Can Things Get Any Worse? How about Declining Life Expectancy for Middle-Aged Whites?

oxycontinby James A. Bacon

Forgive me for bragging, but if I don’t pat my own back, no one else will do it for me. The latest dismal trend highlighted in the nation’s newspapers, a rising death rate among white, middle-aged Americans, is one that I saw coming five years ago when I wrote “Boomergeddon.” (Technically, I predicted a rising death rate for all Americans, not just white Americans. But trust me, other racial/ethnic groups will follow.)

In a “startling” reversal, reports the Wall Street Journal, worsening substance abuse, mental health and chronic diseases are offsetting positive drivers of midlife mortality such as declining rates of lung cancer. A new study by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences said that the once-inexorable decline in mortality rates among American 45- to 54-year-old whites began reversing in the late 1990s in defiance of trends in other advanced countries and the progress made by American blacks and Hispanics. The uptick was especially notable for less educated whites, but it was visible among better educated whites as well.

The fiscal implications are worrisome. Writes the WSJ: “The authors warned that by the time white people in this age group are eligible for Medicare they could be in worse health than the current elderly generation. That means they could require more expensive care.”

That’s precisely what I worried about in “Boomergeddon.” Everyone knew and appreciated in 2010 when I wrote the book that the population was rapidly aging, and that the massive Baby Boomer cohort was about to swamp the Social Security-Medicare safety net. Largely unappreciated then, by many metrics Boomers’ health was worse than that of their elders — largely because of lifestyle choices. The incidence of obesity and diabetes was increasing among middle-aged Boomers compared to previous generations, but so was Hepatitus C,  substance abuse, and sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS. I called it the “sex, drugs and rocky road ice cream” phenomenon.

As I wrote then, “The medical costs arising from [Boomers’] life-long self-indulgence — if it feels good, do it! — will be significantly higher than they were for those who came before them.”

The 45- to 55-year-old cohort belongs to Generation X for the most part, not the Boomers, but the outlook for them is looking equally grim. Not only are Americans failing to attain the living standards of their parents, they’re not even living longer.

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34 responses to “Can Things Get Any Worse? How about Declining Life Expectancy for Middle-Aged Whites?”

  1. Steve Haner Avatar
    Steve Haner

    Darn it. And I wanted to be around to see the sea level rise to Lady Liberty’s kneecaps….

  2. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
    Reed Fawell 3rd

    Hey, cultures, societies, and nations die out.

    Over time civilizations and societies and cultures and nations rise and fall until they wear out and then collapse by reason of their own dispirited and meaningless weight and lack of energy and purpose. China has experienced this many times, the Yuan Dynasty (1271 to 1368) being only one of many examples.

    So here and now we are talking about the collapse of the Western World – the Judaeo Christian world as influenced by the enlightenment and free market capitalism – that is all.

    So what’s to worry? No big surprise here.

    And so what? Who wants to live forever? Right?

    1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
      Reed Fawell 3rd

      Another Canary in this Coal Mine is the I-66 Suicide.

      For that augur and its Omen see;

      1. Someone wrote recently, ominously, “There are many hidden forces at play in deep history. . . . [They] rule our lives and actions over untold generations. Most often they are invisible forces that rule us. Hence their perverse consequences that often drive whole peoples, societies and cultures over cliffs. Like what happened in the 1970s on I-66 west of Glebe Road to the Capital Beltway.”

        Perverse consequences? Remember those “Mission 66” signs that used to announce proudly the coming components of the Three Sisters Bridge and the High Bridge and the Little Falls Connector and the Whitehaven Freeway, all to knit the Capitol’s western jurisdictions into one? I also remember the grim haruspex who read our future from the spaghetti of lanes on the planners’ maps and spoke, “This shall not pass.” And his name, lest we forget, was Joe Fisher. I’d prefer to read bird entrails myself than drive on that portion of I-66 these days.

        1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
          Reed Fawell 3rd

          Ah Acbar –

          As usual you got your facts right. And you know what you are talking about.

          In a way this reminds me of the Arab Spring – but here we have the results of decisions made in the heat of a moment caught between the violent wing between the absolute rule of despotic urban power mongers and the nationwide bad habits they bred and spread – think here of Robert Moses (The Power Broker) – and the counter reaction to that corrupt government power that was fueled by the failure of leaders to themselves counter the corruption of their own institutions. Here I speak of the collective revolutionary forces of the late 60’s and 1970s that filled the void left by corrupt legitimate authority. The extremes of the Free Love and Mother Earth Movement, our own Urban Spring in America of sorts, including its understandable Highway Revolt movement.

