Monday, April 25, 2016

Poverty, White Women, and Death - Bernie fails at complex issues Part 2

“If you are born in Baltimore’s poorest neighborhood, your life expectancy is almost 20 years shorter than if you’re born in its wealthiest neighborhood,” the senator from Vermont said, adding that “15 neighborhoods in Baltimore have lower life expectancies than North Korea. Two of them have a higher infant mortality rate than Palestine's West Bank.”
Hmmm, Bernie again. It's not hard to understand why some Americans are attracted to simplistic answers to complex problems. But let's not be confused by what's going on:

This year Americans in large numbers are angrily buying into the demagoguery of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.

And guess what. There does appear to be a serious, long-term death problem related to income and social status developing in this country that isn't something one can easily solve. As reported in The Washington Post there is A new divide in American death that doesn't have the lefty appeal for Bernie to rage about:
White women have been dying prematurely at higher rates since the turn of this century, passing away in their 30s, 40s and 50s in a slow-motion crisis driven by decaying health in small-town America, according to an analysis of national health and mortality statistics by The Washington Post.

Among African Americans, Hispanics and even the oldest white Americans, death rates have continued to fall. But for white women in what should be the prime of their lives, death rates have spiked upward. In one of the hardest-hit groups — rural white women in their late 40s — the death rate has risen by 30 percent.
This doesn't have the outrage appeal for the left, but...
This reversal may be fueling anger among white voters: The Post last month found a correlation between places with high white death rates and support for GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Bernie did not utter the death sentence phrase when he was campaigning in Iowa or Oklahoma. But in Maryland he was trolling for votes from these Baltimore folks pictured in The Washington Post article which gave us the quote at the top of this post...

Apparently these folks believe Sanders is going to solve the Baltimore poor-neighborhood-discrepancies-in-life-span problem associated with personal income, neighborhoods in which I assume the people in the picture live. Yeah, right.
"In this country we are going to make profound economic changes. The people on top will not continue to accumulate billions of dollars in personal wealth while children in Baltimore and inner cities in this country go hungry, and have inadequate healthcare and education."
It would be nice if it was that easy.

"Poverty is a death sentence" is the glib statement made by Sanders to lead into an argument that he will reduce the Baltimore death rate among the younger population in those mostly-African-American neighborhoods. 

But the fact is that in the United States the leading causes of death for people under the age of 25 (exclusive of birth related causes) are vehicle accidents, suicide, accidental poisoning (including drug overdoses), and homicide. (For the rest of us, the leading causes are related to our diet, smoking and lack of exercise.)

If Bernie could solve this problem it would be not a day too soon according to this Washington Post chart showing the homicide totals (please note that I did modify the background color for the years of Bill Clinton's Presidency):

Bernie's been in Congress for 25 years now. And yet we read this...
Sanders has continued to talk on the campaign trail about his astonishment at the conditions he saw, including many boarded-up homes and a lack of banks and grocery stores.
Where's he been the last 25 years? Has he ever been in Detroit??? I thought he won Michigan.

Oh, right. He won lefty white Michigan, not Detroit or Flint.

Populist demagoguery is a rich American tradition. This year we have both Sanders and Trump.

What's disheartening is that the demagogues themselves always believe the claptrap coming out of their mouths precisely because its simplistic - from and for simpletons.

Death rates growing higher is not a simplistic problem, whether its among white middle-aged women in rural America or black youth in the inner cities.

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