Poverty

Poor White Americans Are Dying of Despair

In contrast, the mortality rate for college-educated whites continues to fall.

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BaileyWelch
Ronald Bailey

As perfect storm of woes have hit poor American whites with high school or less educations and they are dying as a result. This is the sobering conclusion of new analysis by Princeton economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton. The new Brookings Institution paper extends their 2015 findings that mortality rates for mid-life Americans have been increasing since the turn of the millennium. In their earlier work, they refused to speculate about why the death rate among poor middle-aged whites was rising. In their new work, they are no longer reticent: Many poor white Americans are dying of despair.

How bad is it? Consider that in 1999, the mortality rate for whites age 25-29 with a high school education or less (LEHS) was 146 per 100,000. By 2015 that had increased to 266 per 100,000. For those age 45-49, the rate had increased from 491 in 1999 to 620 per 100,000 in 2015. Meanwhile mortality rates for all age groups of blacks and hispanics continued to fall during that period. Among whites, the mortality gap between those with a college degree and those without widened. For example, Case and Deaton report: "The mortality rate for men with less than a BA aged 50-54, for example, increased from 762 per 100,000 to 867 between 1998 and 2015, while for men with a BA or more education, mortality fell from 349 to 243."

CaseDeatonMoratalityBrookings
Case/Deaton

What is killing poor less educated whites? Deaths from despair are largely increasing due drug overdoses, suicides, and alcoholic-related liver mortality. In addition, Case and Deaton note that declines in heart disease and cancer have also slowed considerably. They suggest that increases in obesity and diabetes can also account for some the increase in mortality among whites. Although Case and Deaton don't mention it, the incidence of cancer is associated with obesity.

They report that this increase in mortality among less educated American whites began in the southwest, where it was centered in 2000, and then spread first to Appalachia, Florida and the west coast by the mid-2000s, and is now country-wide. It is now both an urban and a rural epidemic.

So why are less educated whites poisoning themselves to death with drugs, alcohol and sugar? They outline a process of cumulative deprivation beginning after the 1970s that is rooted in the steady deterioration in job opportunities for people with low education. Men with less economic prospects became less marriageable resulting in single-motherhood becomingthe norm. Declining economic opportunities also coincided with the erosion of traditional community structures that provided meaning and stabilty for many poor folks. Case and Deaton cite data suggesting that "half of the men who are out of the labor force are taking pain medication, and two thirds of those take prescription painkiller, such as opioids."

Case and Deaton assert that reversing this increase in white working class mortality will not be easy, but suggest that one first step toward ameliorating this sad situation would be to rein in the proliferation of opioid prescriptions.

For more background on these trends see my article "Stuck" in which I visit McDowell County, WV from which my father's family hails.

NEXT: Will the Prospect of Taking Trump Down Ruin Chances for Surveillance Reform?

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  1. poor American whites with high school or less educations

    Good, those idiots are stupidifying the country and it’s better for everyone if they’re dead. They’re the Reason we have Trump instead of an enlightened thinker.

      1. You need a new sarcasm detector.

        1. Not coming from Sparky. If he’s joking, it’s at best something even smaller than a half joke.

          1. LOOK! I HAVE FANS! YAAAAAAAY!

            1. Back to the topic that you brought up with your initial post. The world would be better of without you and I feel a sense of loss that when you actually die, I probably won’t catch word of your death. I’ll just have to hope for the best.

              1. Awwww, that’s so sweet.

    1. Those poor blacks and Hispanics without an education are completely blameless and contribute tremendously to this country simply with their wokeness.

      1. Won’t be long before they’re replaced by wokebots. Then what are they gonna do? I suggest getting hooked on meth and pain killers.

    2. Good, those idiots are stupidifying the country and it’s better for everyone if they’re dead. They’re the Reason we have Trump instead of an enlightened thinker.

      You and deranged leftist scum like you are the reason anyone knows Richard Spencer’s name. You’re the reason that nativist populism is on the rise. You’re a living talking example of the genocidal antipathy that these people already suspected was being clandestinely directed against them. You tell people who oppose unrestricted mass migration that they’re racists, you scoff at the notion any populations are being deliberately replaced or harmed in the process, then when data surfaces showing that “Poor White Americans Are Dying of Despair” you say how great that is and that “everyone” is better off without them. You might take pause to consider how someone might doubt your intentions and credibility while you blather on about how everyone but your shit eating ilk are racists who are incapable of seeing the holy righteousness of your open borders and cultural leftism.

      1. You and deranged leftist scum like you are the reason anyone knows Richard Spencer’s name

        Stop, I’m blushing…

        1. You are not a leftist Sparty. You are an idiot who wants to pretend you are an elitist. I would never call you a leftist. You are too much of a poser for that.

