Monday, December 26, 2016

The rich live longer

Life isn't fair. With a difference of up to 14 years between rich and poor.  And it's not as mysterious as they make out. This is just the old trilogy of IQ, wealth and health.  IQ is the key variable. Smart people are better at getting rich and  going far in education. High IQ also appears to be in most cases just one indication of general biological fitness.  The brain is just another organ of the body, after all.  So the fitter live longer

The correlation with immigration and life expectancy among the poor presumably stems from immigrants having social disadvantages (language skills etc.).  They were poorer than their genetics would explain.  Had they been native-born they would have been richer

The Association Between Income and Life Expectancy in the United States, 2001-2014

Raj Chetty et al.


Importance:  The relationship between income and life expectancy is well established
but remains poorly understood.

Objectives:  To measure the level, time trend, and geographic variability in the association between income and life expectancy and to identify factors related to small area variation.

Design and Setting:  Income data for the US population were obtained from 1.4 billion deidentified tax records between 1999 and 2014. Mortality data were obtained from Social Security Administration death records. These data were used to estimate race- and ethnicity-adjusted life expectancy at 40 years of age by household income percentile, sex, and geographic area, and to evaluate factors associated with differences in life expectancy.

Exposure:  Pretax household earnings as a measure of income.

Main Outcomes and Measures:  Relationship between income and life expectancy; trends in life expectancy by income group; geographic variation in life expectancy levels and trends by income group; and factors associated with differences in life expectancy across areas.

Results:  The sample consisted of 1 408 287 218 person-year observations for individuals aged 40 to 76 years (mean age, 53.0 years; median household earnings among working individuals, $61 175 per year). There were 4 114 380 deaths among men (mortality rate, 596.3 per 100 000) and 2 694 808 deaths among women (mortality rate, 375.1 per 100 000). The analysis yielded 4 results.

First, higher income was associated with greater longevity throughout the income distribution. The gap in life expectancy between the richest 1% and poorest 1% of individuals was 14.6 years (95% CI, 14.4 to 14.8 years) for men and 10.1 years (95% CI, 9.9 to 10.3 years) for women.

Second, inequality in life expectancy increased over time. Between 2001 and 2014, life expectancy increased by 2.34 years for men and 2.91 years for women in the top 5% of the income distribution, but by only 0.32 years for men and 0.04 years for women in the bottom 5% (P < .001 for the differences for both sexes).

Third, life expectancy for low-income individuals varied substantially across local areas. In the bottom income quartile, life expectancy differed by approximately 4.5 years between areas with the highest and lowest longevity. Changes in life expectancy between 2001 and 2014 ranged from gains of more than 4 years to losses of more than 2 years across areas.

Fourth, geographic differences in life expectancy for individuals in the lowest income quartile were significantly correlated with health behaviors such as smoking (r = −0.69, P < .001), but were not significantly correlated with access to medical care, physical environmental factors, income inequality, or labor market conditions.

Life expectancy for low-income individuals was positively correlated with the local area fraction of immigrants (r = 0.72, P < .001), fraction of college graduates (r = 0.42, P < .001), and government expenditures (r = 0.57, P < .001).

Conclusions and Relevance:  In the United States between 2001 and 2014, higher income was associated with greater longevity, and differences in life expectancy across income groups increased over time. However, the association between life expectancy and income varied substantially across areas; differences in longevity across income groups decreased in some areas and increased in others. The differences in life expectancy were correlated with health behaviors and local area characteristics.

JAMA. 2016;315(16):1750-1766. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.4226


Teacher asked young Patrick Murphy: "What do you do at Christmas time?" Patrick addressed the class:

"Well Miss Jones, me and my twelve brothers and sisters go to midnight mass and we sing hymns; then we come home very late and we put mince pies by the back door and hang up our stockings. Then all excited, we go to bed and wait for Father Christmas to come with all our toys."

"Very nice Patrick," she said. "Now Jimmy Brown, what do you do at Christmas?"

"Well, Miss Jones, me and my sister also go to church with Mum and Dad and we sing carols and we get home ever so late. We put cookies and milk by the chimney and we hang up our stockings. We hardly sleep, waiting for Santa Claus to bring our presents."

