America’s Suicide Epidemic

Yves here. This post describes how the forces driving the US suicide surge started well before the Trump era, but explains how Trump has not only refused to acknowledge the problem, but has made matters worse.

However, it’s not as if the Democrats are embracing this issue either.

By Rajan Menon, the Anne and Bernard Spitzer Professor of International Relations at the Powell School, City College of New York, and Senior Research Fellow at Columbia University’s Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies. His latest book is The Conceit of Humanitarian Intervention Originally published at TomDispatch.

We hear a lot about suicide when celebrities like Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade die by their own hand. Otherwise, it seldom makes the headlines. That’s odd given the magnitude of the problem.

In 2017, 47,173 Americans killed themselves. In that single year, in other words, the suicide count was nearly seven times greater than the number of American soldiers killed in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars between 2001 and 2018.

A suicide occurs in the United States roughly once every 12 minutes. What’s more, after decades of decline, the rate of self-inflicted deaths per 100,000 people annually — the suicide rate — has been increasing sharply since the late 1990s. Suicides now claim two-and-a-half times as many lives in this country as do homicides, even though the murder rate gets so much more attention.

In other words, we’re talking about a national epidemic of self-inflicted deaths.

Worrisome Numbers

Anyone who has lost a close relative or friend to suicide or has worked on a suicide hotline (as I have) knows that statistics transform the individual, the personal, and indeed the mysterious aspects of that violent act — Why this person?  Why now? Why in this manner? — into depersonalized abstractions. Still, to grasp how serious the suicide epidemic has become, numbers are a necessity.

According to a 2018 Centers for Disease Control study, between 1999 and 2016, the suicide rate increased in every state in the union except Nevada, which already had a remarkably high rate.  In 30 states, it jumped by 25% or more; in 17, by at least a third.  Nationally, it increased 33%.  In some states the upsurge was far higher: North Dakota (57.6%), New Hampshire (48.3%), Kansas (45%), Idaho (43%).

Alas, the news only gets grimmer.

Since 2008, suicide has ranked 10th among the causes of death in this country. For Americans between the ages of 10 and 34, however, it comes in second; for those between 35 and 45, fourth.  The United States also has the ninth-highest rate in the 38-country Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Globally, it ranks 27th.

More importantly, the trend in the United States doesn’t align with what’s happening elsewhere in the developed world. The World Health Organization, for instance, reports that Great Britain, Canada, and China all have notably lower suicide rates than the U.S., as do all but six countries in the European Union. (Japan’s is only slightly lower.)

World Bank statistics show that, worldwide, the suicide rate fell from 12.8 per 100,000 in 2000 to 10.6 in 2016.  It’s been falling in China, Japan (where it has declined steadily for nearly a decade and is at its lowest point in 37 years), most of Europe, and even countries like South Korea and Russia that have a significantly higher suicide rate than the United States. In Russia, for instance, it has dropped by nearly 26% from a high point of 42 per 100,000 in 1994 to 31 in 2019.

We know a fair amount about the patterns of suicide in the United States.  In 2017, the rate was highest for men between the ages of 45 and 64 (30 per 100,000) and those 75 and older (39.7 per 100,000).

The rates in rural counties are almost double those in the most urbanized ones, which is why states like Idaho, Kansas, New Hampshire, and North Dakota sit atop the suicide list. Furthermore, a far higher percentage of people in rural states own guns than in cities and suburbs, leading to a higher rate of suicide involving firearms, the means used in half of all such acts in this country.

There are gender-based differences as well. From 1999 to 2017, the rate for men was substantially higher than for women — almost four-and-a-half times higher in the first of those years, slightly more than three-and-a-half times in the last.

Education is also a factor.  The suicide rate is lowest among individuals with college degrees. Those who, at best, completed high school are, by comparison, twice as likely to kill themselves.  Suicide rates also tend to be lower among people in higher-income brackets. 

The Economics of Stress

This surge in the suicide rate has taken place in years during which the working class has experienced greater economic hardship and psychological stress.  Increased competition from abroad and outsourcing, the results of globalization, have contributed to job loss, particularly in economic sectors like manufacturing, steel, and mining that had long been mainstays of employment for such workers. The jobs still available often paid less and provided fewer benefits.