          Herein we find the roots of paradox and irony on I-66.

          Herein we confront the collective failure of our leaders and ourselves to adjust to these swings of mindless extremes and the consequences in their train.

          This is is what really killed I-66. Namely our systems were left temporary insane. Unable to act on good urban transportation planning, they collapsed instead.

          It was inexcusable, if only because so few of so many in our institutions spoke the truth and stood up against what was happening and the consequences that were obviously in play. And did so in the face of both extremes. And instead both times legitimate authority took the easy way out, going along for the ride instead.

          This failure of leadership was what happened on I -66, up and down the food chain. I was kin to the takeovers of national universities, an abdication of responsibility and those responsible, the whole system collapsed.

          1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
            Reed Fawell 3rd

            Correction to last sentence – IT was kin to the …

  3. Andrew Roesell Avatar
    Andrew Roesell

    When people despair of life, due to unbelief, pain, tragedy, and failure, that is always a sad thing. I do not shrug this off and say, “oh, well!” “Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way.” Our society has steeped itself in materialism, self-centeredness, moving often and often far from home and family. These are sad things and hopefully more and more people will return to the things that truly matter. I think that the lack of job opportunities does not help either. More jobs are going to immigrants than to native born, black or white. Also, the bad trade deals that Donald Trump rightly castigates, have sent job overseas and made many communities into wastelands. “It all turns on affection,” Wendell Berry likes to say. If you do not have affection for people, then, “oh, well!” is an inevitable reply. I have pity on people who have been abandoned by their leaders who go out of their way to express their contempt for them. Donald Trump is reaping this to his benefit, and I am glad for him. However, materialistic and pragmatic solutions only help up to a point. It cannot solve crises of the spirit. For that, we must return to God who made us. We do not find our rest until have found him, Saint Augustine said, more or less.

  4. LarrytheG Avatar

    ” in defiance of trends in other advanced countries and the progress made by American blacks and Hispanics. The uptick was especially notable for less educated whites, but it was visible among better educated whites as well.”

    so when we talk about the DOOM of civilization as we know it – get a grip – and deal with the reality – that it’s the US – NOT THE WORLD!

    WHY is this happening IN THE US?

    geeze guys… we take something in context – out of context and then proceed to weave it into the doom of civilization… good gawd.

    Do you folks HONESTLY BELIEVE that the way the US is being run IS INFERIOR to the way that all the other OECD countries – who have things like universal health care – are run?

    how about we track with realities here?

  5. LarryG has a point. In one short posting and its comments we have moved the discussion from “[Boomers’] life-long self-indulgence,” as in “sex, drugs and rocky road ice cream,” and its effect upon “the once-inexorable decline in mortality rates among American 45- to 54-year-old whites,” all the way to “the collapse of the Western World,” and “St. Augustine,” while touching on that ultimate symbol of civilization’s decay, “I-66 inside the Beltway” — in other words, “the DOOM of civilization as we know it.”

    Wow. Discussing the profound shift in our health care system’s focus from acute, crisis-oriented intervention to the long term control, maintenance and care of chronic disease is one thing. Quite another is the question, “Do you folks HONESTLY BELIEVE that the way the US is being run IS INFERIOR to the way that all the other OECD countries – who have things like universal health care – are run?” Larry, are you simply being ironic, here? Are you asking, how can the US be the shining city upon the hill, a superior OECD civilization, if we don’t have universal health care? If the closest we can come to universal coverage is Obamacare, how can Virginia fail to supplement it with Medicaid expansion?

    Historically, in the US, our society has been reluctant to give up entirely on the notion that chronic diseases brought on by obesity and sedentary living are avoidable, hence self-inflicted, hence unworthy of cure at public expense — as opposed to, for example, a heart attack. But the fact is, US health care is well down the road of treating the medical consequences of obesity like any other disease in this country, like a heart condition for example, without judgment as to causation.

    Yet we DO still judge ability-to-pay before we provide the health care. If we are not going to consider prior circumstances such as causation (and I’m certainly not arguing that we should!), how can we fail to provide the same level of health care to anyone who manages to come through the hospital door: based on need, rather than ability to pay?

    1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
      Reed Fawell 3rd

      Good insight.

