take a hit from the bong for me, if you are still capable of reading at this point.

  33. US lifespans should be catching up to those of socialized med nations b4 you know it then!

    Yeah, like North Korea…

  34. One of the biggest drops, 6.4%, was in the death rate for heart disease, the No. 1 killer.

    w00t! How say you to smoking bans now?!! Oh wait, we have an obesity epidemic… I’m so confrused.

  35. Mr. Nice Guy:
    And let me digress in saying that I love seeing Gen X parents put helmets on their toddlers on tricycles.

    I take exception to this remark. I never…*never* put a helmet on my four year old when she rides her big wheel. And… AND I got yelled at by a an ex-hippie yuppie boomer in a Volvo– she was leaning out her window as she drove by: “Helllmeeettt!”

    I don’t hate the hippes for what they were, I hate them for what they became: The Man.

  36. Oh wait, we have an obesity epidemic… I’m so confrused.

    I was on webmd.com last night, clicked a random link to “obesity” out of curiosity, and discovered that it’s a “complex disease”. At that point I stopped trusting anything that I might read on webmd.com.

    AND I got yelled at by a an ex-hippie yuppie boomer in a Volvo– she was leaning out her window as she drove by: “Helllmeeettt!”

    How do you know she was an ex-hippie? Or was the transformation to yuppie only partial? And did you point out to her the hypocrisy of lecturing you on safety while paying no attention to the road?

  37. “if you are still capable of reading at this point”

    Actually, my sight is great because of the refreshing lack of glacoma. It works so well that I never got glacoma to begin with.

  38. Paul:

    Wearing a helmet on a bigwheel.. it should be a nerf-helmet. That would be cool.

  39. How embarrassing, as we were pretty much the last generation to grow up without all that coddling. Where did they get these parenting ideas from??

    I don’t have kids, but from what I’ve seen, it’s a sad blend of the risk-averse “all accidents are preventable” mentality caused by our parents’ generation turning normal childhood mishaps into lawsuits, boomers as grandparents legislating safety for their grandkids, and our generation growing into douchebags who’ve forgotten what their own childhoods were like.

    Although I have a feeling that most of the parental safety obsession is conformism to the wills of those who believe that there are no accidents. Nobody want to be the “bad parent” who neglects her kids by letting them play outdoors in less than full Hockey Equipment or, gasp, unsupervised for a few minutes.

  40. “if you are still capable of reading at this point”

    Actually, my sight is great because of the refreshing lack of glacoma. It works so well that I never got glacoma to begin with.

    Meh. It was a poorly-written joke. That isn’t exactly what I meant, but…

    *yawn* maybe it’s naptime for smacky.

  41. DAvid,

    They have pretty much killed youth sports. I can remember as a kid playing tackle football in a vacant lot. Once in a while you would get a kid with a broken arm or collarbone, but it mostly just rough fun. I don’t remember the parents of the injured kids ever being too upset beyond the normal “that is just boys” and “be more careful next time.” What do you think the chances are that would happen today? I am sure the owner of the vacent lot would be sued and the kid who tackled the injured kid would probably end up in juvinille hall for assault and there would be a newsweek cover on the dangers of “unsafe backyard sports.” It is just sad. I am so glad I am not a kid today.

  42. I give credit to the smoking ban in Helena, Montana.

  43. John: Totally, I’m 24, when I was a kid we used to have “neighborhood wars” that mostly involved throwing clods of dirt and hitting each other with sticks. We did a lot of playing on construction sites as well.

    Now some other idiot who’s my age has a kid, refuses to control him in a restaurant, and jumps down my neck because I had the audacity to tell his pwecious wittle dawling to shut the hell up. I’d have gotten slapped into next Tuesday for causing a disturbance in public like that, and my folks would’ve apologized to the stranger I’d annoyed before taking me home.

    Oy and vey.

  44. Nearly 50,000 fewer Americans died in 2004 than in 2003, according to data based on about 90% of U.S. death certificates….

    The population of Americans is increasing, but fewer are dying each year … hmm … Can one of your math-whiz types extrapolate this trend on a graph, and let me know when Americans will stop dying altogether?

  45. I am so glad I am not a kid today.

    Me too! My niece and nephew are being subjected to the modern, totally-supervised and programmed upbringing. And it doesn’t help that they live in modern exurbia at its finest — on a dead-end, er, cul-de-sac, that empties out into a four-lane highway with nary a traffic light for miles. I honestly don’t know what they’re going to do when they reach an age where they want to start doing stuff on their own & they’ve gotten tired of exploring their tiny neighborhood. Maybe my brother will drive them to a real neighborhood with space to ride your bike around.

  46. How do you know she was an ex-hippie?

    Welcome to the city of Seattle, where every block has 40 volvos with [fading] Ralph Nader stickers on it. You just ‘know’.

    I used to live on Capitol Hill (Seattle- not D.C.) and we used to have a running game where we’d try to find a block with only 1 volvo parked on it. Let me tell you, not an easy task. Kind of like that Google game where you put in 3 keywords and try to only come back with one hit.

  47. A buddy of mine would like to let his kids roll sans helmet, but the burb he lives in fines parents for such irresponsible behavior.

    John,

    My parents didn’t like me playing sandlot football. It wasn’t because they were over protective. They were just sick of paying my emergency room bills.

    The whole hydrate or die insanity afflicting youth sports drives me nuts. I went a nephew’s youth baseball game and they made those kids suck down water every time they came of the field whether they needed it or not. The poor bastards were sloshing around the bases by the 5th. All because the thermometer hit – gasp – 95.

  48. AND I got yelled at by a an ex-hippie yuppie boomer in a Volvo– she was leaning out her window as she drove by: “Helllmeeettt!”

    We know what to do with old hippies.

  49. American International Pictures originally offered the role of Max Frost to noted folk singer-songwriter Phil Ochs, who was known at the time to want to branch out into film work. However, after reading the screenplay, Ochs rejected it, stating the story presented the youth counterculture of the 1960s in a badly distorted light.

    Mr. Ochs, thy name is irony.

  50. Or wait, that should have been “Irony, thy name is Phil Ochs”.

    Damn… it’s all that second hand thc.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.