          1. Now I’m getting double-teamed! If one more person jumps in this may become the greatest day of my life!

          2. Now I’m getting double-teamed! If one more person jumps in this may become the greatest day of my life!

          3. Now I’m getting double-teamed! If one more person jumps in this may become the greatest day of my life!

            1. Looks like the squirrels want a piece of the action too.

            2. Triple teamed, apparently.

        2. The holocaust was committed because of people like you, Sparky. If elitists had just treated German yokels more respectfully, they wouldn’t have done it. If Nazis just got hugged and validated more often and occasionally complimented for their taste in chewing tobacco they wouldn’t be Nazis.

      2. You and deranged leftist scum like you are the reason anyone knows Richard Spencer’s name.

        The leftists MADE ME read white nationalist propaganda!!!! It’s THEIR FAULT!

  2. It’s historical comeuppance. They’re probably all racists anyway. White people had their time and they ruined the world; it’s time for them to die off and brown people to rule. -Progressives

    1. – “White” Progressives

  3. But, I’ve been assured that they are all racist and this is good.

  4. So your saying that bunch of people that were given a government education in Marxism couldn’t make it in the real world so they just became meth heads?

    I can see that. Good thing we gave them welfare to pay for the meth.

  5. Hey, they have free porn and access to cheap consumer goods. The argument for globalized trade was that by taking advantage of the comparative advantage of low-wage countries in manufacturing, the US could shift its economy to a service based economy. This would make the country richer because manufactured goods would be cheaper for consumers and as labor switched to the service sector it would become more productive and profit margins would be higher.

    All of this is more or less true and has worked out the way the economists predicted. The problem is that it assumes all people are interchangeable. That everyone is a fungible unit of labor that can be retrained or switched to whatever line of work is deemed to be most advantageous. This is, of course, insane. And it only made sense to the people who believed it because the people who believed it all worked in the service sector and were asserting that everyone else was fungible.

    1. Would you want a meth-head repairing your robot? I didn’t think so.

    2. Hey, they have free porn and access to cheap consumer goods.

      Much more preferable if they die young but virtuous in the eyes of the Lord!

      The argument for globalized trade was that by taking advantage of the comparative advantage of low-wage countries in manufacturing, the US could shift its economy to a service based economy.

      That’s not a notion or an idea. It’s an ECONOMIC LAW, as unbreakable as the law of gravity. Keep pushing your head into the sand; maybe you’ll visit China.

      Protectionism does not protect anybody. It’s just another waste of time and resources.

      That everyone is a fungible unit of labor that can be retrained or switched to whatever line of work is deemed to be most advantageous.

      That’s an interesting notion. So we should blame the Free Market like Mike Pence did, right?

      Let me let you on a little secret: I’m not an ant. I don’t think you’re one, either. What I do is not predetermined by genes or billions of years of evolution. If some knuckle-dragging bucktoothed reject of humanity cannot find the same job his pappy used to have, that’s HIS FUCKING PROBLEM. Not mine. Not yours, either. HIS.

      1. That’s not a notion or an idea. It’s an ECONOMIC LAW, as unbreakable as the law of gravity. Keep pushing your head into the sand; maybe you’ll visit China.

        It is not an economic law. It is a description of how an economy will behave given a set of policies. Beyond that, there is really nothing to say. You don’t know what you are talking about. You are an idiot old Mexican. You don’t understand my point, you don’t understand economics and you are not brighter than a Marxists. You just happen to by dumb luck and magical thinking to have not blundered on completely loathsome views the way Marxists have.

        I am going, to be honest with you. You don’t know anything about what you are talking about, nothing. Just go away. Stop responding to my posts regarding economics. You are too stupid to discuss these issues with. You are unworthy of even trying to educate. You really are. You are a toothless dumb fuck who isn’t worth the time to read much less respond. You do nothing but shit on threads with your ignorance.

        1. Re: John,

          It is not an economic law.

          Of course it is an economic LAW. Just because you don’t like it when people CHOOSE, does not mean the law is imaginary.

          You don’t know what you are talking about.

          I know perfectly what I am talking about, John.

          “Insult is the last refuge of the ignorant, the deceitful and the knave”. Your many insults are not arguments, John.

          1. You don’t even know what the word LAW means. You don’t know anything. And you won’t listen. You are completely ignorant on this subject. I have a BS in economics. And I fully understand comparative advantage and how markets work and the advantages and disadvantages of international trade.

            It is not so much that you are necessarily wrong to support international trade. I have supported it for most of my life and still do, though I have a more tempered view of it than I once did. It is that you have no understanding of trade or markets or how they work. Your reasoning is idiotic and ignorant. And thus, even to the extent, I agree with your conclusions, your ignorance still disgusts and sickens me. Again, you are just unworthy of speaking to about this topic. And further shitting on this thread with your ignorance and mischaracterization of these issues is not productive. And you are so emotional about these issues and your ignorance such an integral part of you, that I can’t see you ever gettign any better or understanding what I am talking about.

        2. John — Now more of a dick!?

      2. If some knuckle-dragging bucktoothed reject of humanity cannot find the same job his pappy used to have, that’s HIS FUCKING PROBLEM.