      On the one hand, we are witnessing a very old recurrent story here and now.

      On the other hand, our story here in the US and elsewhere is moving at warp speed, fueled by technologies whose scope, pace of advance, and consequences (seen and unforeseen) are without historical precedence.

      Can we cope? Can we keep up? How can we wisely manage unprecedented change coming at us so fast from so many different directions? Rapid change often brings vast disruption and destruction before society can right itself. Here it is reasonable to wonder if we’ll even get a second chance.

  6. Rowinguy Avatar

    Somehow, this just seems to go here:

    “We Can’t Make it Here”

    Vietnam Vet with a cardboard sign
    Sitting there by the left turn line
    Flag on the wheelchair flapping in the breeze
    One leg missing, both hands free
    No one’s paying much mind to him
    The V.A. budget’s stretched so thin
    And there’s more comin’ home from the Mideast war
    We can’t make it here anymore

    That big ol’ building was the textile mill
    It fed our kids and it paid our bills
    But they turned us out and they closed the doors
    We can’t make it here anymore

    See all those pallets piled up on the loading dock
    They’re just gonna set there till they rot
    ‘Cause there’s nothing to ship, nothing to pack
    Just busted concrete and rusted tracks
    Empty storefronts around the square
    There’s a needle in the gutter and glass everywhere
    You don’t come down here ‘less you’re looking to score
    We can’t make it here anymore

    The bar’s still open but man it’s slow
    The tip jar’s light and the register’s low
    The bartender don’t have much to say
    The regular crowd gets thinner each day

    Some have maxed out all their credit cards
    Some are working two jobs and living in cars
    Minimum wage won’t pay for a roof, won’t pay for a drink
    If you gotta have proof just try it yourself Mr. CEO
    See how far 5.15 an hour will go
    Take a part time job at one of your stores
    Bet you can’t make it here anymore

    High school girl with a bourgeois dream
    Just like the pictures in the magazine
    She found on the floor of the laundromat
    A woman with kids can forget all that
    If she comes up pregnant what’ll she do
    Forget the career, forget about school
    Can she live on faith? live on hope?
    High on Jesus or hooked on dope
    When it’s way too late to just say no
    You can’t make it here anymore

    Now I’m stocking shirts in the Wal-Mart store
    Just like the ones we made before
    ‘Cept this one came from Singapore
    I guess we can’t make it here anymore

    Should I hate a people for the shade of their skin
    Or the shape of their eyes or the shape I’m in
    Should I hate ’em for having our jobs today
    No I hate the men sent the jobs away
    I can see them all now, they haunt my dreams
    All lily white and squeaky clean
    They’ve never known want, they’ll never know need
    Their sh@# don’t stink and their kids won’t bleed
    Their kids won’t bleed in the da$% little war
    And we can’t make it here anymore

    Will work for food
    Will die for oil
    Will kill for power and to us the spoils
    The billionaires get to pay less tax
    The working poor get to fall through the cracks
    Let ’em eat jellybeans let ’em eat cake
    Let ’em eat sh$%, whatever it takes
    They can join the Air Force, or join the Corps
    If they can’t make it here anymore

    And that’s how it is
    That’s what we got
    If the president wants to admit it or not
    You can read it in the paper
    Read it on the wall
    Hear it on the wind
    If you’re listening at all
    Get out of that limo
    Look us in the eye
    Call us on the cell phone
    Tell us all why

    In Dayton, Ohio
    Or Portland, Maine
    Or a cotton gin out on the great high plains
    That’s done closed down along with the school
    And the hospital and the swimming pool
    Dust devils dance in the noonday heat
    There’s rats in the alley
    And trash in the street
    Gang graffiti on a boxcar door
    We can’t make it here anymore

    Music and lyrics © 2004 by James McMurtry

    1. Andrew Roesell Avatar
      Andrew Roesell

      Thanks for sharing, Rowinguy. That is powerful. Sincerely, Andrew

  7. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
    Reed Fawell 3rd

    Great Lyrics, Rowinguy.

    It has been far far worse and, in many many ways, it has never ever been better, or even close to so absolutely grand. Perhaps that’s part of the threat facing us today. And what now feeds into the question of how quick and far and wide will be our fall.

    Sometimes its mostly attitude adjustment. Like what happened going from Carter to Reagan in 1981. But history typically is far more cruel. How quickly so many of us have forgotten that starting since 1945. Given the hole we’re digging for ourselves right now so quick the quicker we wake up to whats going on around us the better off we’ll be, and likely by far. Life can be less forgiving with atomic weapons and awesome technologies rolling around the decks of a ship, particularly one so large and varied as ours.

