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Airport Service Workers Campaign for Better Conditions

As travel rebounds after the pandemic, people who clean planes, move bags, and more are trying to build support for federal legislation.



As travel rebounds after the pandemic, people who clean planes, move bags, and more are trying to build support for federal legislation.

Airport service workers conducted a day of action on December 8, at 15 major airports trying to gain support for legislation that would set minimum wages and workplace conditions. 

Rallies, marches and other public activities were planned at airports that collectively control 45% of all U.S. domestic air travel and 65% of all U.S. travel through major hubs.

Workers who clean planes, handle baggage, handle security and janitorial services and assist wheelchair passengers are calling on Congress to pass the Good Jobs for Good Airports Act, which was introduced by Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass.) over the summer, and which requires any airport that receives federal project grants to pay their service workers a minimum of $15, or must match the area's prevailing wage and stronger benefits. 

“Airport service workers are vital to keeping our world connected, our airports running, and passengers safe," said Mary Kay Henry, President of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) in a statement. “Congress must back their demands and pass the Good Jobs for Good Airports Act, ensuring every airport worker across race, background and ZIP code can build a brighter future for their family,” 

Pakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty

The move comes as the airline industry has been increasingly affected by worker shortages.

Many pilots either took buyouts or retired early during the pandemic, and the industry has struggled to recruit and train a new generation of pilots. This had led to a marked increase in flight delays and cancellations, and a corresponding increase in frustrated, irate (and sometimes violent) customers, which has made life difficult for airline attendants and other people employed by the industry.

Companies like American Airlines are working to solve the pilot shortage, even as the CEO admits the industry won’t return to pre-pandemic levels until late next year. Earlier this year, Southwest employees began holding public rallies to draw attention to their claim that the new management is undermining the company’s reputation for first-class customer service by paying themselves bonuses instead of investing in employees.

This has been an eventful few weeks for worker demonstrations, as President Joe Biden recently signed a bill preventing a railroad strike, while members of the New York Times union held a one-day strike on the same day as the airport workers.

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DeSantis Draws Red Line On Gaza Refugees, GOP Field Follows Suit (Except Nikki Haley)

DeSantis Draws Red Line On Gaza Refugees, GOP Field Follows Suit (Except Nikki Haley)

Authored by Philip Wegmann via RealClear Politics,




DeSantis Draws Red Line On Gaza Refugees, GOP Field Follows Suit (Except Nikki Haley)

Authored by Philip Wegmann via RealClear Politics,

Just three days: That’s how long it took for Republicans to adopt a new orthodoxy on how the Biden administration should respond to Palestinian refugees fleeing the violence in Gaza.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis went first.

“I don’t know what Biden’s going to do, but we cannot accept people from Gaza into this country as refugees,” DeSantis said in Iowa on Saturday, establishing a red line that the other frontrunners for the Republican presidential nomination would soon adopt.

As many as 2 million civilians are without food, water, and shelter in Gaza as Israel prepares to invade the densely populated region in response to a deadly Hamas terrorist attack earlier this month. While the White House has backed Israel from the start, the administration has also pressed powers in the region to open a humanitarian corridor to escape the bloodshed.

The final destination of those refugees, Republicans now say, should not be the United States. But they did not slam the door in unison. In a split screen on Sunday, DeSantis and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley seemed to differ sharply on how the United States ought to respond.

Former President Trump, meanwhile, remained silent.

DeSantis reiterated his red line on refugees during an interview with “Face the Nation,” telling Margaret Brennan of CBS that “those Gaza refugees, Palestinian Arabs, should go to Arab countries. The U.S. should not be absorbing any of those.” And he reiterated his warning that, while “not everyone is a member of Hamas,” the culture in Gaza is so “toxic” that welcoming large numbers of refugees “would increase antisemitism” and “anti-Americanism” in the United States.

Haley rejected that broad characterization during a CNN interview Sunday, telling Jake Tapper that a large portion of Palestinians bristle under Hamas in Gaza.