        Nailed it. Them retards got no place in this world anymore. An early death is best for everyone.

      3. You are quite simply, the most hateful, ignorant person who has ever posted on here. Joe from Lowell is a knowledgeable thoughtful person compared to you. Shreek is at least an honest troll and knows he is trolling. You are just unbelievable.

        1. Re: John,

          Hateful?

          Yeah, right. I’m not the one arguing against “them immigruntz who takum er jebz!” or “them Chineses with their cheap stuffs!”

          Why not simply concede that El Se?or Presidente Bananero Trumpo is as clueless about the economics of trade and immigration as El Se?or Presidente Barry was about the economics of entrepreneurship and public policy? Why are you so keen on dying on that hill, I ask?

          1. Yes Mexican, you are a raving, ignorant lunatic. I put up a long thoughtful post about the social problems created by international trade and comparative advantage. And your response is to start raving about El Trumpo, whoever that is. This is why you are a hateful idiot and why your posts are unworthy of substantive response.

            1. He’s not a useful idiot. He knows exactly who his team is, he just doesn’t come out and say it. A disingenuous person, but not a useful idiot, that would assume an modicum of honesty about intentions.

              1. Re: Free Society,

                He’s not a useful idiot. He knows exactly who his team is, he just doesn’t come out and say it.

                I dare you say what’s my team, according to you.

                Come on. I dare you. Hopefully, you will be smart enough not to say it because it will be clear to everyone else here, who has read my commentary for the last 10 years, debating Joe, MNG, Tony, the rest of ’em, that you are merely trying to smear my character. But go on, say it: What’s my team, FS?

                1. But go on, say it: What’s my team, FS?

                  You’re on Team Conquistador. You’re a nationalist, like that which you lash out against at every opportunity. Every disparate outcome between cultural and ethnic groups is a result of white racism. Black and Hispanics over represented in crime stats, incarceration rates and victim surveys, yeah that’s totally because of white people.

                  Yet when whites show up on some negative metric your attitude shifts to calling those people knuckle-dragging rejects that deserve anything bad that happens to them. You relish that suffering and no matter how well you lie about your kinship to some abstract principles, you’re never quite able to mask your schadenfreude for that group which you would like to see brought low.

                  1. Jesus Christ, the comments on this site now are what happens when cancer gets AIDS.

              2. Hey everyone look at the white knight. Hi white knight! Say, what’s with the pointy hood?

                1. (“Free” Society, not Se?or Mex.)

              3. Supporting freedom of trade gets one accused of being a useful idiot on a ‘libertarian’ site.

                Well this place has officially gone to shit. “Libertarians for Autarky!”

                1. Some people are libertarians, right up until the point that somebody else’s right inconvenience a straight white male. And then a thousand reasons are found why those other people’s rights must be sacrificed, for the common good.

                  It’s things like this that allow Progressives to argue that libertarianism is just a smokescreen for protecting the privileges of straight white men.

                  1. It’s things like this that allow Progressives to argue that libertarianism is just a smokescreen for protecting the privileges of straight white men.

                    ^^^THIS. I’ve spent a lot of time on a prog board the last few years trying to defend libertarians; yet I come back here and see basically a prog fever dream all over the comments and realize maybe they weren’t wrong.

                  2. Some people are libertarians, right up until the point that somebody else’s right inconvenience a straight white male.

                    This is exactly what I’m talking about. For someone who claims to care nothing for race, all you ever manage to stammer about is the centrality of race in all things. It’s maddening. You are a social justice warrior, you can’t even express a thought without using their bullshit language.

                    1. sorry, But I apparently don’t agree with your statement.
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    3. To understand how crazy this idea is, turn it around. Imagine some made dictator took over the country and its economy and decided that the service sector was no longer the way to prosperity. Instead, America was going to become a manufacturing based economy to the greatest extent possible. As a result, all of the people working on Wall Street, in universities and especially in journalism and for Washington think tanks, would be expected to retrain and become welders, pipe fitters and steal workers. Civil liberties issues aside, the idea that you could take the various eggheads of our society and turn them into steel workers and roughnecks is comically stupid. And anyone who came up with such a plan would be considered a lunatic. Yet, our policy makers concocted a set of economic policies that operated on the assumption that you could take people working in manufacturing and just transition them into working in the services.

      1. Re: John,

        our policy makers concocted a set of economic policies that operated on the assumption that you could take people working in manufacturing and just transition them into working in the services.

        That’s tinfoil hat stuff, John. Sorry to tell you, but you’re on your way to fucking Pluto.

        First, because policy makers are not that clever. No one is. Second, the transition from a manufacturing economy to a service-based economy is a trend explained by people’s CHOICES, which you seem so suspicious about. You know, like a socialist.

        Manufacturing output has been increasing in this country since the 70’s and at a quick pace. The ONLY difference is that manufacturer’s require LESS PEOPLE to operate the lines than before. That’s an increase in productivity which ipso facto has an effect on employment, whether you (and these putative policy makers) like it or not.