    That’s my take on what’s been going on now for far too long.

    1. Rowinguy Avatar

      Thanks, its a great song by a terrific performer. I’d say, on average, things are not so bad, but in the rural areas of the country, which is what McMurtry is writing to, things are pretty bad. Loss of community, loss of jobs, loss of young folks getting away–not hard to draw some connections to the rising despair and rates of suicide we’re now seeing.

      Hopefully, now cheaper energy will bring some of that manufacturing back home

      1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
        Reed Fawell 3rd

        Your comment points up a central problem – the two sides of today. And the widening disconnect in between. It’s a reverse of yin and yang.

  8. LarrytheG Avatar

    re: ” Are you asking, how can the US be the shining city upon the hill, a superior OECD civilization, if we don’t have universal health care? If the closest we can come to universal coverage is Obamacare, how can Virginia fail to supplement it with Medicaid expansion?”

    of course not.

    but we’re hard into bizarro world when we essentially say the world is doomed… because the US is … and when one brings up other countries … the talk then zooms to “socialism” .. govt control of health care… yadda yadda yadda…. barf barf…

    then … someone will throw in – ” well the US is not other countries….

    as if we can be doomed but so can other countries – but the problems causing the doom are different.

    but gawd-o’mighty – once you fall off the trolley – apparently the fall is so far and so hard… it’s just damned impossible to recover…

    so of course we are “doomed”..

    many play that game here… some are more clever than others… some run right up to the edge of the chasm but stop – and then claim that of course…they’re not preaching gloom and doom..merely “practicing” cuz the real thing is going to happen… and.. so.. we actually ARE doomed.

    when you drop in that proverbial rat hole – all things great and stupid are possible…

  9. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
    Reed Fawell 3rd

    Actually we are all DOOMED, both individually and collectively.

    It is only a question of time. The interval between now and DOOMSDAY. And whether we find that day as individuals. Or as a collective Doom in one big bang.

    This is not a matter of politics. Nor a matter of political party or ideology. Or one of culture or morals. It’s simply a fact.

    Now, however, we have entered into the realm of the
    Cosmos, including the arena of Faith. The Cosmos is beyond our senses, not our science. Our faith is beyond our senses, and also beyond our science.

    Hence our Faith is eternal, at least as we or our remnants walk this earth. And perhaps our Faith is forever-after, God willing. This if true is our best and greatest hope and belief. I suspect few if any of us are big enough to be certain. It true one walks with Saints.

  10. LifeOnTheFallLine Avatar

    Well, as the full paper shows, it’s not ALL middle aged whites(…

    “The three numbered rows of Table 1 show that the turnaround
    in mortality for white non-Hispanics was driven primarily by increasing
    death rates for those with a high school degree or less.”

    “Those with college education less than a
    BA saw little change in all-cause mortality over this period; those
    with a BA or more education saw death rates fall by 57 per
    100,000. Although all three educational groups saw increases in
    mortality from suicide and poisonings, and an overall increase in
    external cause mortality, increases were largest for those with the
    least education”

    Further proof that being poor in this country really is bad for your health…

  11. Andrew Roesell Avatar
    Andrew Roesell

    Pat Buchanan recognized this creeping immiseration of the American working class in his 1992 “Culture War” speech to the Republican Party Convention that renominated President George H. W. Bush: “My friends, even in tough times, these people are with us. They don’t read Adam Smith or Edmund Burke, but they come from the same schoolyards and playgrounds and towns as we did. They share our beliefs and convictions, our hopes and our dreams. They are the conservatives of the heart. They are our people. And we need to reconnect with them. We need to let them know we know they’re hurting. They don’t expect miracles, but they need to know we care.” The Republican Party Establishment couldn’t care less for them, except to get their votes. Their interests are in diametric opposition and they fraudulently appeal to them with their shallow and often equivocating “sound bites.” Senor Trump is exposing these “false lovers” for what they are: Cheats and scoundrels. But the Democrats are, too: The flipside of “ever greater diversity” through immigration, with the goal of increased Democratic political power, is economic decline of the working class, and social and political turmoil.

    1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
      Reed Fawell 3rd

      Andrew –

      My concern about “Senor Trump” is that he thinks he is a “Strongman.”

