July 15, 2008, - 1:51 pm

Sign of the Bad Times: Your Life Now Worth $1 Million Less

By Debbie Schlussel
I thought for sure it was a sign of the times when I saw a building, which only recently housed a mortgage banker’s office, now transformed into a pawn shop. Even more significant, the building is in the upscale Detroit suburb of Farmington Hills and right on the border of even more upscale West Bloomfield. I never thought in a million years I’d see a pawn shop within miles of this location. It tells you things are bad for everybody, even the “rich.”
But now, here’s another ominous sign of the bad times–which are NOT all in our mind, though a good deal of it is certainly our leaders’ (and some of our own) fault. Some of this is due to the fall of the value of the American dollar, but still troubling:

It’s not just the U.S. dollar that’s losing value: A government agency has decided that a U.S. life isn’t worth what it used to be.

valuelife.jpg

The “value of a statistical life” is $6.9 million in today’s dollars, the Environmental Protection Agency decided in May — a drop of nearly $1 million from five years ago. The Associated Press discovered the change after a review of cost-benefit analyses over more than a dozen years.
Though it may seem like a harmless bureaucratic recalculation, the devaluation has real consequences.
When drawing up regulations, government agencies weigh the costs versus the lifesaving benefits of a proposed rule. The less a life is worth to the government, the less the need for a regulation, such as tighter pollution restrictions.
Consider, for example, a hypothetical regulation that costs $18 billion to enforce but will prevent 2,500 deaths. At $7.8 million per person (the old figure), the lifesaving benefits outweigh the costs. But at $6.9 million per person, the rule costs more than the lives it saves, so it may not be adopted.

The fact is that as Americans earn more, the calculated value of their lives goes up, so this drop sends the alternatively downwardly corellative message.

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Print Friendly, PDF & Email






5 Responses

Does Debbie ever see anything good in life or is she always entirely negative?
[PK: UNTIL THIS, I’VE ENJOYED YOUR COMMENTS. BUT I GOTTA ASK, DOES HER ROYAL HIGHNESS KAREN ACTUALLY READ THIS BLOG AND THE MANY NICE THINGS I’VE WRITTEN ABOUT MANY PEOPLE, OR DOES SHE JUST CHOOSE TO SEE THE NEGATIVE, AND IS THIS INDICATIVE OF HER BEING ALWAYS ENTIRELY NEGATIVE? WHY ISN’T KAREN READING SITES ABOUT HOW GREAT ICE CREAM TASTES COLD AND HOW TERRIFIC SOUP IS HOT? SHE SEEMS TO BE READING AND COMMENTING ON THIS SITE QUITE A LOT FOR SOMEONE WHO CLAIMS IT’S TOO NEGATIVE. SHE IS FREE TO SURF TO OTHER SITES. ALSO, IS IT A GREAT THING THAT AMERICAN LIFE IS NOW VALUED AT $1 MILLION LESS? I SHOULD IGNORE THIS SAD FACT B/C IT’S “NEGATIVE”? DS]

PrincessKaren on July 15, 2008 at 2:14 pm

The less our lives are worth to the government, the less regulation. Sounds like a good thing that we’re worth less, to me.

Blayne on July 15, 2008 at 3:30 pm

The decline of the US dollar is based on the currency being tossed around the Middle East and Central Asia in futile nation-building fiascos. How much was spent on Iraq? Last week the local savages scuttled the Status of Forces Agreement. After July 31, US presence will be based only on the once superseded UN mandate. Said scuttling was foreseeable to all but the deferential majority who believe that Bush is a monarch by divine right.
So what should have been done after 9-11? As I wrote on one blog in the first week after same: nuke the cities of the Saud terrorist entity, where the 15 hijackers commenced their pollution of the earth; nuke Pashto regions of Afghanistan, so as to collapse Taliban/al-Qaeda power and terminate the $4 billion Opium industry. In short: throw nukes, not dollars.
I despise this ruling mentality: we can’t do that because we can’t do that. Moral wheel spinning will destroy Western Civilization. Watching US politics is like reading from the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. On 9-11, a pretext to annihilate Islamofascism was hand delivered to a US President. Five days later that Saudi slave pronounced: “Islam is peace.” Future generations of Americans will hold pilgrimages to spit on his wretched grave.

supercargo on July 15, 2008 at 4:24 pm

Now if only the trial lawyers & life insurance companies pick up on this.

c f on July 15, 2008 at 5:01 pm

Debbie knows me: I regard the value of a human life as absolute. I don’t think any one can really put a price tag on it. I find the notion obscene.

NormanF on July 15, 2008 at 7:44 pm

Leave a Reply

* denotes required field