        1. There is a long history and debate about the nature of trade and the desire and need to transform the economy into a service sector one. I have been reading and thinking about these issues for 30 years.

          You don’t know enough about this subject to comment. You don’t know anything. And you like it that way. Being stupid suits you really well. So continue to be stupid and go away. I am sorry Mexican, but I have wasted too much of my time talking to stupid people. You are just not worthy of discussing these issues with. I might as well go home and explain international trade to my dog. She would have a better chance of understanding what I am talking about. She might try to learn which is more than I can say for you.

          1. Re: John,

            There is a long history and debate about the nature of trade and the desire and need to transform the economy into a service sector one. I have been reading and thinking about these issues for 30 years.

            Yeah, so? People have been debating the viability of socialism for far longer, with the same result. I’ve been reading about these same things for 16 years, John, except with more skepticism than what you seem to show today.

            The fact is that you cannot plan an economy. You can’t. It’s impossible. So saying that “planners have been talking about this” is meaningless. If you believe them, you’re being a fool. If they take credit for today’s economy, they’re doing nothing more than putting themselves in front of the parade and pretending to lead it.

            If today’s economy is moving towards services, the reason has NOTHING to do with policy. It has to do with people’s choices. Whether you like it or not, people are choosing to move this economy towards a service economy, because there IS such a thing as the disutility of labor and because people want to do more with less. Or make more money with less effort. That has nothing to do with policy.

            1. You are a fucking moron who thinks that economic policy is the same thing as central planning. For the 4th time, you are too fucking stupid to have this conversation with. You can only discuss something with someone if they speak the same language. And you can’t speak this language. You don’t understand the concepts or enough to speak intelligently about it. You just don’t.

              1. Re: John,

                You are a fucking moron who thinks that economic policy is the same thing as central planning.

                It IS the same thing. What is the purpose of economic policy if not to achieve a certain outcome? Who imposes the policy, if not a central authority?

                What makes YOU think you’re debating with a beginner, John?

        2. Second, the transition from a manufacturing economy to a service-based economy is a trend explained by people’s CHOICES

          And one of the CHOICES they made was to move their manufacturing to a place where labor laws didn’t make manufacturing employment so expensive.

          Laws. Government edicts. Rules we must follow. Not a whole lot of choice there.

      2. Maybe we should just let people make their own choices and the chips fall where they may. I don’t want TOP MEN setting a policy one way or another.

        1. Except that we are always making a choice. The market is not some kind of machine that produces ideal results. It is nothing but a way of describing the results of various circumstances. So, if you want to have full on free trade, the result is going to be one thing. If you want to intervene and have less than free trade, the result is going to be something else depending on where and how you intervene.

          Which choice you should make is the debate. The mistake that many on the right make is that they don’t understand that and think that the free market is some kind of moral imperative. It’s not. It is one of a variety of options. People pretend it is more than that as a way of delegitimizing their opponents and avoiding the hard task of making an argument.

          1. Except that we are always making a choice.

            Strictly speaking, “we” are not. Collective decision making isn’t a real thing. A group of elites is making the choices for everyone.

            The mistake that many on the right make is that they don’t understand that and think that the free market is some kind of moral imperative. It’s not. It is one of a variety of options.

            That’s where I think you are wrong. The free market isn’t just another choice on equal footing with all the others. It’s reality and it’s what exists when you take away all of the systems of control and coercion. It’s not a system, it’s just whatever people choose to do when left alone. No, it doesn’t produce ideal results. And few people will claim it does. But from an individualist, libertarian or voluntaryist perspective it is clearly morally superior.

            1. John is basically a Marxian fascist now. If I thought he could read I’d speculate he were into Rodbertus and Carl Schmitt.

              He’s no every bit as much a collectivist as Tony.

              It is, admittedly, fascinating to see how fast weak-minded people change their principles with the political winds.

              1. You don’t know the meaning of a single word you used in that post. Not a single word. I am basically the same capitalist I have always been. I just happen to believe that the US has sovereignty.

                You are another example of someone too stupid to have an intelligent conversation about these things. The smart people have all left this board. And we are left with the dregs like you and Mexican. People who just speak in buzz words and don’t even understand their own views.

              2. I argue with John because I think he is interesting and intelligent enough to be worth arguing with.

                And I try not to imagine that I really understand anyone based on the dumb arguments they get into on the internet.

          2. Re: John,

            The market is not some kind of machine that produces ideal results.

            What would be an “ideal result”, to begin with? You’re making the EXACT SAME ARGUMENTS that Tony has made for years.

            if you want to have full on free trade, the result is going to be one thing. If you want to intervene and have less than free trade, the result is going to be something else depending on where and how you intervene.

            Don’t make it sound like choosing intervention over non-intervention is like choosing from two brands of toothpaste. You’re equivocating.

            The mistake that many on the right make is that they don’t understand that and think that the free market is some kind of moral imperative. It’s not. It is one of a variety of options.