Realising there was a Jewish boy in the class and not wanting to leave him out of the discussion, she asked, "Now, Isaac Cohen, what do you do at Christmas?"

Isaac said, "Well, it's the same thing every year. Dad comes home from the office, we all pile into the Rolls Royce, then we drive to Dad's toy factory. When we get inside, we look at all the empty shelves . . . and begin to sing: 'What A Friend We Have in Jesus'. Then we all go to the Bahamas."

Soft boycott: How the news of a revolutionary new cancer treatment was spun to hide its Israeli origins

The past 24 hours have seen wall-to-wall coverage of an amazing breakthrough on prostate cancer. Newspapers, TV, radio and social media have all carried reports of the research.

According to the BBC report:

“Surgeons have described a new treatment for early stage prostate cancer as ‘truly transformative’. The approach, tested across Europe, uses lasers and a drug made from deep sea bacteria to eliminate tumours, but without causing severe side effects. Trials on 413 men - published in The Lancet Oncology - showed nearly half of them had no remaining trace of cancer.”

And when I heard the report on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, I thought it does indeed sound amazing.

But let’s leave the science aside and look at another aspect of the story.

Guess where the breakthrough happened.

I say that not as a figure of speech but as an instruction – because from almost all the coverage, you would indeed have to guess where the research was carried out: the Weizmann Institute of Science, in Israel.

Not once in the Today programme report was it mentioned.

And in this BBC report there is a throwaway line right at the end detailing the originators of the science.

I wish I could believe this is just an honest mistake – that, purely by chance, the Israeli origins of a medical breakthrough had been left out. But I’m afraid I don’t think that – and I don’t think you will, either. It happens too often and too regularly for it to be pure chance. It’s what I call the soft-boycott strategy.

The campaign for BDS is so obviously racist and antisemitic, singling out the Jewish homeland alone in the world for boycott, that some of those who would rather Israel doesn’t exist choose an alternative approach – ignoring anything remotely positive about Israel and focusing only on bad news that fits their anti-Israel agenda.

And it is an unfortunate fact that many of those Israel haters work in the media and have the ability to shape perceptions.

So the huge and entirely disproportionate number of Israeli scientific breakthroughs are reported as if they have simply happened by magic, with their Israeli origins ignored.

The Weizmann Institute itself is in little doubt about this. As they told the JC: "We were naturally disappointed that the media coverage of game-changing treatment for prostate cancer managed to avoid any reference to Israeli scientists' fundamental role in this breakthrough treatment.

The discovery  of this drug called TOOKAD – meaning light in Hebrew - was the result of over fifteen years of painstaking research by Avigdor Scherz and Yoram Salomon at Israel’s Weizmann Insitute of Science. It was disappointing, but not entirely surprising, that the news providers should consider that fact unworthy of a mention."

Not entirely surprising - a classic piece of British understatement from an Israeli. It means, of course, entirely predictable. Which is why this latest egregious example was far from the first, and will certainly not be the last.


Immigration Control or Cultural Suicide

Trump has an opportunity to rectify Obama's disastrous record.

Now that the Left’s quasi-hysterical effort to derail the election results has failed, President-elect Donald Trump will begin getting down to the business of governance. And based on his campaign promises, one of the first items on his to-do list should be immigration, both legal and illegal. On the legal front, a lawsuit filed against Walt Disney Parks and Resorts last week should bring the abuses of the H-1B visa program front and center. On the illegal front, building a wall resonates, but there are far more effective efforts that can be conducted before that wall becomes physical reality.

First up, 30 of the approximately 250 IT workers fired by Disney almost two years ago and replaced with H-1B visa-holders — who they were forced to train as a condition of their severance packages — are taking an unusual tack in their quest for damages. Because the visa-holders are all from India, the fired IT workers are alleging they are victims of racial discrimination. “Between October 2014 and January 31, 2015, Plaintiffs applied for employment in several available positions posted by Defendant,” the filing states. “Plaintiffs were well-qualified for these positions, but were denied further employment with Defendant. On or about January 31, 2015, Defendant terminated the employment of Plaintiffs based solely on their national origin and race, replacing them with Indian nationals.”

Clever, but not likely to succeed. Disney, like many other American companies, almost certainly isn’t using race as a criterion for hiring foreigners to replace Americans. One sentence in UK newspaper The Register says it all: “Companies love H-1B workers because they are cheaper than hiring American staff, and they complain less and generally work longer hours because if their employer sacks them, they have only 14 days to leave the country.”

