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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Being In The 99 Percent Could Be Hazardous To Your Health

Cross-Posted From The Roosevelt Institute’s New Deal 2.0 Blog

One loud message from Occupy Wall Street is an outcry against income inequality. The flipside of that issue, and another grievance of the movement, is sky-high levels of personal debt. When working Americans are taking home less during the recovery, and have seen their share of national income falling for three decades, they must turn to debt to plug the holes and cover the basics. And there are millions of Americans who aren’t even lucky enough to have a job right now.

All of these grave economic concerns are also issues of public health. Strikingly, it turns out that each of the protest’s main causes — income inequality, unemployment, and high levels of debt — are all making us unhealthier.

  • JohnKohls

    Without reading the data from the studies, it’s impossible to know whether foreclosures (or threat thereof) CAUSES these diseases, or whether foreclosures (and the presence of these diseases) are the result of other causes, like poor life training that results in bad diet, low savings, bad spending habits, etc.

    From the information in the essay, the more correct term may be “correlates with declining health” rather than “harms the health”. Japan and Scandinavia, for example, not only have “more equal societies” (whatever that means) but also have populations that are more disposed to save for emergencies rather than spend, to save and use cash rather than credit, to eat sparely rather than piggishly.

    The net result is that they are more healthy because they treat themselves better, and they are less likely to have financial tumoil because they treat money as a resource rather than a commodity.

  • Dik

    Mr. Covert;

    The foreclosures are a result of choices people made when purchasing homes. Blaming banks for the troubles of people in default is akin to blaming slaves for the Civil War.

    Dik Thurston
    Colorado Springs

  • peteserb

    You liberals are really getting desperate. Trying to link diabetis to any type of economic dowturn is absurd. If it were true you could easily trace an upsurge of illness in all past downturns, but then you couldn’t blame the coservatives. Could you??????

  • omgamike

    As a person with Type II diabetes, I can attest to the fact that any kind of stress, be it a physical illness, or high stress levels due to any number of situations, can drastically raise blood sugar levels. It happens to me on occasion. Is this upsurge the fault of conservatives? Indirectly, via the policies they are pushing, yes. It was conservative policies that fueled the collapse of the financial industry, which in turn destroyed the housing markets.

    Yes, there were a lot of people who bought homes that they couldn’t afford. But the responsibility for those bad mortgages needs to be shared with greedy bankers and mortgage firms, who enticed these people to buy something they couldn’t afford, who turned a blind eye to what must have been obvious false statements on income. There is a lot of blame to go around.

    Anyone who cannot see the link between physical health and stress is obviously lacking in fundamental intelligence and common sense.

  • mll

    I have always been amazed that you can directly link a republican’s political beliefs to their vast knowledge of science!(Sarcasm!) I am not sure if it is just regurgitation of crap they hear over and over again, or if any of it is original thought. Research to those kind of people is googling or using wikipedia, and believing what they read. It is easier to just buy the “knowledge” past down through party channels, and buying into it as fact, then denying all thought that goes contrary with theirs.(Mistake, not ‘theirs’, but the science gurus knowledge running the far right.) If people get ill because of stress, maybe you need to get poor and stressed to do your own research. Get laid off, feed you kids junk, see if they get sick. Do some of your own research on every other concept, hypothesis or law of science you debunk because your party does not believe it. Just then, maybe you might not sound so ignorant, white, and brainwashed. (I am anglo, just embarrassed from being clump in with the ignorant majority, spoon-fed by the 1%er’s that know you fear God, and use that to your own destruction) This country is about to bite-it because of people that made the comments above. They, and this is the scary part, do not even know, much less believe they are brainwashed. They will be be the cannon-fodder for the 1%er’s, and believe it is their own ideas they die for. The US just need to take care of its own people, rich (haha) or poor, black(haha), white, Hispanic, red, yellow, or whatever, and quit helping everyone else in the world. Provide medical treatment for all, keep our damn jobs here!, stop selling out to the Chinese, and the oil rich Arab nations, provide jobs, do away with the excess freebies we give people with 10 kids and no desire to work, tax the filthy rich more, quit paying the ludicrous salaries for CEO’s, actors, athletes, and the ilk. Get the hell out of the middle east, which means alternative fuels, and generally quit fighting class struggles, when only the filthy rich benefit.

  • amfleischer

    It’s unfortunate but my husband and I know all to well the health hazards associated with foreclosures. we have been waiting on Bank of America to answer our request for modification to our loan, since April 2009. Medical bills are higher than ever, as my physical health is slowly dropping as well as mental state. my husband has lost the will to live says they have taken it all from us and want more when their ready. we use to be happy and enjoy our family and our own lives, but we drifted apart and now … just exist!

  • JessMarie

    As the parent of a type one diabetic who was diagnosed at 2 years old, I think some people are missing the point of this article. The article states that the observed correlations between foreclosure and health do not prove causation. It just proposes an observed link between the two. I have to say that stress, just as the type 2 diabetic mentioned, is definitely a determinant of the onset of Diabetes as well as genetic predispositions. Stress also interferes with blood sugar levels after diagnosis. Hormones caused by stress can make good blood sugar control impossible despite our best efforts. My son was a very healthy and very happy 2 year old. I believe the stress caused by the birth of his brother and my returning to work contributed a great deal to him developing the disease. Anyone who has ever struggled financially knows the great amount of stress it can cause. This article may not have stated it well, but stress has been proven in study after study to be a cause of numerous autoimmune diseases. Therefore, increases in foreclosures or any other stressful events will correlate to higher numbers of people being diagnosed with these types of diseases. It is not rocket science. Those who think otherwise obviously do not know much about what causes these types of diseases. Liberals and Conservatives alike.

