Way Off Topic: Wealth, Lifespan, and Taxes

By Paul Yeager, author of Literally, the Best Language Book Ever

Warning: I’ve done my share of off-topic posts on the blog, but this one is more off-topic than most, so I’ve included this warning:  Don’t blame me if the following offends your political sensibilities!

Politics is People

We often talk about politics in the United States as if it’s some sort of us-versus-them game, and that’s certainly been the case this week with the heated debate about taxes. Games though, don’t affect people’s lives, and politics is how we determine what kind of society we’re going to have.

Whether you’re a Republican, Democrat, or Independent, anyone making a reasonable analysis of the tax “compromise” will conclude that it’s much more advantageous to the rich than the middle class or the poor.

The argument can be made–and has been made for the past 30 years–that tax advantages for the rich is the best way to result in widespread wealth, but since the disparity between the rich and poor has grown during that time, it’s a shallow philosophical argument.

Wealth and Life Expectancy

The richer a country is, the higher the life expectancy is of its citizens. Also, the richer a segment of the population of a country is, the higher the life expectancy of that segment is versus the rest of the population.

An AOL article, After Inching Up for Years, Life Expectancy Drops Slightly, notes that for the first time in the history of the United States, the life expectancy of children might be less than that of their parents.

Perhaps the only reason is obesity, which was the focus of the article. I doubt that, but even if that were true, we can expect the trend of decreasing life expectancy–at least when compared to nations with less wealth disparity–to continue based on our current political decisions.

Politics is no game.

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