Technological change, including computerization, robotics, and the coming of artificial intelligence, has similarly begun to displace labor in significant ways, leaving Americans without college degrees, especially those 50 and older, in far more difficult straits when it comes to finding new jobs that pay well. The lack of anything resembling an industrial policy of a sort that exists in Europe has made these dislocations even more painful for American workers, while a sharp decline in private-sector union membership — down from nearly 17% in 1983 to 6.4% today — has reduced their ability to press for higher wages through collective bargaining.

Furthermore, the inflation-adjusted median wage has barely budged over the last four decades (even as CEO salaries have soared).  And a decline in worker productivity doesn’t explain it: between 1973 and 2017 productivity increased by 77%, while a worker’s average hourly wage only rose by 12.4%. Wage stagnation has made it harder for working-class Americans to get by, let alone have a lifestyle comparable to that of their parents or grandparents.

The gap in earnings between those at the top and bottom of American society has also increased — a lot. Since 1979, the wages of Americans in the 10th percentile increased by a pitiful 1.2%. Those in the 50th percentile did a bit better, making a gain of 6%.  By contrast, those in the 90th percentile increased by 34.3% and those near the peak of the wage pyramid — the top 1% and especially the rarefied 0.1% — made far more substantial gains.  

And mind you, we’re just talking about wages, not other forms of income like large stock dividends, expensive homes, or eyepopping inheritances.  The share of net national wealth held by the richest 0.1% increased from 10% in the 1980s to 20% in 2016.  By contrast, the share of the bottom 90% shrank in those same decades from about 35% to 20%.  As for the top 1%, by 2016 its share had increased to almost 39%.

The precise relationship between economic inequality and suicide rates remains unclear, and suicide certainly can’t simply be reduced to wealth disparities or financial stress. Still, strikingly, in contrast to the United States, suicide rates are noticeably lower and have been declining in Western European countries where income inequalities are far less pronounced, publicly funded healthcare is regarded as a right (not demonized as a pathway to serfdom), social safety nets far more extensive, and apprenticeships and worker retraining programs more widespread.

Evidence from the United States, Brazil, Japan, and Sweden does indicate that, as income inequality increases, so does the suicide rate. If so, the good news is that progressive economic policies — should Democrats ever retake the White House and the Senate — could make a positive difference.  A study based on state-by-state variations in the U.S. found that simply boosting the minimum wage and Earned Income Tax Credit by 10% appreciably reduces the suicide rate among people without college degrees.

The Race Enigma

One aspect of the suicide epidemic is puzzling.  Though whites have fared far better economically (and in many other ways) than African Americans, their suicide rate is significantly higher.  It increased from 11.3 per 100,000 in 2000 to 15.85 per 100,000 in 2017; for African Americans in those years the rates were 5.52 per 100,000 and 6.61 per 100,000. Black men are 10 times more likely to be homicide victims than white men, but the latter are two-and-half times more likely to kill themselves.

The higher suicide rate among whites as well as among people with only a high school diploma highlights suicide’s disproportionate effect on working-class whites. This segment of the population also accounts for a disproportionate share of what economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton have labeled “deaths of despair” — those caused by suicides plus opioid overdoses and liver diseases linked to alcohol abuse. Though it’s hard to offer a complete explanation for this, economic hardship and its ripple effects do appear to matter.

According to a study by the St. Louis Federal Reserve, the white working class accounted for 45% of all income earned in the United States in 1990, but only 27% in 2016.  In those same years, its share of national wealth plummeted, from 45% to 22%.  And as inflation-adjusted wages have decreased for men without college degrees, many white workers seem to have lost hope of success of any sort.  Paradoxically, the sense of failure and the accompanying stress may be greater for white workers precisely because they traditionally were much better off economically than their African American and Hispanic counterparts.

In addition, the fraying of communities knit together by employment in once-robust factories and mines has increased social isolation among them, and the evidence that it — along with opioid addiction and alcohol abuse — increases the risk of suicide is strong. On top of that, a significantly higher proportion of whites than blacks and Hispanics own firearms, and suicide rates are markedly higher in states where gun ownership is more widespread.

Trump’s Faux Populism

The large increase in suicide within the white working class began a couple of decades before Donald Trump’s election. Still, it’s reasonable to ask what he’s tried to do about it, particularly since votes from these Americans helped propel him to the White House. In 2016, he received 64% of the votes of whites without college degrees; Hillary Clinton, only 28%.  Nationwide, he beat Clinton in counties where deaths of despair rose significantly between 2000 and 2015.