“There are so many of these people who want to be free from this terrorist rule. They want to be free from all of that,” she said before adding that Americans have always been sympathetic to the idea “that you can separate civilians from terrorists.”

The former ambassador also called on Middle Eastern countries to step up and provide for Palestinians desperate to avoid the crossfire.

“Where are the Arab countries? Where are they?” Haley asked.

“Where is Qatar? Where is Lebanon? Where is Jordan? Where is Egypt? Do you know we give Egypt over a billion dollars a year? Why aren’t they opening the gates? Why aren’t they taking the Palestinians?”

When asked specifically if Haley believed that the United States should welcome refugees fleeing the crisis, a spokesman for Haley told RealClearPolitics on Monday that the ambassador “opposes the U.S. taking in Gazans” and that Haley believes “Hamas-supporting countries like Iran, Qatar, and Turkey should take any refugees.”

As poll numbers tighten in the race to be positioned as Trump’s possible, supporters of the Florida governor seized on that statement as evidence Haley had flip-flopped on the question. Hours later, when Trump said in Iowa that “we aren’t bringing in anyone from Gaza,” the DeSantis campaign suggested that the former president was plagiarizing DeSantis.

“Trump literally needs a teleprompter in order to finally catch up with a position DeSantis took three days ago on Gaza refugees,” DeSantis spokesman Andrew Romeo told RCP.

During a campaign stop in Iowa, Trump promised to update and enforce his travel ban to include anyone from Gaza. He went further, vowing to deny entry into the United States to anyone who adhered to “anti-American” ideologies. “If you empathize with radical Islamic terrorists and extremists, you’re disqualified,” he said. “If you want to abolish the state of Israel, you’re disqualified.”

Trump allies are fond of accusing DeSantis of copying and pasting the former president whenever the governor espouses policies adopted during the previous administration. This time, DeSantis supporters argue it is the other way around.

Ken Cuccinelli, who served as Trump’s deputy Homeland Security secretary, told RCP that DeSantis had become “the standard-bearer for standing with Israel and protecting American citizens.”

An immigration hawk and chairman of the pro-DeSantis super PAC, Never Back Down, Cuccinelli said that DeSantis “took the position to ban importing Gaza’s population without hesitation while everyone else is now following his lead.”

First-time candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, who is mired in fourth place in the polls, also added his voice to the emerging chorus of GOP voices. “Vivek would not allow refugees from Gaza into the U.S.,” a Ramaswamy spokeswoman told RCP. Instead, the businessman would look to help facilitate “their emigration to other countries, but this is not an issue where we should risk U.S. security or trade off the well-being of Americans here in the homeland.”

Support for Israel in the wake of the Hamas attack has been bipartisan and immediate. Conservative consensus on the refugee question took time to evolve.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal on Sunday, Jonathan Schanzer, a former terrorism analyst for the Treasury Department and a senior vice president at the Foundation for the Defense for Democracies, argued that the responsibility for sheltering refugees should fall on “Hamas’ enablers,” such as Iran, Turkey, and Qatar.

Some Democrats, like New York Rep. Jamaal Bowman, have called on the Biden administration to welcome refugees. “Fifty percent of the population in Gaza are children. The international community as well as the United States should be prepared to welcome refugees from Palestine while being very careful to vet and not allow members of Hamas,” the progressive “Squad” member said.

Populist conservatives such as political operative Ryan James Girdusky condemned that idea over the weekend and see the Republican rejection of those calls as part of a larger GOP evolution.

For decades, Republicans have been begging politicians to pump the breaks on immigration, but refugees especially,” Girdusky told RCP before arguing that welcoming refugees from Gaza would be tantamount to “importing antisemitism and intolerance.”

“Their ideology does not change because they cross national borders. That’s not to mention the genuine fear that terrorists can enter as refugees, which has happened a few times in the past,” the author of the National Populist Newsletter added. “Republican candidates who want to expand refugee status to Palestinians are out of touch with their voters.”