      Hence he thinks is destined to rule America in these times of its gross dysfunction, weakness, and travail. In such times Senor Trump knows for certain that he is always and forevermore NUMBER ONE.

      And he knows for sure that all his opponents are Stupid.

      And that they must wilt before his very presence, indeed they are captured and destroyed within his glare.

      This is why “Senor Trump” knows he can work and get along so well with Mr. Putin. They are cut from the same cloth. Senor Trump is certain of it.

      Now there are many kinds of Strongmen and they always rise to the top of failing cultures. Types vary from the malevolent showman (Mussolini) to the most ruthless, competent and insane (Hitler). The list is as long as history. Samples from the 20th century alone – Hitler to Stalin to Mao to Mussolini to Kadafi to Castro to Chavez to Franco, all suitable to different tastes.

      But they all come from the same place, the saviors who bluster their way into a void to rescue a failing and incompetent nation. In such times the people crave the certainty of such Strong Men. But it is all illusion. And they all end badly.

      George Washington gave us the gift to know this. Now we appear to have forgotten that gift.

  12. Andrew Roesell Avatar
    Andrew Roesell

    Dear Reed,

    I see Trump as, well, a rich and rude New Yorker who is fed-up with what our elites KEEP doing to our country, and so, they are not “stupid,” has he says over and over in his “short-hand,” prole kind of way, but privileged, arrogant fools, who are unteachable, and deserving of his upbraids. They are like the “young advisers” to King Rehoboam of Israel who urged him to tell his people: “My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add thereto: my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.” If Trump tries to harm the Constitution the way the last several Presidents have done, then I will oppose him. In the mean, I believe that he is our last, best hope for constructive reform in this country. If he fails, then we are left at the mercy, egad! of the Republican Establishment and their Democratic “frienemies” who are joined at the hip, and who despise our country, its laws, and traditions. Sincerely, Andrew.

  13. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
    Reed Fawell 3rd

    Andrew –

    I do not quibble with the frame you’ve put around the problem at hand.

    But given the evidence at hand supplied by Senor Trumps, I suggest that the grand question is the risk inherent in your proposed ride on this particular horse? Can we not do better?

    Might this horse likely carry us over a hill into a valley far darker, deeper, and more impenetrable than the one we are in and from where we now must start?

    Can you point to a more modern historic precedence here where success ensued. I struggle with that. Oliver Cromwell, perhaps?

    And what are the alternatives? Might others be emerging?

    The new Speaker of the House, perhaps? What’s popped to the top there over the past few days?

    1. Andrew Roesell Avatar
      Andrew Roesell

      Dear Reed,

      I just don’t buy your perception of Trump as a sinister “strong man” in the mold of the baddies of the past you cite. To me, his personality is just as combative and “unusual”, for us, as Ed Koch, the late mayor of New York. They can be “tough cookies” up in the Land of Freedom, Prosperity, and Enlightenment! I think Trump’s approach of combativeness is what is needed. Also, the Republican Establishment hated Goldwater and Reagan both. And Pat Buchanan. They also defeated Mike Farris for Lieutenant Governor in Virginia and others who do not conform to their “the Business of America is (only) Business” model As far as Paul Ryan: He is exactly “more of the same” of the Republican Establishment: Treacherous. I’m sorry, we just don’t agree on what we are seeing now. Maybe I will come around to your position at some point, but for now, I say – the Republican Establishment has to go. It is, and has been for decades, the greatest obstacle to Conservative reform. Sincerely, Andrew

      1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
        Reed Fawell 3rd

        Yes, I must respectfully agree to disagree with you on this issue.

        In my personal view Trumps conduct in this campaign is beyond the pale. Each time I think I see in his words or actions some glimmer of hope that my earlier impressions were perhaps premature, his later public words and actions have never failed to shut the door on that hope. Most recently they included his comments yesterday, or lack of them, regarding Putin. In my opinion, Trump is a world class narcissistic and bully of the first order. His efforts to intimidate others is already infecting the political process.

        That is what I see happening now regarding Trumps style and actions as a candidate for US President.

        Thus I fear the consequences that well might ensue should we arm him with the awesome powers and privileges of the Office of President of the United States.