White workers will remain crucial to Trump’s chances of winning in 2020.  Yet while he has spoken about, and initiated steps aimed at reducing, the high suicide rate among veterans, his speeches and tweets have never highlighted the national suicide epidemic or its inordinate impact on white workers. More importantly, to the extent that economic despair contributes to their high suicide rate, his policies will only make matters worse.

The real benefits from the December 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act championed by the president and congressional Republicans flowed to those on the top steps of the economic ladder.  By 2027, when the Act’s provisions will run out, the wealthiest Americans are expected to have captured 81.8% of the gains.  And that’s not counting the windfall they received from recent changes in taxes on inheritances. Trump and the GOP doubled the annual amount exempt from estate taxes — wealth bequeathed to heirs — through 2025 from $5.6 million per individual to $11.2 million (or $22.4 million per couple). And who benefits most from this act of generosity?  Not workers, that’s for sure, but every household with an estate worth $22 million or more will.

As for job retraining provided by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, the president proposed cutting that program by 40% in his 2019 budget, later settling for keeping it at 2017 levels. Future cuts seem in the cards as long as Trump is in the White House. The Congressional Budget Office projects that his tax cuts alone will produce even bigger budget deficits in the years to come. (The shortfall last year was $779 billion and it is expected to reach $1 trillion by 2020.) Inevitably, the president and congressional Republicans will then demand additional reductions in spending for social programs.

This is all the more likely because Trump and those Republicans also slashed corporate taxes from 35% to 21% — an estimated $1.4 trillion in savings for corporations over the next decade. And unlike the income tax cut, the corporate tax has no end date. The president assured his base that the big bucks those companies had stashed abroad would start flowing home and produce a wave of job creation — all without adding to the deficit. As it happens, however, most of that repatriated cash has been used for corporate stock buy-backs, which totaled more than $800 billion last year.  That, in turn, boosted share prices, but didn’t exactly rain money down on workers. No surprise, of course, since the wealthiest 10% of Americans own at least 84% of all stocks and the bottom 60% have less than 2% of them. 

And the president’s corporate tax cut hasn’t produced the tsunami of job-generating investments he predicted either. Indeed, in its aftermath, more than 80% of American companies stated that their plans for investment and hiring hadn’t changed. As a result, the monthly increase in jobs has proven unremarkable compared to President Obama’s second term, when the economic recovery that Trump largely inherited began. Yes, the economy did grow 2.3% in 2017 and 2.9% in 2018 (though not 3.1% as the president claimed). There wasn’t, however, any “unprecedented economic boom — a boom that has rarely been seen before” as he insisted in this year’s State of the Union Address.

Anyway, what matters for workers struggling to get by is growth in real wages, and there’s nothing to celebrate on that front: between 2017 and mid-2018 they actually declined by 1.63% for white workers and 2.5% for African Americans, while they rose for Hispanics by a measly 0.37%.  And though Trump insists that his beloved tariff hikes are going to help workers, they will actually raise the prices of goods, hurting the working class and other low-income Americans the most

Then there are the obstacles those susceptible to suicide face in receiving insurance-provided mental-health care. If you’re a white worker without medical coverage or have a policy with a deductible and co-payments that are high and your income, while low, is too high to qualify for Medicaid, Trump and the GOP haven’t done anything for you. Never mind the president’s tweet proclaiming that “the Republican Party Will Become ‘The Party of Healthcare!’” 

Let me amend that: actually, they have done something. It’s just not what you’d call helpful. The percentage of uninsured adults, which fell from 18% in 2013 to 10.9% at the end of 2016, thanks in no small measure to Obamacare, had risen to 13.7% by the end of last year.

The bottom line? On a problem that literally has life-and-death significance for a pivotal portion of his base, Trump has been AWOL. In fact, to the extent that economic strain contributes to the alarming suicide rate among white workers, his policies are only likely to exacerbate what is already a national crisis of epidemic proportions.

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  1. Seamus Padraig

    Trump has neglected his base on pretty much every issue; this one’s no exception.

    1. DanB

      Trump is running on the claim that he’s turned the economy around; addressing suicide undermines this (false) claim. To state the obvious, NC readers know that Trump is incapable of caring about anyone or anything beyond his in-the-moment interpretation of his self-interest.

    2. JCC

      Not just Trump. Most of the Republican Party and much too many Democrats have also abandoned this base, otherwise known as working class Americans.

      The economic facts are near staggering and this article has done a nice job of summarizing these numbers that are spread out across a lot of different sites.

      I’ve experienced this rise within my own family and probably because of that fact I’m well aware that Trump is only a symptom of an entire political system that has all but abandoned it’s core constituency, the American Working Class.

