Americans’ life expectancy at birth declined for the second year in a row in 2016 as the nation grappled with an opioid crisis, the first time that’s happened in more than half a century.
The overall decrease in longevity -- to an average of 78.6 years -- was driven by higher death rates among young and middle-aged Americans, even as older people are living longer. Fatal drug overdoses jumped by 21 percent, and the rate of deaths from synthetic opioids like fentanyl doubled from 2015 to 2016, the National Center for Health Statistics said Thursday.
Broad declines in life expectancy are unusual in modern, wealthy nations -- absent war or epidemics -- and the reversal in the U.S. has been years in the making. Americans have shorter lives than citizens of other rich nations like Japan, Germany or Canada, and the gap in lifespans has been increasing, according to a 2013 National Academies of Sciences report.
“We’ve been on a different trajectory from other high-income nations over two decades,” said Laudan Aron, a demographer at the Urban Institute and co-editor of that report.
Still, the opioid crisis is part of the story in the most recent years. Accidental injuries, a category that includes drug overdoses, eclipsed respiratory disease to become the third-leading cause of death in 2016, accounting for almost 6 percent of all deaths. Only cancer and heart disease kill more Americans.
Life expectancy at birth in the U.S. dropped about 10 weeks in two years, from 78.8 years in 2014. That’s a statistical estimate based on current death rates, and other factors in the decades ahead will influence how long, on average, today’s newborns will live. Last time the statistic fell two consecutive years was in 1962-1963, the National Center for Health Statistics, or NCHS, said in one of two reports released Thursday.
About 63,600 Americans died from fatal overdoses in 2016, according to the second report, with West Virginia, New Hampshire, the District of Columbia and Pennsylvania among the hardest-hit.
I'm not making this stuff up, people. There's something very wrong with America, notwithstanding the rosy economic numbers that make the front pages. It's so wrong that there's been nothing like it since 1963.
Why are people so eager to die? What were these 63,600 fatally overdosed Americans thinking? Note that the increase in death is among young people and the middle aged -- older people are actually living longer and healthier than ever before. Which means this has nothing to do with the modern state of medicine or euthanasia and everything to do with the health of our souls.
I have stated my theory -- it's too difficult to make it through all the hoops of the education system and get a high paying job. Due to that, it's also too difficult to marry and have kids. And when basic ingredients for a good life are made impossible for vast swathes of the public, society breaks down and eventually humanity goes extinct. We are just watching my theory play out in real time.
This is no longer the land of opportunity. Millennials are making less than baby boomers did a generation ago. Labor force participation is extremely low and even those who do work have lower wages and lower working hours.
I can imagine a lot of men who were either personally enamored with the traditional life of a secure job, a wife and kids and a white picket fence realizing they'll never achieve their dreams and committing suicide, or people who never particularly cared about succeeding but are so badgered by their family's expectations and peer pressure and so constantly insulted for falling short that they kill themselves just to get away.
Millennial men didn't wake up one day and decide they were going to be selfish lazy eunuchs. Something forced their hand. And now they've been driven into a corner where their only remaining escape is death. Why on Earth is society putting such tremendous, unprecedented pressure on them that it would ever come to this?
And look, these tax cuts are nice but they do nothing for the at risk population. The unemployed can't receive a tax cut because they don't make anything to begin with. Nor can they get employed because they lack the education and skills employers are looking for.
The only thing that will help the people is A) a citizen's dividend, B) mandatory apprenticeship programs where the employer must accept all employees who petition to work for them and let them learn the skills they need on the job. I have proposed both of these solutions, but no one is listening.
Education is not preparing people for the workforce. 2/3 of people with phd's aren't working in anything relevant to their education. We are the most educated generation in history and employers could care less. But at the same time, it's impossible to succeed without an education, because employers will be sued by the EEOC if they hire anyone who isn't waving around a proper fancy degree while simultaneously rejecting someone else of similar or higher certification.
Until you drop the Duke Power vs. Griggs supreme court ruling and allow employers to hire based on merit instead of arbitrary measures like how well you did in passing 'racism, sexism, and white privilege 101', there's an entire section of the public you're locking out of the American dream. They don't like putting up with bullshit, they don't like sitting in stale boring classrooms all day every day. They want to get out in the field, work with their hands, and start doing something for a living, and you're completely locking them out of getting any job anywhere.
And then these disenfranchised men can't find a wife, decide their life is pointless, and overdose on fentanyl. You may as well have just shot them in the back of the head yourselves.
Zooming out, however, getting men jobs by making the education system work for men is only a temporary solution. Eventually robots will outcompete all men for all jobs. This will likely occur within this generation -- ie, any kid being educated today for a job in the future is wasting their time, there are no jobs in their futures.
The only way to give people a sense of purpose and accomplishment in the future isn't going to be employment programs to get these men back involved in the economy. It will have to be family life plus hobbies. There's nothing else available to mankind once our jobs are taken away from us.
And women aren't interested, for whatever reason, in family life. Which means men are going to keep dying unless you mandate marriage by age 20 and two children by 25, another solution I've proposed, alongside the citizen's dividend so people can afford their new, work-free lives.
And until men and women take up the hobbies I've proffered to fill up the new void in their lives and bond around something other than economic necessity (I'll provide the money if you provide the sex), the mandatory marriages will be pretty frigid home environments with people who hate each other and are bored out of their minds. Which means my scheme where people are mandated to consume the artistic products in my hall of fame at a steady pace every month of their lives is also a necessary ingredient for the overdoses to stop. Instead of office hours, they'll have hobby hours, where they're still getting work done, but the new work is polishing their spirits instead of dull repetitive motions like barley harvesting, which computers have already fully automated earlier this year.
We need to systematize life and mandate people live it well, or we're just going to die out. Straight out. These death rates are unsustainable. Our fertility rate is unsustainable. It's just backbreaking what's happening out there, beyond the razzle dazzle and the city lights. Everyone is living out lives of quiet desperation -- but the statistics are screaming at the top of their lungs.