    2. Reed, in answer to your challenge “Can you point to a more modern historic precedence here where success ensued”, I was struck by Harold Meyerson’s column in the WP today, on this same topic (see

      Meyerson says, “A [close] parallel mght be the increased death rates of Russians, particularly by alcohol, after the collapse of the Soviet Union and its economy — not only because the instrument of death was the same for both the Russians and our white working class, but also because the real cause in each instance was the end of a world that had sustained them.” And he adds, “The rising death rates and the support for Trump are two very different stories about the white working class, but — without in any way equating them — they share some common roots: a sense of abandonment, betrayal and misdirected rage. ”

      Sounds right to me. These are indeed Pat Buchanan’s “conservatives of the heart.” They are angry, and the anger is (in my opinion also) misdirected. Andrew’s comparison of the arrogant attitudes of “our elites” to “the ‘young advisers’ to King Rehoboam of Israel” is extraordinarily apt! But giving voice to that anger by nominating (let alone, electing) the likes of Mr. Trump is no reason to embarrass ourselves on the world stage with, as you put it, a “ride on this particular horse.”

      You do also note in passing that Trump shows, in the context of his comments about Putin, that he “is a world class narcissistic and bully of the first order.” I have to say, it takes one to know one.

      1. Andrew Roesell Avatar
        Andrew Roesell

        Dear Acbar, I agreed with Adam Meyerson’s comparison with Russia before and after the USSR collapsed, though not his Leftism. Also, Iagreed the James McMurtry lyrics posted by Rowinguy. It is our own elites that are doing this to us. Trump is opposed by the elite, I would argue, NOT because of his personality, though they don’t like him, but because he is “Calling Out” the elite and its follies, crimes, and cooperation across party lines in implementing them, and silencing and ignoring opposition to them. For that reason, I am grateful for him running, and the Establishment Republicans’ lack of remorse or repentance is evidence, to me, that his presence is sorely needed. They will have to be dragged kicking and screaming, as it were, to reforming our profoundly dysfunctional polity, economy, and society, which they have profited so handsomely from corrupting and damaging. And people are right to be mad about what they have done. Sincerely, Andrew

      2. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
        Reed Fawell 3rd

        Acbar –

        I agree totally with harold Meyerson’s quote. And I agree totally with your characterization of it in your paragraph that follows it.

        I also believe that the roots of Trumps popularity are justified, and need to be strongly addressed. He has done a great service in high lighting and empowering their chance of solution. We need a leader of Trumps forcefulness but I believe that his character is fatally flawed to lead this nation as stated. Obviously that is one person’s subjective opinion. Hence it might well be wrong as so many are.

        As regards your comment that “You do also note in passing that Trump shows, in the context of his comments about Putin, that he “is a world class narcissistic and bully of the first order.” I have to say, it takes one to know one.”

        Just as my opinion be wrong (or right), so might your opinion regarding me be wrong or right. Whichever be the case, it does not change my impression of you based on your comments on this website. I think they our outstanding in every respect. Hence my great respect for you.

        You are right. I should have checked out Andrew’s comparison of the arrogant attitudes of “our elites” to “the ‘young advisers’ to King Rehoboam of Israel” that you call extraordinarily apt! Andrew is one of the smartest guy’s I’ve come across. If he and you agree on the aptness of a story to an issue, surely it is worth anybody digging into.

        1. Andrew Roesell Avatar
          Andrew Roesell

          Here is a further discussion of the Soviet and American parallels:

        2. Goodness! You said, “Just as my opinion be wrong (or right), so might your opinion regarding me be wrong or right.” No, no, “it takes one to know one” referred solely to The Trump — who in my opinion is indeed the horse[‘s ass] we should not ride, but would have one advantage over the rest of the Republican field in dealing with Mr. Putin: they are both bullies, and profoundly narcissists, and each knows instinctively how one deals with other poseurs, which our current President clearly does not. As you said, “This is why “Senor Trump” knows he can work and get along so well with Mr. Putin. They are cut from the same cloth. Senor Trump is certain of it.” Would I trust managing the economy to Trump? No, I fear he would bring us to that state of affairs so nicely summed up in McMurtry’s lyrics:
          “The bar’s still open but man it’s slow
          The tip jar’s light and the register’s low
          The bartender don’t have much to say
          The regular crowd gets thinner each day.”
          . . . Which requires an observation on Andrew’s point: “It is our own elites that are doing this to us. Trump is opposed by the elite, I would argue, NOT because of his personality, though they don’t like him, but because he is “Calling Out” the elite and its follies, crimes, and cooperation across party lines in implementing them, and silencing and ignoring opposition to them.” Yes, there is arrogance on all sides in the political arena today. Yes, the political elite don’t know how to deal with a guy like Trump, any more than Ross Perot, when they “call out the elite” for losing touch with their base, those “conservatives of the heart” (good phrase!). But I balk at Andrew’s disparaging “cooperation across party lines.” We seem to have forgotten how to govern through compromise and I do not fear the consequences of trying to do so; I do fear the consequences of refusing to do so.

