Thursday, July 10, 2008

What's Your Life Worth To You?

What is your life worth to you? Most people would take into consideration their earning potential, the value of their possessions and non-measurable things, like your importance to your family and other loved ones.

That's not how the government does it though:
Instead, economists calculate the value based on what people are willing to pay to avoid certain risks, and on how much extra employers pay their workers to take on additional risks. Most of the data is drawn from payroll statistics; some comes from opinion surveys. According to the EPA, people shouldn't think of the number as a price tag on a life.

The news is now, you're worth even less to the government. According to the article, a person's worth has dropped by some 11%, or $1 million, in the last five years.

The drop in your life's value though isn't about the dollar losing it's value. Not at all. Instead, it's based on the Bush administration's efforts to relax EPA rules and help his Big Business buddies increase their already extravagant profit margins:
"It appears that they're cooking the books in regards to the value of life," said S. William Becker, executive director of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies, which represents state and local air pollution regulators. "Those decisions are literally a matter of life and death."

Dan Esty, a senior EPA policy official in the administration of the first President Bush and now director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy, said: "It's hard to imagine that it has other than a political motivation."

The article also reports that this isn't the first time Bush has tried to arbitrarily lower the value of a person's life:

Other, similar calculations by the Bush administration have proved politically explosive. In 2002, the EPA decided the value of elderly people was 38 percent less than that of people under 70. After the move became public, the agency reversed itself.

Considering that Bush thinks life is sacred, and is willing to pass special laws and take the fight all the way to the Supreme Court to protect a life (even though it was more of an existence than a life), I guess there are limits, like when it affects the bottom line.

And remember that John McCain wants to continue the same type of disregard for people that Bush has shown in the past eight years. Not only has he gone on to say as much by endorse the continuation of Bush's failed policies, but he, and his supporters, have shown they just don't care what you think. Just like Bush has repeatedly said.

This is evidenced by comments made by Phil Gramm, a staunch supporter of McCain. Gramm was talking about people worried about their lives, as well as their families, as they find themselves losing jobs, yet paying more and more and more for gasoline, food, electricity, insurance and everything else. He had this to say:
"You've heard of mental depression; this is a mental recession," Gramm told the Times. He noted that growth has held up at about 1 percent despite all the publicity over losing jobs to India, China, illegal immigration, housing and credit problems and record oil prices. "We may have a recession; we haven't had one yet."

"We have sort of become a nation of whiners," Gramm said. "You just hear this constant whining, complaining about a loss of competitiveness, America in decline" despite a major export boom that is the primary reason that growth continues in the economy, he said.

McCain distanced himself from Gramm only after he started to catch enough heat about it. Just like Bush did with Rumsfeld, Brown, and others.

On a side note, Gramm was correct in stating that there is an export boom. That is what happens when the value of the dollar drops like a rock. Needless to say, McCain is OK with this, since he voted with Bush 95% of the time.

In other words, when election day comes, remember this:

A vote for McCain is a vote against yourself.

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