AMAC Exclusive – By Seamus Brennan
With the perilous state of the U.S. economy and looming threat of a recession at some point over the next year, the American Middle Class finds itself in a historically vulnerable financial position. But while the threat of hard economic times is by now obvious, Middle Class Americans are also facing a hidden health crisis that isn’t making headlines.
“Under the radar” is how Casey Mulligan, former Chief Economist for the Council of Economic Advisors under President Trump, described the alarming rise in health issues for Middle Class Americans in an interview with AMAC Newsline. While the media largely ignores the problem, the numbers tell an alarming story.
“People’s health is in bad shape by the standards of, I’d say, three years ago,” he said. According to data that goes through the end of 2021, Mulligan explained, the nation has suffered from “an abnormally high rate of death from motor vehicle accidents, from homicide, from diabetes, heart [disease], stroke—that type of thing—drugs, alcohol. These are all abnormally high.”
Though deaths resulting from these causes have long been problematic, “they’re a lot higher” than they once were and are now disproportionately affecting Middle Class Americans in noticeable ways that are looming “just as large”—if not larger—than any setbacks from inflation. Many of these trends, Mulligan continued, can easily be traced back to Covid-era restrictions and prolonged lockdowns and quarantines. “Typically,” Mulligan explained, Middle Class Americans “aren’t happy” with indeterminate lockdown states, which contribute in no small part to deteriorating qualities of health. A survey by the American Psychological Association, for instance, found that a whopping 42 percent of Americans gained weight since the start of the pandemic, with an average gain of 29 pounds. These forces, Mulligan said, put Middle Class individuals “that much further behind when we get back to normal.”
“There’s a lot of people in America, and they have unique circumstances, and the government—Fauci and those types of people—can’t even begin to comprehend, let alone direct” struggling Americans out of their adverse situations, thus keeping them effectively cemented in “abnormal” and unhealthy lifestyles. “We could have dealt with that pandemic with a more normal lifestyle like Sweden did,” Mulligan noted. “Their Coronavirus deaths are kind of in line with ours, but we don’t see these deaths from all these other causes… Obviously nobody lives forever in any country, but these abnormal deaths” simply haven’t occurred because “Sweden kept life pretty normal.”
“People had to reinvent their lives, and any time you have to reinvent something, the first rendition is not going to be so great. So, the policy would be to avoid [forcing] people to reinvent their lives, and allow them to continue with what worked for them before,” Mulligan said. “And there’s still, in Chicago, in New York—people are not living as normal. Their offices aren’t open, a lot of them—either one or two days a week—it’s still not normal life.”
“A lot of these politicians are actively preventing us from going back to normal,” he continued, referring to Biden’s attempt to prolong mask mandates on airplanes and extend other restrictions. “And I don’t see why we should expect health to get back to normal when everything else isn’t allowed to get back to normal.”
The first step in returning back to any sort of normalcy, Mulligan said, would be a simple acknowledgement from government leaders of the conditions they themselves have created. “They’re clueless. Some of them insisted that—if you go back a year and a half—they insisted that this wasn’t happening.”
By contrast, Mulligan claimed, former President Donald Trump had the right instinct by urging Americans to return to a normal lifestyle as quickly as reasonably possible. Biden, he said, should take a page out of his predecessor’s book and start “making people aware of the sacrifices that we continue to make as long as we are not back to normal.”
Covid-related lockdowns have also led to a handful of significant disparities between red states and blue states, Mulligan observes—particularly when it comes to homicide rates. According to his research, during the pandemic, homicides surged 25 percent in red states and 50 percent in blue states—a trend that continued at least through the end of 2021. The increase in homicides and other crimes resulting from lockdown policies has “affected the Middle Class in ways even more shocking because they’re not used to it,” he said.
Coupled with other pandemic-era setbacks like school closures, Mulligan continued, unnecessarily drawn-out lockdown policies have led to a marked decline in the health and economic wellbeing of Middle Class families.
For someone who has conceitedly referred to himself as “Middle Class Joe” for the duration of his near-half-century in the United States government, one would think that President Biden would be more worried than anyone about the current predicaments of Middle Class Americans. As Mulligan noted, the solutions for solving the problems facing the Middle Class remain readily available, but Biden has thus far failed to reach for them.
But as Mulligan also says, acknowledging and ultimately addressing the problems faced by Middle Class Americans would require something of a “personal sacrifice” that Joe Biden and other Democrats are likely unwilling to make. To “hope to fix and alleviate a problem, you have to acknowledge it, and that’s going to involve a personal sacrifice for a lot of these leaders, because they denied it was happening and now they’re going to have to come up and say, ‘Actually, it is happening, and it’s ongoing—I was wrong,’” he said. “But that ain’t going to go too easily.”
If his first 15 months as president are any indication, personal sacrifice remains a foreign concept to Joe Biden. Luckily, however, midterm elections are only six months away—and Biden may soon be forced to finally take the hint.
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