          1. Andrew Roesell Avatar
            Andrew Roesell

            Dear Acbar, Both parties contain positive elements, but they are locked in union with other, extremely unhealthy elements. The Democrats have overturned the rule of law and now HATE America and Christian morality, while the Republican Establishment, on the other hand, has been taken over by outsource and immigration “happy” global corporations and NeoConservative warmongers. We need a national, pan-racial, Conservative Party, that does not antagonize any racial or class groups, the Christian faith and morality, and that puts American economic interests first, and does not go in search of wars to fight, or foment. But no cooperation beyond elementary things until the Democrats first reject the Marxists who have destroyed their party as a truly national party by their fanning hatred and quiet undermining of Christianity and whites. The Democrats are addicted to race-baiting to shore up their “base,” hence the unending flow of specious, even libelous, racially-charged “news items.” Both of the major parties are seriously deficient. One is morally, culturally, and legally rapacious, while the other, though paying lip-service to “family values” is economically and environmentally rapacious. Both parties cooperate to smother any criticism of immigration, and thanks to Trump, it is being aired, at last. Unhappy times these are. But Trump seems to be trying to pull together the positive elements within both parties while banishing the negative ones. Sincerely, Andrew

          2. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
            Reed Fawell 3rd

            Glad that’s the case.

            I also agree with your comments on elites.

            To put it plainly I believe the Republican elites are “screwing” middle class whites just as Democrats screw poor black people and are trying to do the same to women, esp. young women.

            Hence both Parties are pandering the darker angels of their base. Trying to hook those groups into voting blocks driven by fear, resentment, anger and a sense of victim hood and entitlement.

            Hence too both parties deploy the same tools – demagoguery and bribery.

            It is designed to mold public opinion within these impressionable groups. So as to shift them into blaming their plight onto “EVIL OTHERS, White Men, Wall Street or the Opposition Party etc.

            Simultaneously they sell victim-hood like Dope, hoping to entrap whole groups of these “supporters” into a narcotic haze of dependence, as Putin does with Vodka in bad times.

            Simultaneous, both parties ignore the real problems of these groups so as to pursue their own personal self interests as elites, selling public policy and favor for money, status, pleasure and votes, and whatever else they might crave or desire at any given time.

            Harsh as this sounds I believe this is largely true. And that the many within these elites who are now doing it do not fully or even partially realize the harm they cause others outside themselves.

            This happen when systems and values become deeply corrupted by long term bad habits that grow to be ingrained deep into cultures by reason of the “fact or perception that everybody does it. The Success of the Group and System then depends on it, the Corruption.”

            However corrupt the light of virtue never goes out. Eventually the pendulum swings back the other way. Unfortunately however the light in the meantime can mostly go out for generations. This was a huge problem after the Civil War through the gilded Age. It really did not get fixed until WW II. It took this horrible event to forge us into a Golden Age, that now so many of us seem to be working so hard to toss away.

            Back to the plight of the poor and middle classes, including white males as well as blacks. Meyerson is right on target. I see it most sharply when out of DC, on the Eastern Shore, though I suspect that that is far more prevalent than I can ever know.

            My respect for all these folks is huge. We all need do our part to set things right. Demand it. But Trump is a symptom of the problem but he is not the Answer to it as the President of the US.

            I wrote an article on this subject this morning but posted it today under wrong article. It can be found at;


  14. LarrytheG Avatar

    re: looking at life expectancy by economic status:

    ” Income Gap, Meet the Longevity Gap”

    ” Fairfax County, Va., and McDowell County, W.Va., are separated by 350 miles, about a half-day’s drive. Traveling west from Fairfax County, the gated communities and bland architecture of military contractors give way to exurbs, then to farmland and eventually to McDowell’s coal mines and the forested slopes of the Appalachians. Perhaps the greatest distance between the two counties is this: Fairfax is a place of the haves, and McDowell of the have-nots. Just outside of Washington, fat government contracts and a growing technology sector buoy the median household income in Fairfax County up to $107,000, one of the highest in the nation. McDowell, with the decline of coal, has little in the way of industry. Unemployment is high. Drug abuse is rampant. Median household income is about one-fifth that of Fairfax.

