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The Despair of White Working-class Americans

Posted November 5th, 2015 at 4:05 pm (UTC-4)
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A study released this week by economists at Princeton University tells a grim story: the number of deaths by suicide, alcohol and drug abuse among working-class whites ages 45 to 54 has risen precipitously — 22 percent overall — since 1999. Experts tell us the only recent comparable spike in mortality can be found among Russian men after the collapse of the Soviet Union. What is going on? In essence, the world many blue-collar white Americans were born into has changed to such a degree that it no longer exists. Jobs they might have held have evaporated or are now overseas. The loss of power through unions and the growth of corporate greed helped too. The resulting economic tensions have split families, further limiting opportunity. Political pundits point out that this sad phenomenon helps explain the appeal of outsider would-be presidential candidates like business mogul Donald Trump and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.