The conflict in the Middle East comes at a moment when Republicans are increasingly divided on the role the United States ought to take on the world stage. And while there is widespread support for Israel among the GOP, many in the 2024 field have grown critical of military aid for Ukraine. Former Vice President Mike Pence said over the weekend that when you have “leaders in the Republican Party signaling retreat on the world stage,” enemies are more likely to attack U.S. allies.

He pointed specifically at “voices of appeasement like Donald Trump, Vivek Ramaswamy, and Ron DeSantis that I believe have run contrary to the tradition in our party that America is the leader of the free world.”

For his part, DeSantis ended the weekend at Tampa International Airport. The governor signed an executive order earlier last week directing Florida’s Department of Emergency Management to begin logistical and evacuation efforts of Floridians stuck in Israel after commercial airlines began canceling flights, leaving U.S. citizens stranded in the region. On Sunday evening, nearly 300 Americans returned stateside on a jetliner chartered by the state of Florida with more scheduled in the coming days.

I am proud of how quickly we have been able to activate resources and do what the federal government could not – get Floridians and other Americans back home,” the governor said in a statement.

Tyler Durden Tue, 10/17/2023 - 20:05

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Green Movement Still Steamrolling Rational Resistance To Climate Chicanery

Green Movement Still Steamrolling Rational Resistance To Climate Chicanery

Authored by James Varney via RealClear Wire,

After years as a…



Green Movement Still Steamrolling Rational Resistance To Climate Chicanery

Authored by James Varney via RealClear Wire,

After years as a federal agent helping the Drug Enforcement Administration hunt drug lords across Central Asia, and years more teaching in Maryland classrooms, Robin Shaffer anticipated a quiet retirement watching the deep swells roll across the Atlantic and crash on to the broad Jersey Shore.

Instead, he finds himself embroiled in a fight. As a leader of a grassroots group, Protect Our Coast NJ, Shaffer, 53, is taking on an international company and politicians in Trenton backing Ocean Wind 1, a $10 billion proposal to line the Jersey Shore with 98 wind turbines whose 722-foot propeller whirls would dwarf the Washington Monument and Statue of Liberty.

It’s been an uphill battle, with the group “taking in nickels and dimes” and “selling T-shirts and magnets.” The local press seems indifferent to their cause, he said, noting that no outlets covered a public meeting he held at a pub, perhaps fittingly, with “Cheers” and "Frasier" actor Kelsey Grammer, one of Hollywood’s few prominent conservatives.

“There’s this argument made that we must be bought off, sort of, ‘Why fight the Green Revolution? Don’t you care about the environment?’” Shaffer said. “But we don’t have any corporate sponsors or major funding. It’s very much a David vs. Goliath kind of thing.”

Protect Our Coast NJ, an all-volunteer outfit with a budget of less than $100,000, is one example of an overwhelming disparity that has emerged in the debate over the aggressive push for renewable energy in response to what President Biden calls the “existential threat” of climate change. While once upon a time there may have been scrappy environmentalists combating the corporate might of Big Oil, major fossil fuel producers and conservative philanthropies provide little supporting research challenging climate change, Shaffer and other people interviewed for this article said. As a result, the money and the muscle and the lawyers are now aligned with what they call Big Green.

Government largesse, shot into the stratosphere by hundreds of taxpayer billions President Biden shoveled to green energy companies and backers through the Inflation Reduction Act, is just the crest of this wave of momentum on behalf of a “climate emergency.”

Powering the apparent juggernaut are philanthropists who have donated billions, corporate sponsors of environmental groups that look like a who’s who of Wall Street and Silicon Valley, attorneys at white-shoe firms and Ivy League law schools, prosecutors paid privately but operating under a district attorney’s umbrella, along with media and academics who hammer the narrative home.

“This whole movement is pushed by a small but very powerful elite that controls Washington and the media, but not the way your average American thinks,” said William Happer, an emeritus physics professor at Princeton University who founded the CO2 Coalition in 2015 to advance the argument that global warming is not an existential threat.

“You think, ‘What can you do?’” Happer said. “They have the media under control, they have politicians, professional and scientific groups and publications are controlled by them, and it’s all driven by money.”