    One of the starkest consequences of that divide is seen in the life expectancies of the people there. Residents of Fairfax County are among the longest-lived in the country: Men have an average life expectancy of 82 years and women, 85, about the same as in Sweden. In McDowell, the averages are 64 and 73, about the same as in Iraq.”

    re: “doomed”

    yes… we’re all gonna die… and everything before that is irrelevant… but it does provide an excellent and rich opportunity to bather ad infinitum about “bad” govt… and the heaven-like wonderfulness of the “free market”.

  15. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
    Reed Fawell 3rd

    Earlier I wrote the article and posted it today under wrong article found at;

    So I am posting it here under the right article.

    Variant tactics of the Leviathan State.

    The BOA tactics –

    – Seek, find and encircle, then squeeze to control and gain succor.

    The Pistil Pedal Tactics –

    – Attract, entertain, and transact.

    Delaware is a small state, resource poor, one easy to avoid. It deploys Pistil Pedal Tactics. Maryland is a larger state centrally located. It deploys BOA tactics. For cultural and geographic reasons Virginia is in between.

    Hence Virginia Sales tax varies from 4.3% to 6% depending on locality.

    Maryland’s Sales tax is 6%. This is the result of Gov. Martin O’Malley pushing through the largest tax increase in Maryland history in 2008.

    Delaware’s sales tax is zero (0%).


    Lets drive the Delmarva Peninsula via Route 13. We’ll go from the Virginia Capes at the mouth of the Chesapeake to Newark Delaware just south of Wilmington Delaware. Route 13 use to be a Blue Highway, magical. The road passed through ocean capes and seascapes, inlets and tidal rivers, bay waters and marshes, all laced into loam rich farmlands speckled with rock solid historic towns, flanked by the Atlantic and Chesapeake.

    These bountiful God gifted places were called the Land Of Pleasant Living. Places blessed with historic churches and courthouses and homes – brick and clapboard – amid farm lands owned by families for generations or clustered round town squares and circles going back generations too, often to times that were long before the American Revolution.

    James Michener, always entranced by places like these the world over, wrote about this place in the 1970s, called his book Chesapeake. Rivers and inlets with beautiful swimmers laced these timeless places and still do to this day too. And it’s still a Land Of Pleasant living in many of these places still.

    But if James Michener joined us for our trip up Route 13 today I suspect he’d be very surprised. Today’s scene out the car window along Route 13 is startling different from his time. Too many places outside that car window today are dying. Their history. Their farms. Their villages and towns. Their families. Their communities, their prosperity, their health, are dying.

    The dying is going on in many different ways, for many different reasons.

    But growth is not the reason for the dying. Nor is change. Nor are the migrations. But things are sick and dying nevertheless, in many places. But most particularly in Maryland. There you can see it most plainly out the window when passing by the farmlands and through the towns. The decay and building of a nowhere place going today, but with a cruel twist.

    Most particularly you see it in the border lands of Maryland east of Rt. 13.

    But old Rt. 13 has died too, and so is new Rt. 13 dying but differently now. It’s a no where place. A busy busy busy place going no where really. A no where place that is sucking the life, health, and vitality from most everything around it.

    Google Federalsburg, Maryland. Check its demographics on Wikipedia. Check the Map – see how Route 13 in Delaware parallels the Maryland line from more that a 100 mile going north to Newark. There, far out in the country on that country road, you can shop for furniture all day in a single outlet store. That store is more than 180, 000 square feet. That is four acres of store on a country road that is sucking the life, wealth and health out of families and most everyone else trying to live and thrive in Frederalsburg, Md.

    Sale tax at zero versus 6%. The Md. code says Maryland residents pay Md. sale tax on stuff brought out of state if that stuff bought out of state is used in Maryland. Oh really. If that works for all involved in Maryland it sure don’t look like it out the window. No, Maryland looks to be dying out there instead.

    Meanwhile, like the old saying goes: the rich get richer, the poor get poorer. And now apparently not only are the poor getting poorer they are also getting sicker, in body and spirit. You can see it out the car window.

    1. Andrew Roesell Avatar
      Andrew Roesell

      Interesting and sad, Reed. Thanks for sharing. Sincerely, Andrew

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