            The moral imperative is NON AGGRESSION. Whether YOU like it or not, a free market is one devoid of aggression, which means a free market is the RESULT of non aggression. Socialism, AND INTERVENTIONISM, require aggression, violence, which entails results congruent with aggression and violence: artificial scarcity, black markets, authoritarianism, poverty, despair.

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    4. “The problem is that it assumes all people are interchangeable. That everyone is a fungible unit of labor that can be retrained or switched to whatever line of work is deemed to be most advantageous. This is, of course, insane.”

      True, as long as we’re talking about the same person and not that person’s offspring. Jobs and their required skills usually don’t disappear overnight, but rather dwindle over time and get replaced by new, different ones.

      I look at it as it must have been when the automobile was starting to become popular/affordable. I doubt every horse-related job disappeared during the year 1910 or something. More likely is that you had guys retiring from working as coach builders or whatever and seeing their sons or grandsons becoming car mechanics and the like.

      I don’t buy the whole “robots will replace every job” crap I keep hearing. Not only will there be the obvious jobs such as robot repair technician and robot programmer, there will probably be robot-related jobs that no one has even imagined yet. The Internet proved that kind of thing. Go back to the mid-90s and you probably had plenty of people predicting new opportunities for jobs such as network manager. But nobody predicted there would be jobs such as “social media specialist” or “inbound marketing manager.”

      Sure, today’s laid off factory worker is not going to retrain to become a systems analyst, but their 10-year old kid will probably go into something like that…or robot sales rep.

      1. Some people are not cut out to be in the service sector. It is not about how you worked one way for so long. Some people are cut out to do physical things. Some people cut out to do other things. You can’t just decree that everyone is now going to sit at a desk and push paper and expect that to work. People are always going to be different and have different skills and aptitudes. And if an economy doesn’t accommodate for that, the social disruption associated with that is going to be worse than whatever gain you get from the extra wealth.

        What do you do with people who are not cut out for a service sector economy? Put them all on welfare? Kill them? No one ever asks that question because the people who would ask it are never affected by these things and just live in a pretend world where all labor and people are fungible.

        1. Why do you think that there will be no diversity in employment? There are difficult transitional periods whenever there is a major innovation that changes the economy. You can’t eliminate those problems, but I think that trying to solve them often makes them worse. For some reason people are less willing to pull up stakes and move to where the work is than they used to be. I think this has a lot to do with welfare and entitlements and the notion that everyone has a right to a “living wage” no matter what. Leave people to make their own choices and bear the consequences more and I think these problems will sort themselves out pretty quickly.

          1. Damn you Zeb, you’re being so reasonable………..

            1. Zeb’s pretty pathetic in that respect.

          2. It is happening now. Read Tyler Cowen’s last book. This cycle of change isn’t working like the other ones have. Cowen is not right about everything but he is a smart guy and he is onto something.

            1. Didn’t I just say that? And propose some reasons why it might be so?

      2. The problem is that you can’t have a real debate about what we expect from the economy because the two sides are made up of leftists nitwits who hate markets and think socialism is the way and religious fanatics like Mexican who think the “market” is some kind of magic machine that delivers perfect results and moral judgements from God.

        1. No, the market lets people make their own choices and live with them.

          Jesus, John, you sound exactly like a leftist. May as well start calling people free market fundamentalists and denouncing the Koch bros.

      3. As someone who works with robotics in a manufacturing company, I would say I’m in agreement with you IM. We need just as many jobs for a robotic future as we need in our current environment. They just happen to be jobs that require some more intellectual caliber in the population. But I stay optimistic.

        1. See my point above about the variety of aptitude among people. If the future of the economy is a place where only people who are STEM nerds and can work in robotics have a job, then there is no future. You can’t have an economy where 30 or even 20 percent of the population is told to go fuck themselves and live on the dole. You can but it will quickly explode and you will end up with a revolution and some kind of fascism or assorted strain of leftist socialism. So if we like our capitalism and freedom and want to keep it, we better figure out a way for it to provide everyone who wants it with some kind of opportunity. Standing around saying “fuck you die you dumb lazy hillbillies” may make some people feel good, but it is not a solution that will end well for anyone.

          1. How old are you, seriously? I know what you were trying to say above, but “STEM nerd” has 0 negative impact on my point above (you sound like my 67 year old uncle). And if only 20-30% of the population is competent in modest to high level STEM concepts, we have a lot more to worry about than your strange hang ups about local manufacturing jobs.

            1. You sound like my illiterate nephew, Seriously, are you 12? Maybe my sarcasm made my point too hard for you to understand. Let me put it in very simple terms for you. If all jobs or a vast majority of them become high tech and require aptitude in the sciences, what do you say to the part of the population that has no aptitude in the sciences? It is a very simple question. I really don’t quite understand why you would have to be your 67-year-old uncle to understand that. Is he the only one in our family with an IQ over 100?

