Something terrible and deadly is happening here in the United States, and House Speaker Mike Johnson just announced that he wants to double down on it. More on that in a moment.
It’s 82 for Italy, Spain, Ireland, France, Finland, and New Zealand.
And then there’s the United States. Our average lifespan comes in at a paltry 77 years, along with Iran, Tunisia, and Morocco.
And it’s entirely because of Republican policies.
That’s the main conclusion of a new study published in PLOS One, one of the world’s leading publications of peer-reviewed science across a wide variety of fields.
They concluded that if, in 2019, “liberals” (Democrats) had run all the Red states, then 171,030 fewer Americans would have died that year. On the other hand, if “conservatives” (Republicans) had succeeded in imposing their healthcare, tax, labor, and gun policies on the Blue states, there would have been an additional 217,635 dead Americans.
This follows the Brookings Institution study published two years ago that concluded Republican anti-mask and pro-snake-oil (hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin, etc.) policies unnecessarily killed 400,000 Americans during the first year of the pandemic.
Add to that the Republican anti-vax propaganda and, as The New York Times reports, GOP policies are continuing to kill Americans:
“Since Dec. 1, when health officials announced the first Omicron case in the United States, the share of Americans who have been killed by the coronavirus is at least 63 percent higher than in any of these other large, wealthy nations, according to a New York Times analysis of mortality figures.”
And the majority of those dying are Republican followers. Not the Republican politicians and multimillionaire TV commentators, who are all well-vaccinated (Fox required vaccination for all employees), but the people who listen to them, watch them on television, and believe their lies about vaccines and masks.
None of this is new and none should be surprising.
In 2014 the International Journal of Epidemiology published a report titled “US Infant Mortality and the President’s Party” looking at the years between 1965 and 2010. They concluded:
“Across all nine presidential administrations, infant mortality rates were below trend when the President was a Democrat and above trend when the President was a Republican. … Republican administrations were characterized by infant mortality rates that were, on average, 3% higher than Democratic administrations.”
The results were, they wrote, solid. Very solid, in fact:
“Conclusions: We found a robust, quantitatively important association between net of trend US infant mortality rates and the party affiliation of the president.”
It turns out it’s not just American conservatives whose policies kill their own people.
Back in 2002 researchers looked at 100 years of data from Australia and England in a paper for the Journal of Epidemiological Public Health (JEPH) titled “Mortality and Political Climate: How Suicide Rates have Risen During Periods of Conservative Government, 1901-2000.”
They controlled the study for years of both war and drought, and concluded that more people kill themselves when conservatives are in power — in both countries, even at different times — than when liberals control the government. The subtitle of an editorial in the JEPH about their paper, in fact, was: “Do conservative governments make people want to die?”
The answer, according to the data, is yes. Noting an excess death rate of around 17% among the 238,431 suicides during years of conservative rule, the final sentence of that editorial was:
“[R]oughly 35,000 of these people would not have died had these Conservative governments not been in government. This is one suicide for every day of the century, or more appropriately, two for every day that the Conservatives ruled.”
Drenching the country in blood seems to be a popular sport for conservatives and Republican politicians.
— United Republican opposition to negotiating drug prices is why here in the United States we’re paying $38,398 for an anti-cancer shot that costs $260 in the United Kingdom.
— Twelve Red states still refuse to offer Medicaid to their low-income workers, even though the federal government pays 90% of the cost. But while you can’t get healthcare in Red states, you sure can get a weapon of war.
— And with 120 guns for every 100 citizens, these deadly weapons — whose sole purpose is to kill humans — have become the leading cause of death for American children, a horror not found in any other country in the world.
— By the end of last year, fully half of American states abandoned all meaningful gun regulations, allowing permit-less carry, further increasing the carnage as The New York Times documented in heartbreaking detail.
— Republican advocacy for fossil fuels and lies about climate change are also killing Americans. An estimated 32,000 deaths a year come about just because of tailpipe and smokestack pollution.
— This doesn’t begin to measure the people who’ve died from extreme weather events causing wildfires across the West, derechos and flooding across the Midwest and South, and warming-amplified hurricanes in Mexico and the American Southeast. Or the people who’ve simply lost everything when their homes and jobs are wiped out.
Instead of doing anything about these issues, Republicans in Congress and state houses vote in a block to support the fossil fuel billionaires who fund their campaigns rather than supporting their states’ citizens who are getting whacked by the carbon pollution that industry lied to us about for over six decades.
And now House Speaker Mike Johnson wants to gut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid because “we’re drowning in debt.” What he fails to mention is that 100% of our nation’s $34 trillion debt was caused by Reagan, Bush, and Trump tax cuts along with the $10 billion in illegal wars Bush and Cheney lied us into.
As my colleague Chauncey DeVega points out:
“Social demographers have repeatedly shown that there is actually more early death, suicide, murder, criminality, poverty, prescription drug abuse and other forms of human misery and suffering — on a per capita basis — in ‘red State’ America than in more cosmopolitan, progressive, affluent and dynamic ‘blue’ cities and regions.”
While all this is shocking in aggregate, it shouldn’t surprise us that a political party that swears its first allegiance to billionaires and giant multinational corporations would choose money and profits over health and life.
The Republican Party, as I noted last year, has ceased to be a legitimate political party with actual policy positions and become, instead, a loose collection of Nazis, cult-based “Christians,” antisemites, predatory hustlers, misogynists, gun nuts, bigots, and government haters, all funded by billionaires who don’t want to pay their taxes.
This is not Dwight Eisenhower’s Republican Party; it’s barely Nixon’s anymore.
America can do better, but first we must overcome the billions that are being spent right now to put the GOP back in charge of the White House and Senate.
And that means we all have to do everything we can to wake people up and get out the vote.
Subscribe to The Hartmann Report
A Daily Newsletter of Renaissance Thinking about Progressive Politics, Economics, Science, and the Issues of Our Day