Posts Tagged ‘poor’

In Time is set in the “near future.”

But economic inequality has caught up with us sooner than expected. Right now, according to the New York Times,

Despite big advances in medicine, technology and education, the longevity gap between high-income and low-income Americans has been widening sharply.

The poor are losing ground not only in income, but also in years of life, the most basic measure of well-being. In the early 1970s, a 60-year-old man in the top half of the earnings ladder could expect to live 1.2 years longer than a man of the same age in the bottom half, according to an analysis by the Social Security Administration. Fast-forward to 2001, and he could expect to live 5.8 years longer than his poorer counterpart.

And it gets worse.


According to a new study by Barry Bosworth, Gary Burtless, and Kan Zhang (pdf), not only is there a large gap in life expectancy between those at the top and bottom of the economic scale. It’s actually been growing.

The authors find, for example, that the average life expectancy of a man born in 1920 in the top 10 percent of the mid-career income distribution is 79.3 years. The same man in the bottom 10 percent of the distribution has an average life expectancy 5 years lower. However, for men born 20 years later (in 1940), the difference in average life expectancy is 12 years.

The large and growing gap in life expectancy in the United States is even more grotesque when compared to our neighbors to the north. Again, according to the New York Times,

The experience of other countries suggests that disparities do not necessarily get worse in contemporary times. Consider Canada, where men in the poorest urban neighborhoods experienced the biggest declines in mortality from heart disease from 1971 to 1996, according to a 2002 study. Over all, the gap in life expectancy at birth between income groups declined in Canada during that period. And a study comparing cancer survival rates found that low-income residents of Toronto had greater survival rates than their counterparts in Detroit. There was no difference for middle- and high-income residents in the two cities.

“There are large swaths of the population that are not enjoying the pretty impressive gains the rest of us are having in life spans,” said Christopher J. L. Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in Seattle. “Not everybody is sharing in the same prosperity and progress.”

A lot of liberals are complaining these days about focusing too much on the causes and consequences of economic inequality.

They’re just wasting our time.


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Odds are you purchased a ticket for the $1.5 billion Powerball lottery—and, as you now know, you most certainly did not win.

But you already knew that state-sponsored lotteries represent a gigantic tax on the poor: they generate substantial regressive tax revenues, since low-income players spend a much higher proportion of their income on lotteries than anyone else.

What you might not know is that, at least in one country, the Supreme Court has recognized this problem and upheld the ban on lotteries enacted by one state, with the following argument:

Experience has shown that the common forms of gambling are comparatively innocuous when placed in contrast with widespread pestilence of lotteries. The former are confined to a few persons and places, but the latter infests the whole community; it enters every dwelling; it reaches every class; it preys upon the hard earnings of the poor; it plunders the ignorant and the simple.

When in Rome. . .

Posted: 27 December 2015 in Uncategorized
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The residents of the Eternal City [ht: sm] now have their own guide book: “Rome—where to eat, sleep and have a wash.”

It’s specifically for the growing number of indigent and homeless people, victims of the long recession in Italy and the lop-sided nature of the economic recovery in that country.

The Sant’ Egidio Community, a Catholic charity that distributes the guide, estimates that there are about 8,000 homeless people in Rome. Many are foreigners but a growing number are Italians.

About 2,500 sleep outdoors and thousands of others in precarious shelters such as abandoned buildings.

Marco Impagliazzo, head of the worldwide group of non-clerics, said a growing number were Italian men in their mid-30s who were separated or divorced and had none of the family safety nets that traditionally protected Italians in the past.

Italy’s economy is emerging only slowly from a three-year recession and unemployment remains close to record highs, with virtually no jobs growth this year among those under the age of 35.

The guide includes addresses of medical services, 40 sidewalk soup kitchens, 40 indoor eateries, 45 places to sleep and 17 places to wash, get a shave or a haircut.

The number of places to wash has increased in recent years in Rome after the homeless themselves told charity workers that was what was lacking most. Pope Francis ordered showers for the homeless to be opened just off St. Peter’s Square this year.

The guide, now in its 26th edition, includes a pull-out waterproof map with simple drawings – such as a sandwich for food points – and public transport routes to get to them.


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