      1. sparagmite

        Yep…It’s not just Trump. The author mentions this, but still focuses on him for some reason. Maybe accurately attributing the problems to a failed system makes people feel more hopeless. Current nihilists in Congress make it their duty to destroy once helpful institutions in the name of “fiscal responsibility,” i.e., tax cuts for corporate elites.

        1. dcblogger

          mebbe because Trump is president and bears the greatest responsibility in this particular time.

          a great piece and appreciate all the documentation.

    3. Shiloh1

      I would like to know how much 1) (anti) – social media is contributing to suicide among the young ? and 2) how many of the elderly and / or terminal are saying the heck with it, why put themselves through painful treatment and / or $six-figure costs to hang on for a few extra months?

  2. Svante

    I’d assumed, the “working class” had dissappeared, back during Reagan’s Miracle? We’d still see each other, sitting dazed on porches & stoops of rented old places they’d previously; trying to garden, fix their car while smoking, drinking or dazed on something? Those able to morph into “middle class” lives, might’ve earned substantially less, especially benefits and retirement package wise. But, a couple decades later, it was their turn, as machines and foreigners improved productivity. You could lease a truck to haul imported stuff your kids could sell to each other, or help robots in some warehouse, but those 80s burger flipping, rent-a-cop & repo-man gigs dried up. Your middle class pals unemployable, everybody in PayDay Loan debt (without any pay day in sight?) SHTF Bug-out bags® & EZ Credit Bushmasters began showing up at yard sales, even up North. Opioids became the religion of the proletariat… Whites simply had much farther to fall, more equity for our betters to steal. And it was damned near impossible to get the cops to shoot you?

    Man, this just ain’t turning out as I’d hoped. Need coffee!

  3. DanB

    This is a very good article, but I have a comment about the section titled, “The Race Enigma.” I think the key to understanding why African Americans have a lower suicide rate lies in understanding the sociological notion of community, and the related concept Emil Durkheim called social solidarity. This sense of solidarity and community among African Americans stands in contrast to the “There is no such thing as society” neoliberal zeitgeist that in fact produces feelings of extreme isolation, failure, and self-recriminations. An aside: as a white boy growing up in 1950s-60s Detroit I learned that if you yearned for solidarity and community what you had to do was to hang out with black people.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      “… if you yearned for solidarity and community what you had to do was to hang out with black people.”
      amen, to that. in my case rural black people.
      and I’ll add Hispanics to that.
      My wife’s extended Familia is so very different from mine.
      Solidarity/Belonging is cool.
      I recommend it.
      on the article…we keep the scanner on(“local news”).we had a 3-4 year rash of suicides and attempted suicides(determined by chisme, or deduction) out here.
      all of them were despair related…more than half correlated with meth addiction…itself a despair related thing.
      ours were equally male/female, and across both our color spectrum.
      that leaves economics/opportunity/just being able to get by as the likely cause.

      1. Svante

        Was living with an abysmally woke big city African American, in a largely (recent) immigrant/ university neighborhood when the city lost 130K union jobs, and we’d formed impromptu communities of interest, between dumpster diving, food banks/ CSA/ buying clube and crude attempts at community gardening. Black and “ethnic” mostly Catholic churches were pretty much the only game in town, as former union folks realized we were basically on our own. It did seem, however, that the industrial workers who had the farthest to fall, took longer to intigrate into the coping mechanisms “service sector” workers had slapped together to cope with temp gigs in city government built around affluent union employees, living in suburbs, simultaneously lost medical benefits, in a city where the University medical system, now the states’ largest employer. Local media, basically blind to any cascading effect, as the urban poor was invisible to them. Then came AIDS, Crack, Bush, New Democrats… but, we were young?

    2. Mattski

      You have only to look at the institution of the community center to know that the Black community tends to take care of its own better than the white one does.

    3. ChiGal in Carolina

      Agree. And bearing out the relevance of social connection to suicide, a promising new program that prescribes it as part of the hospital discharge plan for teens who have tried and failed. Repeat attempts have been reduced by providing ongoing contact with trusted (the kids choose) adults in their community. The chosen adults are given psychoeducation to maximize the benefit of these relationships.

    1. Christy

      Actually, in the article it states:
      “There are gender-based differences as well. From 1999 to 2017, the rate for men was substantially higher than for women — almost four-and-a-half times higher in the first of those years, slightly more than three-and-a-half times in the last.”