  • JessMarie

    I guess I should have stated that clearer as well. I meant to say the article is stating an observed correlation, It is not meant to prove causation. People who know anything about Science should know that correlation does not prove causation. Honestly, as a previous post stated, causation could go either way. For all we know, the foreclosures could have been caused by more people being sick and unable to work and pay their bills, or some other variable that is not even listed.

  • hgltraveling

    Many of us who are on the brink of foreclosure and are trying to hang on by using most or all of our Social Security Check to pay the high interest rates because none of the banks will help us with modifications becuase our “credit scores” are too low, are eating poorly because we can’t afford good, healthy, nutritious, fresh organic fruits and vegetables. Many are eating at LOAVES AND FISHES, [if we can even afford to travel to one] a non-profit that provides free hot luches on weekdays to those who are economically challenged, but the nutritional value of that food is questionable because even Loaves and Fishes relies on donations of foods from markets, and often those donations are not the most nutritious foods. ie. white bread products, pastas, salad dressings loaded with MSG and other harmful chemicals.
    Extreme psychological stress accompanied by poor nutrition is a recipe for ill health.But the Banks don’t care. All they care about is their bottom line, how much money and bonus checks their CEO’s take home.

  • hgltraveling

    Not all people who are economically challenged and facing foreclosure or extreme poverty, arrived there by bad choices. Some of us lost our jobs, became ill or disabled after we got our mortgages or incurred other unforeseen expenses in the meanwhile. Many of us had “banked” on being able to sell our homes for a profit [a concept propagated by the Banks] but in the face of these kinds of health and other economic challenges, cannot because of the greed, negligence and callous disregard for our welfare by BANKS who refuse to allow loan modifications for those of us who need it most, ie. those with less than perfect credit scores and low income.

  • CarollEdmundMarston

    Many people who are under stress today are not at fault because of poos decisions. What about those who were laid off from their good-paying jobs at age 50 because their jobs had been outsourced? In this kind of recession, replacement jobs are just not available and they are too young to retire and their mortgages haven’t yet been paid. (Quite likely, their so-called retirement “benefits” had already been cut by their employer.) Indeed, they re a part of the 99%…….

  • BIG ED

    You say 11% of those not working sought professional help for depression. Do those people know that they will not be able to get health insurance because it falls into the same catagory as those who have had heart or cancer problems?
    The insurance companies are somewhat at fault for the higer cost of insurance.
    I had heart bypass surgery and cancer. Their little game they tell you is that maybe 3 to 5 years later you might be insurable. Finally had a honest guy tell me that I would never be insured. Now even over 10 years after both problems they still wouldn’t insure anyone.
    Lucky that I am finally on Medicare.
    The insurance companies need to say that after at least 3 to 5 years if no further implications come about and you get a clean bill of health that they will insure you.

  • dpaano

    Dik: Apparently, you are not one of those who is facing foreclosure. A lot of individuals purchased homes when they had good jobs and money coming in; however, suddenly, they were without jobs, no money coming in, etc. Not ALL individuals who purchased homes are to blame. The economy has changed significantly, and things happen that are often unforeseen. Additionally, some people do not really understand the nuances of purchasing a home and crafty mortgage brokers stuck them in impossible loans because they KNEW they could. Let’s face it….the mortgage brokers are working to make money; if they were to stop selling homes in whatever way they can, they wouldn’t be making any money. So, I blame the bankers, the mortgage brokers, and lastly, SOME purchasers, but not ALL of them. Shit happens, as they say even when we don’t think it will.

  • in.the.flood.zone

    As one in the VLI (Very Low Income) bracket despite a Master’s degree, I can say amen to all the points made here.
    Very low income status goes hand in hand with very low self-esteem. What do I have to show for all the years of being responsible, working, trying to develop myself as a worthy human being?
    The rejection quotient skyrockets. You may think you deserve the same kind of regard and courtesy as anyone else, but our American culture rewards appearance: what you own, how you look, what position you have, your lifestyle. In spite of everything we supposedly “know,” clearly there are people who look down on you because you haven’t made more of yourself. This gets worse as you get older. You become a kind of leper, as if poverty is a contagious disease: they don’t want any more contact with you than is absolutely necessary.
    Stress causes illness. Your days and nights are plagued with a kind of permanent low-level stress as your mind is preoccupied with how to stretch a dollar to meet everyday living expenses, never mind even a movie or dinner out. How will you pay the bills, especially now that heating season is upon us? Your nights become sleepless with that sinking feeling in your stomach. Sleeplessness is a known stressor.
    You can’t have a normal social life. You can’t pay to travel to visit family for the holidays, weddings, or just to show your face. You have to think twice to justify even $10 for an event or anything else that might enrich your life and provide some distraction. Since gas prices have bounced up by at least $1 a gallon in the last 2 years, your spare money goes into oil companies’ pockets just to get you to work.
    Your family can’t have a normal life. When you work 2 or 3 part-time jobs, (usually paying under $10 per hour), things at home go to hell because because you’re not there to supervise. You haunt the thrift shops to buy used stuff for your kids to wear to school, someone else’s cast-offs as gifts for birthdays and Christmas.
    Some years ago Louise Ehrenreich wrote a book, “Nicked and Dimed,” in which she “worked” as a waitress to see how the “other” half lived. She still had her house, her insurance coverage, her car, and she was probably paid to do the book. She didn’t know the half of it.