The Working-Class Meltdown

The Working-Class Meltdown, by Rick Lowry. Self-destructive behaviors are increasingly killing less-educated whites:

[T]he United States is experiencing a health cataclysm. …

[L]ife expectancy for white women declined slightly from 2013 to 2014. Other studies indicate rising death rates for a white working class that is in a slow-motion economic and social meltdown. Self-destructive behaviors are outpacing medical advances against killers like heart disease and cancer. Hopelessness may not be a condition studied by epidemiologists, but it is cutting a swath through a segment of white America. …

The slide in the wrong direction was driven by drug and alcohol poisoning, chronic liver diseases, and suicide. …

The trend among whites breaks down neatly by levels of education. The mortality rate for middle-aged whites with a high-school degree or less has jumped since 1999; the rate for middle-aged whites with some college but not a degree stayed roughly flat; the rate for middle-aged whites with a college degree or more dropped. If there is such a thing as white privilege, no one has told less-educated whites.

Suicides are up:

The most direct indicator of rising distress is that the suicide rate in the United States is at a roughly 30-year high … the rate increased for white middle-aged women by 80 percent from 1999–2014.

Why?

The white working class is dying from the effects of a long-running alienation from the mainstream of American life.

As one researcher told the Times, “they are not in stable relationships, they don’t have jobs, they have children they can’t feed and clothe, and they have no support network.” It is a formula for loneliness, stress, and despair.

The Democrats demonize them and sneer at them. Establishment Republicans mainly ignore them. Trump is the first politician to look out for them in decades.