    2. jrs

      which in some sense makes despair the wrong word, as females are actually quite a bit more likely to be depressed for instance, but much less likely to “do the deed”. Despair if we mean a certain social context maybe, but not just a psychological state.

  4. Ex-Pralite Monk

    obese cracker

    You lay off the racial slur “cracker” and I’ll lay off the racial slur “nigger”. Deal?

    1. Plenue

      Quit whining. One word has a history of systemic power behind it, the other doesn’t. They aren’t comparable.

  5. rd

    Suicide deaths are a function of the suicide attempt rate and the efficacy of the method used. A unique aspect of the US is the prevalence of guns in the society and therefore the greatly increased usage of them in suicide attempts compared to other countries. Guns are a very efficient way of committing suicide with a very high “success” rate. As of 2010, half of US suicides were using a gun as opposed to other countries with much lower percentages. So if the US comes even close to other countries in suicide rates then the US will surpass them in deaths.

    Now we can add in opiates, especially fentanyl, that can be quite effective as well.

    The economic crisis hitting middle America over the past 30 years has been quite focused on the states and populations that also tend to have high gun ownership rates. So suicide attempts in those populations have a high probability of “success”.

  6. Joe Well

    I would just take this opportunity to add that the police end up getting called in to prevent on lot of suicide attempts, and just about every successful one.

    In the face of so much blanket demonization of the police, along with justified criticism, it’s important to remember that.

  7. B:H

    As someone who works in the mental health treatment system, acute inpatient psychiatry to be specific, I can say that of the 25 inpatients currently here, 11 have been here before, multiple times. And this is because of several issues, in my experience: inadequate inpatient resources, staff burnout, inadequate support once they leave the hospital, and the nature of their illnesses. It’s a grim picture here and it’s been this way for YEARS. Until MAJOR money is spent on this issue it’s not going to get better. This includes opening more facilities for people to live in long term, instead of closing them, which has been the trend I’ve seen.

    1. B:H

      One last thing… the CEO wants “asses in beds”, aka census, which is the money maker. There’s less profit if people get better and don’t return. And I guess I wouldn’t have a job either. Hmmmm: sickness generates wealth.

  8. WestcoastDeplorable

    Trump has done more to try and keep his campaign promises than any President in modern history, despite the constant obstruction by the Dems. So your comments on his “not doing anything” to prevent suicides are ill-founded.
    People kill themselves for various reasons, but lack of hope has to be at the top of the list, and 8 years of no “hope & change” that was promised by Obama didn’t help the situation. Shipping most of the manufacturing jobs by closing down 60K factories didn’t help. And Obamacare was an absolute joke of a plan.
    I think the biggest factor in promoting suicide is losing hope for a brighter future. It surely doesn’t help having AOC blathering about “10 more years” with her fellow Dems nodding in agreement.

    1. JCC

      I’m not sure what the “ten more years” refers to, but the real problem is that while she “blathers” about it, the Core Dems and almost all Repubs do nothing but try to subvert just about everything she says, including dealing with M4A, obvious wealth disparity, and AGW.

      I think the fact that listening to most Politicians blatantly wanting to do nothing but double-down on what we have so far has far more to do with losing hope than anything she says. They see it and they know it.

    2. jrs

      oh the right wing talking point, and it literally is a right wing talking point as it is repeated everywhere (how many times did Fox or Rush or someone push that one tell me?) about AOC and “10 more years”.

      This was based on the IPCC report, love AOC, hate AOC, AOC truly has nothing to do with it! But someone somewhere on the void that is the right decided AOC was a better talking point. Even for scapegoats you would think they could do better than this! It reveals low information meme making every time the argument is made, one’s cards should not be that obvious.

      Fellow Dems nodding in agreement, really have you heard about what Pelosi actually said about the GND?

  9. The Hang Nail

    This article could be used in a critical thinking class as a demonstration of how to use statistics to distort the argument.
    -comparing apples to oranges – what does comparing suicides to deaths in wars mean?
    -the every 12 minutes statistic sounds bleak but context matters. No matter what the rate is, bigger populations mean it will happen with more frequency.
    -there’s a lot about the per/100,000 rate but not until the author discusses white vs black suicide rates do we get actual numbers that may help, and even then we don’t know the overall US rate. And yet the author ranks the US alongside other countries without yielding the overall rate. Why not? Is the actual number not as shocking?
    -comparing suicides to homicides – again, apples to oranges. What if homicides are going down?