The corporate sponsors of the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), for instance, include titans of tech and private enterprise such as Amazon, Google, Goldman Sachs, BlackRock, Meta and others. Google is also working with the Sierra Club, while the Environmental Defense Fund lists General Electric and DuPont as allies on its website.

Liberal billionaire Michael Bloomberg pledged another $500 million to kill the coal industry in September, a massive injection of cash that brings to more than $1 billion the amount he has committed to his Beyond Carbon launched in 2019. Another $1.1 billion was pledged by liberal venture capitalist John Doerr to build a climate change school at Stanford University, and Tom Steyer, like Bloomberg a former Democrat presidential candidate, has put millions of his billions behind similar global warming initiatives.

Shaffer said Protect Our Coast is hiring attorneys he hopes “will do a good job,” but powerful lawyers are already aligned with the “climate emergency” camp. Since 2009 Columbia University Law School has had a Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, while the venerable New York firm of Shearman & Sterling, with 850 attorneys, is partnered with ACORE.

Whether Shearman & Sterling offers ACORE anything beyond financial backing is unclear; neither responded to a request for comment from RealClearInvestigations. Michael Gerrard, director of the Sabin Center, says its attorneys do not see themselves as activists working on behalf of environmentalists but rather partners in the push for a renewable energy future.

“The Sabin Center conducts legal analysis and supports strong action on climate change,” Gerrard said. “The Sabin Center does not file lawsuits, but it often files amicus briefs and comment letters.”

In all cases, he noted, the center is “in support of such [renewable energy] facilities, and opposing those who are against such facilities – typically municipalities, and sometimes NIMBY groups.”

A Who's Who of Wall Street and Silicon Valley

The David vs. Goliath dynamic is compounded by government funding. Academic grants, scientific funding, and now, through the Inflation Reduction Act, U.S. taxpayer money for the environment go almost exclusively to what advocates characterize as green energy projects. Ultimately, the Inflation Reduction Act, which supporters predicted would cost taxpayers $391 billion, will likely cost some $1.2 trillion, according to an analysis by Goldman Sachs.  

Just how much the U.S. government spends on global warming research is nearly impossible to calculate, since money comes from so many different departments. The Government Accounting Office, which conducts research at the behest of members of Congress, has not looked at the subject since 2018, when it calculated the cost had been $13.2 billion in the previous decade. 

That money flows almost exclusively to those who support the climate emergency argument. 

"It's real. If you were to submit a proposal to the federal government – whether it's NSF, NOAA or NASA – that was challenging the narrative, you would not have much chance at all of getting funded,” said former Obama energy official Steven Koonin, a theoretical physicist and engineering professor at New York University. “Whereas if you wrote a proposal that supported the narrative, you're in." 

RCI sought comment from all three of the federal agencies Koonin mentioned. Only NASA acknowledged receipt of the questions; none has responded.

Judith Curry, a prominent skeptic of apocalyptic warnings regarding climate change and a former professor at Georgia Tech, looked at academe’s politicization and dependence on government financing in her book, “Climate Uncertainty and Risk.”

“Power politics by activist scientists to advance a clear political agenda has inflamed and polarized the climate change debate within the community of climate scientists,” Curry told RCI. “Calls for proposals from the federal funding agencies implicitly assume the dominance of human-caused global warming. Hence scientists have little motivation to work on anything else. The end result is research that analyzes the results of climate model simulations to infer dire societal consequences.”

Tarred as Shills for Big Oil

Despite the disparity in funding and resources, climate emergency skeptics are often dismissed as shills for energy companies. Yet the CO2 Coalition, for example, includes Happer, a member of the National Academy of Science; John Clausen, who won the 2022 Nobel Prize in Physics; and Patrick Moore, a co-founder and former director of Greenpeace.

A cursory web search on the Coalition turns up multiple stories of how it once received $1 million from ExxonMobil and articles about Happer’s brief stint with the Trump administration, all couched in language suggesting the Coalition’s work is biased.

