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Rich People Live Longer. Leftists Are Shocked. Shocked!

Written by Gary North on March 12, 2013

Gary North’s Reality Check

The best way to send a leftist into apoplexy is to show that rich people have some advantage that poor people don’t. “Unfair! Unfair! The government must do something about this!”

Rich people in the United States have longer life expectancies than poor people do. This information has been available for decades. But when the latest study showed that the gap is increasing, The Washington Post got onto this story fast.


The Post looked at two counties in Florida. One had higher income. Its residents live longer.

In St. Johns County, which is a “beachfront” county, incomes are twice as high as incomes in inland Putnam County. So are housing prices. Life expectancy has risen to 83 for women, 78 for men. (Unfair! Unfair! The government must do something. But what? How about executing women when they reach 78? That might cause women to move, so the law would have to be imposed nationally.)

In Putnam, women die at 78. Men die at 71.

The widening gap in life expectancy between these two adjacent Florida counties reflects perhaps the starkest outcome of the nation’s growing economic inequality: Even as the nation’s life expectancy has marched steadily upward, reaching 78.5 years in 2009, a growing body of research shows that those gains are going mostly to those at the upper end of the income ladder.

This is cause and effect in Leftieland: money buys years. Ignored is this possibility: moral lifestyles vary, and healthier life styles produce people who live longer and who make more money. For example, what about the possibility that poor people smoke more than rich people do? The article mentioned this, but only late. What about the possibility that poor people eat more junk food? Sorry, not covered. How about divorce rates? Not covered.

The tightening economic connection to longevity has profound implications for the simmering debate about trimming the nation’s entitlement programs. Citing rising life expectancy, influential voices including the Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction commission, the Business Roundtable and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have argued that it makes sense to raise the eligibility age for Social Security and Medicare.

Medicare and Social Security are going bankrupt. The two systems are the bulk of the discrepancy between the present value of the shortfall between expected revenues and expected outflow: $222 trillion. Irrelevant, say Leftists. There ought to be a law against this fiscal discrepancy. The government must immediately take $222 trillion from the rich and invest it wisely. That should be easy enough.

“People who are shorter-lived tend to make less, which means that if you raise the retirement age, low-income populations would be subsidizing the lives of higher-income people,” said Maya Rockeymoore, president and chief executive of Global Policy Solutions, a public policy consultancy. “Whenever I hear a policymaker say people are living longer as a justification for raising the retirement age, I immediately think they don’t understand the research or, worse, they are willfully ignoring what the data say.”

Ms. Rockeymoore did not mention that poor people pay less money into Social Security and Medicare than rich people do. That is the sort of statistic that people like Ms. Rockeymoore do not think is relevant.

(For the rest of my article, click the link.)

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8 thoughts on “Rich People Live Longer. Leftists Are Shocked. Shocked!

  1. It reminds me of the hassle over SUV's. I came up with a solution: It's called "The Fair Bag." The Fair Bag is installed in all SUV's. It contains a capsule full of glass shards, metal fragments and poisonous powder. The idea is when an SUV is in an accident with a smaller vehicle, the bag deploys. Chances are the SUV driver will get hurt as bad as the small car driver. Thus the Fair Bag!

  2. Rikkisan says:

    LOL! Great idea!

  3. moresheet says:

    Medicare vs Medicaid
    a small suffix separates the two major health care programs run by the federal and state governments, but their relative political, budgetary, and equity considerations are miles apart. When Obama lumps “entitlements” together, he inevitably means Medicare and Social Security. But the entitlements that need reining in are neither of these; they are Medicaid, food stamps, disability, subsidized housing, and welfare.

    Republicans, from Congressman Paul Ryan on down, must take aim at the means tested entitlements and leave the Democrats to propose cuts in Social Security or Medicare.

    Last year, Medicaid costs rose by 12.3%. Spending on food stamps has risen 135% over the past four years. Disability rolls are up by 50% since 2003. These are the programs that must be reined in. By contrast, the growth in Medicare and Social Security has been less than 10%.

  4. I saw an AARP article that suggested SS was a good deal – yeah, right – a good deal if you never paid into it. However, I paid the max almost every year for forty years – depositing an equal amount of contributions into a plain ol savings account for those years, instead of directing it to a government agency, would have yielded over a million dollars. Instead, I get less than 2K a month. When I retired, I could have had at least 3K a month and never touch the principal. Why did this happen? LBJ made SS part of the general fund. That meant politcians could use it as their piggy bank to buy votes. Now they say it's broke after they stole the money. The government makes Bernie Madoff look like a petty thief.

  5. I think if the government had a hS course on how to prepare for retirement. investments, savings etc etc it would save money. Make a cap on who can get SS even if they have paid into it. It is supposed to be insurance not a pension.

  6. “Make a cap on who can get SS even if they have paid into it. It is supposed to be insurance not a pension.” Really? Insurance? Then why do you want to put a cap on who gets it?
    Or is it that you want to simply decide who gets “insured” and who doesn’t, even if they paid the “premiums”? Let’s say I offer you “insurance” but tell you “well, I’ll decide later, based on what you’re making, or what you own, or how responsible you were at saving money for yourself, if you get a payout (or a “return of premium” if you like). Oh!And the more responsible you were in generating savings the lower the probability I’ll decide to give you any money at the end. But right now, just pay up.”
    Or maybe I could say “hey, I’ll sell you this fire insurance, but if your house burns down, I’ll decide later if I’ll pay you for it or not, depending on what you have at the time.”
    Basic question: would you buy that “insurance” from me? If you would, many would consider you a fool.
    But this is what you are proposing (well, no.. really, this is what you want to FORCE people to do. Why is it that all these simple, quick and WRONG “solutions” you people come up with are always based on FORCING somebody else to do your will? I really don’t get the power-hungry megalomania thing.)
    NOW – if you were to say that people could CHOOSE on whether they want to buy that “policy” or not, THEN maybe you might have something worth looking at (I’m not saying it would be financially succesful – it would be worth looking at to subsequently reject). But under the current system, where you are FORCED to pay into this crap package under threat of loosing your liberty? Give me a break!
    Maybe you’ll put some thought into this and realize that what you are saying makes no sense.

  7. G. Kuhns says:

    When is the EPA going to figure out that wealthier is healthier; and the economy is a vital part of the human environment? Perhaps we need an Economic Protection Agency to insulate us from the existing EPA.

  8. Seymour Kleerly says:

    That SUV. hassle also was about the US. making more GAS GUZZLERS. Naturally the "Free Market" greed merchants of the Right fought and won that fight. Unfortuneately, America lost.