    I understand suicides are going up, even on a per capita basis, but if you really want to persuade us give us the overall actual numbers up front and don’t try to hide them with apples-to-oranges comparisons and cherry-picked pull-outs like suicides by subsets of the population. When I read bad arguments like this I tend to ignore the big message.

    1. rd

      Here is some interesting data:

      Suicide and opiate overdose are now each more likely to be a cause of death than a car crash, falls, gun assault, or drowning.

      They each are about are 1/15 of the likelihood of dying from cancer or heart attack in a lifetime, which is pretty high considering cancer and heart attacks are old people diseases that many people die from in old age.

      I put opiate overdose and suicide in similar categories as they are deaths due to despair and depression instead of simply ill physical health. Happy, socially engaged people with good family and friend networks are unlikely to commit suicide or be addicted to opiates.

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        This is too broad a brush. Accidental overdoses happen partly due to users not having access to the antidote. If we treated heroin as a public health rather than a criminal issue no one would need to die.

        There are many paths into addiction and many ways out. Some very bright kids who are not socioeconomically disadvantaged and have enormous potential and plenty of friends and family never make it out cuz we choose as a society not to keep them alive long enough.

        1. rd

          Here is an array of graphs looking at drug overdose deaths over the past 20 years. Even the linear trending anti-depressants (old technology) has triple the deaths of 20 years ago which is far greater than the population growth rate. Total overdose deaths have gone up four-fold. Much of that increase is males using opiates. Something is causing a significantly elevated level of addiction, especially of males, over the past 20-30 years. The antidotes are helpful, but don’t address the fundamental root cause.

  10. Chauncey Gardiner

    In 2017, more than 152,000 Americans died from alcohol- and drug-induced fatalities and suicide. That was the highest number ever recorded in any year and more than twice as many as in 1999.

    Particularly tragic in my view was the loss of life among those in the 20-34 age group. This is the segment of the population that should be starting families. Instead, many are dying from drug use and suicide. This link discusses the issue in some detail accompanied by telling charts :


    I hope progressive economic policies suggested by the writer gain traction and reduce the severity of this terrible epidemic.

    Thank you, Yves, for posting this.

  11. TG

    “…the good news is that progressive economic policies — should Democrats ever retake the White House and the Senate — could make a positive difference.”

    Hahaha! ROTFL. Democrats enacting progressive policies? That’s hysterical. Good one.

  12. Paul Hirschman

    But the psychological wages of white workers have soared, from a 3% increase during Obama’s final year in office, to a 38% increase since Trump took office. Racial hatred productivity has soared among whites without college degrees as well as those with degrees, for both men and women.

  13. RBHoughton

    Oh well done NC. Thank you for drawing your readership’s attention to this. The rising tide of suicides is the clearest indicator that government is failing the people. What a horrible indictment of officialdom, state and national, to become so negligent of the people in its charge. The rate needs to be published frequently until the legislature recognises its duty to investigate and cure.

    Its not just suicides – there is and has long been a constant shrinkage of the population which we call ‘missing persons.’ No investigation is done by government. These are young people who apparently get culled for body parts and snuff flicks. Government does not act whilst it employs the mindless media to say organ harvesting is happening in other countries.

    The author mentions a disparity between black and white. I would suggest that society is still alive and vibrant amongst blacks whereas, for the whites, it was killed off by Reagan.

  14. Merf56

    The suicide rate rise has predated Trump. As have accidental drug overdosing deaths. I’d love to blame him of course but facts are stubborn. If the Dems get in in 2020 and still say the economy is booming and the unemployment rate is historically low nothing will happen to move the rates downward. People need and want real jobs. Where they can pay their bills, raise kids, pay for higher ed, take a vacation once a year to the beach or the mountains, feel like their company values them, has quality healthcare and disability benefits and so on. No low wage part time no benefit jobs like the retail sector works now.
    Of course lack of community especially in ‘white society’ if you can call it that plays a big roll as well but that isolation is a product of our US dog eat dog philosophy of competition and keeping up with the can you create a new national philosophy of caring for your family and your near and farther neighbors not just giving them ‘hopes and prayers’ when they hit the rocks?? I feel like our national origins were corrupt from the day the first settlers set sail from England….. now we are seeing the price to be paid and it isn’t pretty..

  15. kk

    But what are the working class for? The future is AI and robots, with only the highly skilled being needed. There is no future for the uneducated, they need to get with the program and stop creating problems and expenses for the elite.

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