Regardless of where the grant originated, $1 million is a paltry sum in the context of global warming largesse. In September alone those pushing the idea that global warming presents an existential threat stood to get 2,000 times that amount just from Bloomberg and a pledge from the liberal Rockefeller Foundation to spend $1 billion “to advance climate solutions.” Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and owner of The Washington Post, has pledged up to $10 billion for his Earth Fund.

In addition, the big energy companies appear to have largely stopped funding research challenging the climate emergency narrative, in some cases bending to the prevailing winds – or solar rays or what have you – of political expediency.

“Where is this oil money people talk about? I wish I could get some,” said Anthony Watts, who runs the Watts Up With That website. “ExxonMobil hasn’t the faintest idea who I am. The notion energy company money has corrupted any of the findings that run counter to the approved narrative on global warming is a fallacy designed to support the tribalism in the field.”

RCI reached out to numerous major energy companies. ExxonMobil asked for specific questions, which a spokeswoman did not answer, and the others did not respond.

Watts has run his site, which dubs itself “the world’s most viewed site on global warming and climate change,” since 2006. In that time, the issue of global warming has gone from a computer model theory to “settled science” to a “climate emergency,” and the money and power has grown accordingly, he said.

“I thought, when I started, if I demonstrated biases in the temperature readings – significant biases – there would be a correction, because it’s science, there would be this ‘we got this wrong, let’s fix this,’ thinking,” he said. “But it has morphed from its infancy of studying numbers and data to some big business conglomerate.”

Watts has experienced firsthand how social media helps frame global warming as a looming catastrophe. Despite his site’s viewership, he says, it was “demonetized” by WordAds, which enables ads to be run on WordPress websites. There was no specific post cited for violating any terms, according to Watts, but WordPress notified him the fees would no longer be collected after Google announced “they were removing ad services from all climate skeptic cites.”

Wildly Inflated Numbers

Similar institutional moves, along with the marked funding disparities, have largely muffled the arguments made by those who disagree with the “climate emergency” conclusion.

“The truth is, we are essentially a grassroots movement of people who don’t believe a crisis exists, certainly not one worth destroying the economy of the world,” he said.

The uneven playing field marks a change. Almost a decade ago, progressives such as New Yorker writer Jane Mayer – author of “Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right” – were warning of secret networks funding climate change denial. There is no database aggregating funding for such groups, though progressive scholars have published research highlighting what they admit are wildly inflated numbers. A 2018 paper published in the journal Climactic Change, titled "Obstructing Action: Foundation Funding and U.S. Climate Change Counter-movement Organizations,” reports billions in grants between 2003-2018, though its authors note “we cannot ascertain that any particular grant supports activities directly related to climate change unless specifically stated on the grant records.” Instead, they add the gross totals of all contributions to conservative organizations they consider climate skeptics, such as Americans for Prosperity, the Reason Foundation, the Federalist Society, and the Manhattan Institute.

Conservative groups mentioned in the article, such as the Heritage Foundation and the Heartland Foundation, continue to publish critiques of global warming alarmism. But representatives noted their budgets are divided among many policy silos and they do not have the corporate backing enjoyed by the climate emergency camp. In 2023, Heritage said its budget grew to $100 million as part of a major fundraising initiative, but in the past it has usually operated with around $80 million annually.

Diana Furchtgott-Roth, director of energy, climate and the environment at Heritage, noted that it gets “less than 5 percent of its money from corporate sponsors and no company contributes more than 1 percent.” And that money is spread out over various departments so that only a fraction of it is devoted to combatting the alarmist global warming narrative, she said.

Climate skeptics says such figures are laughable.  

“We have comparatively few dollars while the other side now literally has trillions,” said Steve Milloy, who operates the Junk Science website, pointing to money that European countries, the U.N., and other bodies have given for global warming research or to prop up green energy companies with loans and tax credits.

Others in the trenches, more or less, echoed Shaffer’s experience in New Jersey.