              And you reversed the numbers. I am talking about 30% not having jobs not only 30% being competent. Again, please try understanding the point before responding. it makes things a lot easier.

              1. Most jobs today require people to use a computer in some way or other. 50 years ago, using a computer was a highly specialized thing requiring specialist knowledge.
                The knowledge necessary to operate technology always decreases as the technology becomes widely adopted and matures.

                No, not everyone can be an engineer. But everyone can operate a smartphone. And some day, servicing, maintaining and installing robots will be a normal sort of thing that anyone who isn’t actually mentally retarded will be able to do without needing a whole lot of technical STEM education.

                1. This is absolutely true. My 2 year old knows how to unlock a smartphone and call his granddad (annoying but adorable). I suppose your point about tech aptitude was where I should have focused my energy, but I couldn’t get over the “STEM nerd” comment.

                2. Sure Zeb but who says operating technology means having a job?

                  1. Weren’t you just talking about how people won’t be able to have jobs because they won’t have the skills to do the jobs that are required because not everyone has aptitude for STEM subjects?

                    I’ve got robots to build. Later.

              2. I concede that I swapped the percentages, and I will acknowledge I’m incorrect on the comment following. That being said, you’re uncouth behavior is really starting to get tasteless. You really do have a knack for attacking anyone for the slightest transgression to your very inconsistent and protectionist views (I should clarify, you’re overall views are inconsistent, but the protectionist stuff has been pretty standard). Regardless of true age, you are a child throwing tantrums at others for their views.

                Learn to interact with some grace before commenting at this site, it makes things a lot easier.

          2. Robots are expensive. As long as teh “dumb hill-billys” don’t price themselves out of a job, there will be work for them. It’s the people on both sides who think they know the right answer for everyone making the problems worse than they have to be, whether it’s the left declaring that everyone deserves a living wage just for showing up or the populist right thinking they can do the same through trade policies, they are all just pushing things toward more automation and fewer low level jobs and making the transition more painful.

      4. Re: Inigo Montoya,

        today’s laid off factory worker is not going to retrain to become a systems analyst, but their 10-year old kid will probably go into something like that…or robot sales rep.

        The problem is that some people take a reactionary approach to a changing economy and think there’s someone out there trying to bring them down. Hence, John.

        1. The problem is there are morons like you who worship the “market” like it is some kind of God that produces the perfect result rather than a description of human behavior. There are so many things you don’t’ understand that it is hard to know where to begin. But one of the most basic things you don’t understand is the difference between a description and a value judgment. Economics describes behavior. It doesn’t make value judgments. Nothing in economics says one result is better or worse than another. It just describes what the result of various policy choices are. If you would ever figure that out and stop treating your half-assed understanding of markets as a way to make moral judgments, you might be on the road to at least not being profoundly ignorant.

          1. Re: John,

            The problem is there are morons like you who worship the “market” like it is some kind of God[…]

            Wow, the Tucker Carlson approach! How quaint!

            I don’t consider the market a ‘god’, John. I consider it what it is: the network made of billions of daily interactions between human individuals of will. It is as perfect or imperfect as the human who create it. I told this to Tony, the blue team socialist who also claims we free market advocate believe the market is a god. Now I have to contend with red team socialists such as yourself.

            Nothing in economics says one result is better or worse than another.

            Of course not. Economics does not make value judgments or moral judgments. That’s correct. But you’re saying that the economy is moving towards a service-based economy because of purposeful action by policy makers. That’s ABSURD. I’m not making a value judgment here. I’m pointing out that your argument is flawed because it is based on the notion that central planning CAN achieve expected results. But it CAN’T.

            1. ot. Economics does not make value judgments or moral judgments. That’s correct. But you’re saying that the economy is moving towards a service-based economy because of purposeful action by policy makers.

              You are an idiot who doesn’t understand economic policy or the history of the last 50 years. Governments have enormous ability to shape economies through economic policy. What the fuck do you think Japan and China spent the last 50 years doing?

              You seem to have bought into this idiotic myth that everything that happens is just bad luck. No. it is not just bad luck. Why do you think we had a manufacturing sector in the first place? Because we spent the entire 19th century protecting the living shit out of it and ensuring that our domestic demand for goods was fed by domestic production. If tomorrow the government banned the importation of cars. What do you think would happen? Would people just go without? No. cars would cost more but they would be made here. Whether that is good or bad is debatable. But it is not debatable that is what would happen. The government opened up international trade specifically so that manufacturing would move overseas and become cheaper. They knew exactly what it was doing and it was done for a purpose. That is just what happened good or bad.

              1. Re: John,

                Governments have enormous ability to shape economies through economic policy.

                Why are you saying these things as if I’m negating them? Of course governments have enormous ability to shape economies. SO FUCKING WHAT? That does not mean they achieve the expected results they wanted to achieve. If they DID, Socialism would be the thing today.

                The government opened up international trade specifically so that manufacturing would move overseas and become cheaper.

