US in Social Decline

From MoA:

“The gravest national security threat facing America is its collective indifference to the steady deterioration of living standards within the United States.” – Micah Zenko

His tweet was in response to the 2017 CDC report on mortality in the United States. Its key findings include:
Life expectancy for the U.S. population declined to 78.6 years in 2017.
The age-adjusted death rate increased by 0.4% from 728.8 deaths per 100,000 standard population in 2016 to 731.9 in 2017.
Age-specific death rates increased from 2016 to 2017 for age groups 25–34, 35–44, and 85 and over, and decreased for the age group 45–54.
Last year was the third year in a row that life expectancy in the United States decreased and mortality increased.
This only happened once before between 1915 to 1918. The cause was the Spanish Flu, which alone killed 675,000 people in the United States, and the 1st World War…

The main causes of the current decline are an increase in overdoses from opioids and a higher suicide rates:
Since 1999, the number of drug overdose deaths has more than quadrupled. Deaths attributed to opioids were nearly six times greater in 2017 than they were in 1999. 

Overall, suicides increased by a third between 1999 and 2017, the report showed. In urban America, the rate is 11.1 per 100,000 people; in the most rural parts of the country, it is 20 per 100,000…

Maternal and infant mortality also increased during the last decade and are much higher than in other developed countries. All these social indicators describe a society in decline…

It was Bill Clinton’s ‘welfare reform’ that systematically impoverished people


From Janine Jackson a FAIR:

The policies and practices known as “welfare reform,” marked by Bill Clinton’s 1996 signing of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, always traded on a number of myths, often abetted by the media. Myths about how much money the government, or “taxpayers,” spent on Aid to Families with Dependent Children, and what those families receiving assistance looked like. And the myth that the receipt of state support discouraged people from working, creating what was bemoaned as a “culture of dependency” that might affect two or three generations.

But at the center of the myths around welfare and the need for its for reform were always women, and particularly black women. Shouldn’t they work more? How many children should they have? How is their working, or not working, affecting black men, and the perennially troubled and troubling black family?

For a policy that always claims to be about economics, welfare policy has always been about much more. Recognizing and understanding that can be part of a necessary “reboot,” as my next guest describes it, of the policy conversation around poverty.
Felicia Kornbluh is associate professor of history and gender, sexuality and women’s studies at the University of Vermont. Her books include The Battle for Welfare Rights: Politics and Poverty in Modern America, and she is co-author, with Gwendolyn Mink, of the new book Ensuring Poverty: Welfare Reform in Feminist Perspective. She joins us now by phone from Vermont…

FK: Bill Clinton was a pretty good liar, too. Donald Trump is a liar, but Clinton was also a liar.
And he said all the time, and people in his administration said all the time, or suggested at least, that there was going to be childcare available for every person who was now going to be expected to be in the waged labor market, that people weren’t just going to be thrown off the welfare rolls willy nilly. But that there would be, he kept on saying, there would be opportunity, there would be education, there would be training, there would be jobs, there would be childcare, but none of that was actually in the law…

What happened after the Bill Clinton and Republican Congress created this law, is that things just went in the opposite direction, and it was just a story of compulsion and driving people away. And ultimately, of getting people to not even ask, to not even apply for the benefits. And I think that was the real purpose of the law…

When you understand that what happened when “welfare reform” occurred in the ‘90s, and when there were work requirements applied, was that people were just impoverished, and they were pushed off, and the government got to save a little bit of money, and good data indicate that people died. You know we have good solid data that death rates for people who would have otherwise been recipients of this aid went up.

That’s what’s going to happen with Medicaid work requirements, too. This is not about putting our healthcare system in dialogue with the labor market, and helping people get out of poverty. This is about systematically impoverishing people and perhaps killing them…

The assumption is poor people, non-white people, etc. are not working. And that’s just not true. It’s just an utter myth. Black women work harder than any other group in our society, and this is consistently true.  

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