The Obama economy is killing people

The inability of people aged 40 and above to find a decent job to support their families has led to an epidemic of suicides.

But as Betsy McCaughey points out in this New York Post column, you'd never know it to hear President Obama and Hillary Clinton talk.  President Obama insists that the "“American economy is pretty darn good right now.”

False. The Obama economy is stalled. It grew at a measly .7 percent annualized rate the first quarter of this year. That’s compared with the 3.5 percent rate the US enjoyed for most of the 20th century — what’s needed to sustain employment and optimism.

True, the economy slowed under George W. Bush. Obama inherited a recession and, with it, a suicide epidemic. When the recession hit, suicide deaths suddenly started outnumbering deaths from auto accidents. But eight years later, job losses are still driving the suicide rate higher and higher.

Clinton seems unmoved. She’s pledging to close down the coal industry and block natural-gas fracking. More pain for coal country or for portions of upstate New York that are sitting on natural-gas treasure.

Self-inflicted deaths in the Syracuse area are up about 40 percent in the past five years, and rates in depressed western New York are double New York City’s rate. Upstate New Yorkers are literally dying for jobs.

Similarly, joblessness is killing people in Walker County, Ala., where the coal mines have been shutting down, leaving families destitute. Since 1999, premature deaths among the middle-aged there have more than doubled — some from suicide and others from slower methods of self-destruction like alcohol and opioids.

New Jersey used to have one of the lowest suicide rates in the nation, but it’s shot up 13 percent in two years. “We’ve seen a wave of suicides that resulted from the financial crisis a little bit later than other parts of the country,” reports prevention advocate Phil Lubitz.

Economic distress is so widespread that for the first time ever, life expectancy for white women in the United States actually dropped. Despite progress against cancer and heart disease, lives are being cut short by hopelessness.

It’s a national health emergency. Suicide kills more middle-agers than flu, pneumonia and diabetes combined — often after dashed expectations, abandonment by a spouse and loss of self-worth. Then a bullet to the head or a noose (for men), or a deliberate drug overdose (for women) ends the pain.

These tragedies should awaken this nation to the real issue in the coming presidential election. It’s not inequality, despite Bernie Sanders’ rantings. It’s lack of growth and the Democratic Party’s refusal to make growth a priority.

Growth is not as important as transgender bathroom access, diversity in the work force, a $15 minimum wage, foisting Obamacare on the public, and destroying their political enemies. 

These are all distractions, because in order for the Democrats to embrace a growing economy, they would have to embrace capitalism.  As we've seen from both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, that just isn't going to happen.

Republicans have a clue about how to stimulate growth but are far too timid to make it work.  "Job-killing policies are people-killers, too," writes McCaughey.  With neither party really addressing the growth issue, it's likely that the suicide rate will continue to rise.