                And yet YOU accuse ME of being ignorant? What you wrote above has to be the most insanely ignorant thing I’ve ever read. What explains Hong Kong? Chile? Poland?

                Governments don’t “specifically open trade” so that manufacturing moves overseas. Manufacturing moves overseas because of Comparative Advantage. It’s not a policy thing.

                Get this through your thick skull, John: Trade is what PEOPLE do. Always.

        2. I appreciated your post, as it went beyond the “woo! Robots over humans” sentiment that I’ve gotten pretty used to at work, lol. I thought it was a thoughtful post.

    5. “The problem is that it assumes all people are interchangeable.”

      This is a huge ideological problem for libertarians, and it’s not limited to economics. But economics seems to be the place we can most easily point out this reality. You can’t take a thousand men with IQ80 and expect them to magically retrain to robotics engineers and be successful. What do we do with these people? If we just tell them “Fuck off and die whitey!” we are going to end up with a very volatile, nasty situation–or at least historically speaking that has been the case.

      Even if we can avert violence in the short term among low ed, low income whites, what will happen long term? More entitlements? An entire subsection of the population that is not only on welfare, but who never could escape it, and for whom the vast majority of their children can’t either due to heredity and IQ?

      1. should have read “can’t take a thousand, let alone tens of millions of men with IQ80

    6. So you’re now decidedly anti free market now. Why do you even still come here?

    7. All of this is more or less true and has worked out the way the economists predicted.

      Economists have designed two political systems: Communism and Libertarianism. Both treat people as interchangable cogs, and neither has a notable track record of success. Whenever someone gives you an economic reason for a political position, you would be wise to regard that position with a good deal of suspicion. There’s a lot of truth to the old saw “Man does not live by bread alone”.

      I quit paying attention to economists when it became obvious they had got out the business of analyzing how people get the things they want, and into the business of telling us what we ought to want.

  6. Plus how many men in their 50s are on SS disability now? That’s the big law practice in some states with poor whites. Not having a job or purpose in your middle years when you’re used to working since you were a teen can be a real downer.

    1. Reducing eligibility for disability is one of those things that should be done and must be done for so many reasons but never will be done because no pol wants to be seen as the guy putting cripple old ladies and legless war heroes out on the street, even if that’s not what it actually entailed.

  7. They outline a process of cumulative deprivation beginning after the 1970s that is rooted in the steady deterioration in job opportunities for people with low education. Men with less economic prospects became less marriageable resulting in single-motherhood becoming the norm.

    So the argument is that the free market has worked to destroy the family unit. Not the state? Not single-mom subsidies? Not established leftist dogmas about population control, ethnic guilt, radical feminism or moral relativism? Not the state?!?!?

    I assume that Ron is laying the groundwork for an article about the merits of UBI to cure the destruction already wrought by the welfare state free market.

  8. Seems about right.

    1. FS & HVHV: This is what I have actually written:

      The history of food stamps in McDowell County may provide one clue as to why the death rates for poor rural whites is rising. Perhaps dependence on the paltry alms doled out by the welfare state encourages rural recipients to stay out in the boondocks where they have few opportunities for improving their lives. Not being as cautious about speculation as Case, I’ll guess that lots of poor rural whites have come to believe that the modern world is leaving them behind and are seeking solace in mind-numbing substances and suicide. Bribing people to stay poor can kill them.

  9. Here’s the real good news in all this. People keep saying that automation will free up workers to pursue more valuable things to do with their time. Now we know that a good chunk of workers find smoking pot, popping pain pills, getting drunk, and dying young as the most valuable use of their time.

  10. Natural Selection

  11. Maybe they should stop being poor.

  12. Men with less economic prospects became less marriageable resulting in single-motherhood becomingthe norm.

    There’s a book-length article on this right here.

  13. “policies that operated on the assumption that you could take people working in manufacturing and just transition them into working in the services.”

    This does seem to be the rationale behind all those “job training programs for the unemployed.” Having been somewhat close to such programs, I observe they work best in re-training from one service job skill to another.
    Don’t work too well transitioning most long time manufacturing workers. As an auditor, I’ve observed hundreds of mfg. jobs in my career and I think it is far easier (though less pleasant) for a service/white collar person to do a manufacturing job than vice versa. I could easily, for example, learn to drive the forklift or assemble parts but I haven’t found those whose job is driving a forklift who could figure out the first thing about bookkeeping or calculating the IRR on potential equipment purchases.

    1. Yes, there’s a reason people don’t get paid as much to build widgets as to design widgets.

  14. Case and Deaton assert that reversing this increase in white working class mortality will not be easy, but suggest that one first step toward ameliorating this sad situation would be to rein in the proliferation of opioid prescriptions.

    Or…

  15. They suggest that increases in obesity and diabetes can also account for some the increase in mortality among whites. Although Case and Deaton don’t mention it, the incidence of cancer is associated with obesity.

    Ban Mountain Dew! And NAFTA! And babies!