“We are up against sleazy lawyers and lobbyists and a fancy propaganda campaign every time,” said Kevin Emmerich, whose grassroots Basin and Range Watch has gone up against major solar projects in Nevada. “The big solar and wind projects that end up being the ones we fight are all being proposed by the companies who have the most money. They have the money to lobby congress and pay big lawyers. They also tend to buy out little towns.”

As lone laptop warrior operations like Milloy’s and Watts’s attest, whatever money that flows to skeptical camps to tar the other side is slight. The same appears to be true on the international scene, as the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a group that seeks to counter the notion that wrenching changes to Western economies are needed to combat global warming, reports an annual budget of roughly $475,000 in 2022. The Sierra Club alone had a budget of $151 million that year.

Companies have to a large extent begun to infuse environmental activists with cash as a form of “greenwashing,” said Furchtgott-Roth. The alarmist camp has become so hostile and flush that is simply easier for corporations to avoid potential problems.

Role Reversal

“It’s no longer just an ideological fight where one group of people may have the better view,” she said. “This has become a matter of theological importance, they see this as a matter of good vs. evil.”

For now, the role of scrappy opponent, once held by environmentalists, has switched to opponents of massive “green” energy projects. Small players like Protect Our Coast NJ take some solace in the rising costs of such projects which has delayed the launch of Ocean 1 until 2026. The group drew more than 100 people – but only one reporter – to a recent event marred by a downpour. Shaffer, pointing to polling that shows support for the project has plummeted in New Jersey, vows to keep up the fight.

Despite obvious attempts by the Fourth Estate to ignore the efforts of thousands of New Jerseyans to protect the marine ecosystem and the Jersey Shore, our message is getting out,” he said.

That message will win in the end even with the lopsided nature of the debate, Happer predicted. He compares the current landscape to what prevailed with the eugenics movement a century ago.

“Every little town had its ‘Eugenics Society,’ decent white ladies got together to drink tea and discuss it, the presidents of Harvard and Princeton, the scientific journals – the whole ‘Establishment’ believed in eugenics,” Happer said. “It was all nonsense, of course, and ended when Germany took eugenics to its logical conclusion. Now, some unfortunate county or state will implement all this and the people will rise up in fury, the policies are so crazy people will simply rebel. It happens again and again in human history when something seems invincible.”

Tyler Durden Tue, 10/17/2023 - 19:25

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Deaths Of Despair Afflict More Cohorts Than Case-Deaton Originally Found

Deaths Of Despair Afflict More Cohorts Than Case-Deaton Originally Found

Authored by Yves Smith via,

At the risk of over-hoisting…



Deaths Of Despair Afflict More Cohorts Than Case-Deaton Originally Found

Authored by Yves Smith via,

At the risk of over-hoisting from an important piece of analysis, below are some of the key sections from Anusar Farooqui, who writes as Policy Tensor, on the extent of the “death of despair” catastrophe. His piece, Yes, High-School Graduates Are Dying of Despair, is important because he demonstrates that the rising death rates over time extend even into those with some college education.

Farooqu got in an argument with Matt Yglesias on Twitter over the body of work by Ann Case and Angus Deaton on so-called deaths of despair, in which they found what they called an AIDS-level surge of mortality among less-educated whites in middle age. Not only have Case and Deaton refined their analysis, but other studies have identified an increase in early deaths from suicide and addiction in other groups.

For background, from our first post in 2015 on Case-Deaton findings:By Pressreach

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The authors found that from 1999 to 2013, the death rate among non-Hispanic whites aged 45 to 54 with a high school education or less rose, while it fell in other age and ethnic groups. This is an HIV-level silent epidemic: AIDS killed an estimated 650,000 from the mid-1980s to present, while an estimated close to half-million died in half that time period who would have lived had their mortality rates fallen in line with the rest of the population. It is hard to overstate the significance of these findings. From the New York Times:

“It is difficult to find modern settings with survival losses of this magnitude,” wrote two Dartmouth economists, Ellen Meara and Jonathan S. Skinner, in a commentary to the Deaton-Case analysis that was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

This cross-country comparison from the study shows how extreme an outlier these middle aged whites are:

The big culprits are linked to despair, namely “poisoning” which is opioid abuse first and alcoholism second, and suicides. Case and Deaton dug into the underlying statistics, and found distressingly high levels of pain and impaired health in this age group, so pain and physical impairment may well be bigger culprits than economic distress:

And the rise in death rates took place among men and women, in all of the four major regions of the country the authors examined, and obesity rates were not a driving factor.

