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  1. #1

    The Welfare State Works

    Disease Prevalence, Disease Incidence, and Mortality in the United States and in England

    We find disease incidence and prevalence are both higher among Americans in age groups 55-64 and 70-80 indicating that Americans suffer from higher past cumulative disease risk and experience higher immediate risk of new disease onset compared to the English. In contrast, age specific mortality rates are similar in the two countries with an even higher risk among the English after age 65. Our second aim explains large financial gradients in mortality in the two countries. Among 55-64 year olds, we estimate similar health gradients in income and wealth in both countries, but for 70-80 year old, we find no income gradient in UK. Standard behavioural risk factors (work, marriage, obesity, exercise, and smoking) almost fully explain income gradients among 55-64 years old in both countries and a significant part among Americans 70-80 years old. The most likely explanation of no English income gradient relates to their income benefit system. Below the median, retirement benefits are largely flat and independent of past income and hence past health during the working years. Finally, we report evidence using a long panel of American respondents that their subsequent mortality is not related to large changes in wealth experienced during the prior ten year period.

  2. #2
    Thanks Jeremy, it's an interesting paper - just having a skim through. Not sure how much influence academics have in these debates though! Seems ideology and vested interests were far more prominent in the arguments around Obamacare for example.

    I also wonder how much of the difference is down to welfare and how much is down to other cultural factors?

  3. #3
    My landlord is early retired on health grounds, both he and his wife are incapacitated, probably each others carers, their 2 daughters have 2 chidren each with various fathers. They have 5 homes paid for plus 2 flats provided by the state. This together with other income from dubious sources provides wealth beyond my wildest dreams. As a labour party member and previously shop steward to a national industry he has been responsible for crippling industrial strikes.
    Despite all that has happened he firmly believes that "the money is there", and despite what the goverment intend, he is right, it will always be there because we are simply a soft touch.
    For myself, having paid in and received nothing through mi life, I say close the welfare system and close the NHS. Then at least we shall return to 'survival of the fitest' and no 'fatest' as we have today.

  4. #4
    A one off example of seemingly excess, is not proof that everyone is on the game.
    Are you also advocating that we should have no unions?

  5. #5
    One of many not one off, stop press! there is another bastard on the way. I can count on one hand those I know who make a positive financial contribution, the vast majority are a drain. No business could survive this way. As for unions, we would be poorer without them. I lived in poverty from 1968 until the unions dragged us out with the pay boom and of course inflation. I buried a wife and child in paupers graves, both died from chest infection brought on by cold and damp. Yes I am bitter, it is not something I like to recall. However there have been many times when my union has 'downed tools' for a week or two for no gain but simply for fun. No fun if you can't afford a bag of coal.
    I know we must balance our books after gordons vote-catching lunacy but can it be done? "the moneys there" the unions believe and disruption is already under way. Seeing the greed and excess at board level who can blame them?
    The crap is about to hit the fan.

  6. #6
    I am sorry to hear about your poverty and paupers graves.
    However I cannot help but note, that without benefits there would be a lot more of them,. Is that your objective?
    Also there is nothing perfect in our world, there are/have been excesses in unions. employers, banks, landlords, tenants etc.
    They all have a role to play. The object of the exercise is to minimise excesses, or market imperfections, and to spot them as soon as they arise.
    Failure to do the latter has put us in the current predicament.
    Let's hope for everyone's sake that the action taken now, turns out to be, to increase the wealth of all of us in the not too distant future.
    Please update yourself on the following Citywire articles to get a further understanding of the issues involved. Getting things just right for everyone is not really possible. Try
    -The astronomical wrongness of bankers
    -Are we moving to a European renting culture
    -Government will create economic dynamism etc


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