But not exactly. On the last day of 2015, Barack Obama issued an executive action offering extensions to high-skilled H-1B workers that would give them more time to be approved for a permanent employment-based green card. This would allow these workers to stay in America even if their employment was terminated.

This is a transparent effort to bypass the visa caps established by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) of 1952. The INA states that no nation may receive more than 7% of the total number of green cards available in a given year. This would bust the system completely and give far greater numbers of foreign college graduates a chance to compete with their American counterparts. “What is going on is he is effectively giving Green Cards to people on H-1B visas who are unable to get Green Cards due to the quotas,” explained immigration lawyer John Miano at the time. “It could be over 100,000.”

With the election of Trump, times have changed. During his campaign he made it clear where he stands on the issue, contending the H-1B program “is neither high-skilled nor immigration: these are temporary foreign workers, imported from abroad, for the explicit purpose of substituting for American workers at lower pay. … I will end forever the use of the H-1B as a cheap labor program, and institute an absolute requirement to hire American workers first for every visa and immigration program. No exceptions.”

Since his election, he has set up an advisory group of prominent CEOs called President’s Strategic and Policy Forum. It’s mission is “drawing on private sector expertise and cutting the government red tape that is holding back our businesses from hiring, innovating, and expanding right here in America,” Trump stated Dec. 2. It will hold its first meeting at the White House in February.

Ironically — or is that tellingly — one of those CEOs is Disney’s Bob Iger. Stay tuned.

On the illegal immigration front, Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) director Mark Krikorian rightly insists that America’s border problem “isn’t so much physical as political.” And there is nothing more political than Obama’s de facto catch-and-release program. “We’re releasing basically everybody as long as you’re not from the country of Mexico,” National Border Patrol Council president Brand Judd told a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee last May. “And even if you’re from the country of Mexico and you claim that you have a credible fear and you’re asking for asylum for one reason or another — we’re still releasing those individuals.”

Judd estimated a whopping 80% of apprehended illegals have been released into America and stanching this flow, Krikorian asserts, “is probably more important than the wall, and quicker to implement.”

The urgency of this cannot be underestimated. During the month of November alone, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CPB) apprehended a staggering 47,214 illegal aliens — as in nearly 1,574 per day — at the U.S.-Mexico border. That total marked the fifth straight month of escalation.

Next up and equally as important (if not more so), is cracking down of those who overstay their visas. Such overstays account for as much as half of the illegal population. As Kirkorian explains, this problem needs to be addressed at both ends of the equation. The State Department has to be far more circumspect in terms of issuing visas to people likely to remain here illegally, while the Department of Homeland Security has to make sure those who are supposed to leave do so at the appropriate time.

Once again, it’s all about political will. A Trump State Department and DHS are far more likely to enforce the same immigration laws an Obama administration was either willing to ignore or undermine. Thus, a wall mandated by the Secure Fence Act of 2006 can be completed and expanded. An exit visa system mandated in 1996 and re-mandated seven times can be instituted. A crackdown on businesses who hire illegals mandated by the 1986 immigration law and gutted by unilateral Obama edicts can be enforced with vigor. Sanctuary cities ignored by the Obama Justice Department can be forcefully challenged.

And a State Department that has routinely refused to pressure countries to take back both legal and illegal criminal alien deportees can apply new pressures.

All of the above upends an odious status quo embraced by both political parties. One aspect of it is galling: Americans are expected to compete economically with non-citizens and those here illegally, even if that competition drives down wages and makes jobs harder to find.

The other aspect of it borders on insanity, and the latest carnage in Germany exemplifies it: as in the EU, Americans are expected to endure a “reasonable” level of general lawlessness, serious crime — and, yes even domestic terror — so the ruling class can maintain their commitment to “diversity” and “multiculturalism.”

A Trump administration must thoroughly reject all of it.

Self-inflicted cultural suicide — or Rule of Law, defensible borders and economic stability. Making America Great Again demands a full embrace of the latter choice. Trump won the presidency in large part based on promises to be proactive on the immigration front. Millions of Americans expect nothing less — the sooner, the better.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here



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