These pathologies have been showing up in other demographics. For instance, the Wall Street Journal reported in May 2023 that death rates in the 1 to 19 year old age group had risen at an unprecedented rate from 2019 to 2021 due to guns, suicides, car accidents, and drugs.

Now to the immediate discussion. Farooqui took issue with a claim by Matt Yglesias, bolstered by Eric Levitz, that the Case-Deaton data was less significant that it might seem because it lumped together those with no high school degrees with high school diplomas. Yglesias and Levitz argued that the “deaths of despair” were only taking place among high school dropouts and so the white working class was not in as terrible shape as it might seem.

Farooqui pointed out that Case and Deanton had shown that death rates among the middle aged were rising, albeit relatively modestly, even among those with some college education. But then he turns to the crux of the disagreement:

However, they [Case and Deaton] do not distinguish between [less than] HS and HS, and therefore do not address the specific issue highlighted by Levitz: “… it is actually an acute crisis of mortality of the bottom 10%.”

This is an empirical question. We attack this problem using CDC data collated by Wharton. They have age-specific mortality rates by educational attainment. The ordinal categories are

In order to obtain a more representative graph, we use age-specific population weights to combine age-specific hazard ratios. The next graph displays the population-weighted average of hazard ratios for our age-specific cohorts. By construction, this weighted average of hazard ratios is not confounded by any increase in average age within discrete age brackets. And, as explained above, because we’re looking at hazard ratios, it is also not confounded by the common component. This is as kosher as it gets in this business.

We can see that the upward trend in hazard ratios is not confined to high-school dropouts. It is true that the trend is most pronounced for them. But the upward trend is also significant for high-school graduates and those with some college under their belt. The all-cause hazard ratio has increased by 3.28 for high-school dropouts, 2.08 for high school graduates, and 1.27 for those with some college. The upshot is that, on the wrong side of the diploma divide, despair goes very far up indeed.

And then he drives the point home (I’ve omitted the charts in this section, but Farooqui showed he has the goods):

All-cause mortality has a very strong signal. But the evidence for American working class despair is not confined to mortality. Prime-age labor force participation contains the same signal of despair: four out of every nine Americans with only a high-school diploma are not even looking for a job. It’s not like high-school graduates can survive on one pay-check! These are obviously discouraged workers in despair.

Take family reproduction—perhaps the most important factor in human well-being. Following the Sixties revolution in behavioral norms, the rate of family reproduction stabilized for college graduates by the 1990s. But it has continued to fall for high school graduates. See my note from three years ago. And if you’re interested a deeper dive, see Andrew Cherlin’s work.

Or, take divorce rates. For college graduates, 29.7 percent of first marriages end in divorce by age 46. For high-school graduates, 48.2 percent of first marriages end in divorce. (The table’s from here.)

We can keep going. The truth is that American working-class despair is such a robust, large-scale pattern that one can recover the signal from practically anything we care to measure—mortality, morbidity, BMI, labor force participation, marriage rates, child-out-of-wedlock rates, you name it.

So, I stand by my challenge to Matthew Yglesias.

Well-off Americans are so removed from these cohorts, usually encountering them in various service, as in servile, positions where they have to put on a good face as a condition of getting paid, that they can pretend that the lesser orders aren’t suffering in financial and emotional terms.

One proof is despite Case’s and Deaton’s landmark work, there’s no interest in what to do to alleviate this personal and collective disaster. Our version of “Let them eat cake” has gone from “let them learn to code” to “Deprogram them all”.

Tyler Durden Tue, 10/17/2023 - 18:45

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