  16. Wake me up when poor whites are in worse shape than poor blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans.

        1. What does this have to do with me waking you?

          1. Are poor whites getting incarcerated at higher rates than blacks now?
            Do whites without a high school diploma earn less than blacks without a high school diploma?
            Is the employment rate for poor whites higher than poor blacks?

            Maybe poor whites are just pussies who can’t handle the level of adversity that blacks have been dealing with for decades.

            1. Are poor whites getting incarcerated at higher rates than blacks now?

              Maybe not, but surely the incarceration rate for whites must be really high in order for 10.7 percent of 18-39 year-old native-borns to be incarcerated. Right?

            2. Are poor whites getting incarcerated at higher rates than blacks now?
              Do whites without a high school diploma earn less than blacks without a high school diploma?
              Is the employment rate for poor whites higher than poor blacks?

              Maybe poor whites are just pussies who can’t handle the level of adversity that blacks have been dealing with for decades.

              Why are the poor whites the pussies when they’re staying out of jail and making money?

            3. Maybe poor whites are just pussies who can’t handle the level of adversity that blacks have been dealing with for decades.

              Or maybe they’re just as susceptible to a coddling welfare state which saps them of incentives.

              1. Or maybe they’re just as susceptible to a coddling welfare state which saps them of incentives.

                This is not the proper way to respond to autistic rage.

              2. And NOW is the time to solve that problem. Because WHITE people are suffering!

                1. And NOW is the time to solve that problem. Because WHITE people are suffering!

                  Right, because no one around here ever pointed out the problem before, ever before ever. Perhaps we could try a novel way to fix it. We could make drugs illegal and arrest anyone who possesses them!

                  1. Exactly. why is there no “war on opioids”? Let’s solve the problem by arresting lots of poor white folk and throwing them in prison. Maybe add a “three strikes you’re out” law. Or raise the mandatory minimum for dealing prescription painkillers to like 20 years. And cut welfare benefits. White people need to learn how to pull themselves up by their bootstraps.

    1. I’m not sure what your point is here, Hazel?

      Are we supposed to not care if the same welfare-state rot starts spreading further? Or maybe we quit fucking with social-engineering schemes which marginalize blacks and Native Americans, which in turn might uplift Trump voters too?

      1. My point is the sudden special focus on the needs of poor whites is kind of offensive considering that the exact same problems have afflicted some other, less politically influential, racial and ethnic groups, for the last several decades.

        1. Nope, it’s been exactly the opposite. We’ve been “helping” the black community and Native Americans for decades. Now it’s time to apply the same help to flyover country.

          1. Paul, let’s get serious. John isn’t upthread arguing that we should take away poor white people’s welfare.

            He’s upthread fervently declaring that we have a deep moral obligation to buy our fellow (white) citizens products. Strangely a similar obligation doesn’t exist to shop at black owned businesses or go to a black doctor or dentist or lawyer. No, but white factory guys, those guys deserve our special patronage, and it must be enforced by the government. Affirmative action for whites, in the form of laws that protect them from economic competition – to make sure they have jobs.

            This is what progressives talk about when they talk about “structural racism” and “white privilege”. The fact that white people have the political power to bend the levers of the state to advantage themselves in the game of life.

        2. sudden special focus on the needs of poor whites

          a brookings paper AND a blog post!

  17. Men with less economic prospects became less marriageable resulting in single-motherhood becomingthe norm.

    *Fewer* economic prospects, Bailey. Consider this a warning.

  18. I have seen John for what he really is: just another anti-market ideologue. No wonder he found a kindred spirit in El Trumpo….

    1. John supports whatever Team Red supports at any given point in time. Even if it’s the exact opposite of whatever Team Red supported five minutes ago.

  19. I grew up in an area that was big time coal country.

    At the end of the 80s coal of course started declining there.

    A lot of men in their 30s and 40s got laid off in a few short years in the early 90s.

    The men who had personal drive went and did something. They may not have all been well educated at the time they were laid off, but they weren’t going to sit on their asses waiting for the coal mines to come back. They went to the local community college, or they moved away where they could find jobs, most often not mining related.

    The men who had no personal drive just signed up for welfare and got drunk all the time hoping the coal mines would come back because they didn’t want to put forth the effort to do anything else. Twenty five years later, they still haven’t yet came back.

    1. The men who had no personal drive just signed up for welfare and got drunk all the time hoping the coal mines would come back because they didn’t want to put forth the effort to do anything else. Twenty five years later, they still haven’t yet came back.

      This can’t be stated enough, or hard enough.

      1. You could increase the font and make sure everything is in bold.

  20. I can hear the wings flapping of the Angel of Death already.

    How can one tell if the flap sound is feathers or bat-wings?

  21. There is some irony in that an article based on statistics and presented in a passive way can generate a comments section that is full of venom and stupidity.

    Let me remind people that being poor does not equal “not working”. That 51 year old guy addicted to opioids probably used to drive truck 50 hours a week for 30 years. His wife may have worked in the school kitchen.

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