Do you live in a Mortality Penalty state?

Science and arithmetic people. It’s the big reason I fled Texas for Washington State fifteen years ago.

The Great Divide: Education, Despair, and Death
Anne Case and Nobel Laureate in Economics Angus Deaton

Deaths of despair, morbidity, and emotional distress continue to rise in the
United States, largely borne by those without a college degree—the major-
ity of American adults—for many of whom the economy and society are no
longer delivering. Concurrently, all-cause mortality in the United States is
diverging by education in a way not seen in other rich countries. We review
the rising prevalence of pain, despair, and suicide among those without a
bachelor’s degree. Pain and despair created a baseline demand for opioids,
but the escalation of addiction came from pharma and its political enablers.
We examine the politics of despair, or how less-educated people have aban-
doned and been abandoned by the Democratic Party. Whereas healthier
states once voted Republican in presidential elections, now the less-healthy
states do. We review deaths during COVID-19, finding that mortality in
2020 maintained or exacerbated existing relative mortality differences be-
tween those with and without college degrees




I think we know the middle age group they studied have been impacted by loss of good paying jobs in mid career. That can happen when your employer shuts down its plant and shifts production overseas or a newer plant. Mining and lots of manufacturing jobs are like that. And Covid resulting in isolation and less contact with friends and family makes it worse.

The people involved need to retrain and or relocate to find another good job, but friends, family, roots, etc make that difficult. Hence they must settle for less income and a change in lifestyle. This has to be painful and you are not surprised that depression, drugs, and alcohol are part of dealing with the stress.

College graduates tend to be more adaptable to such changes. You are not surprised that they do better at it than the typical blue collar worker.

This is part of the wealth divide discussion.

The article says their data supports that there is a problem, but they offer no solutions.

How do you make retraining and career changes more palatable? No easy answers. Counseling? Mental health assistance? Coaching?

Not charging them double the cost of other industrialized nations for their healthcare would help. And “retrain for what?” More and more jobs are going to disappear with automation – even white-collar ones.

Years ago, entrepreneur Victor Kiam (the guy who liked Norelco electric razors so much 'He bought the company") warned that you can’t have a country where all the manufacturering jobs are gone all we do is “sell insurance to each other”.

Victor Kiam, 74, Entrepreneur Who ‘Bought the Company’



You need jobs that don’t require an advanced degree to do. Unfortunately, those jobs generally can be done more cheaply overseas and/or via automation. We’ll always need plumbers and electricians. Skilled tradesmen will always do well. As I’ve said before, one of those skyscraper crane operators makes probably 2x what I did as a master-degree semiconductor engineer. But there aren’t enough of those types of jobs to satisfy the demand that is coming as more jobs disappear to automation (mostly).

Sounds good to me. I wonder if you can apprentice as a plumber or electrician after say age 50.

Great fields for the young, but do they avoid age discriminations?

People also retrain for a variety of medical fields. EMT, xray tech, lab tech, dental tech, many more. Those are often two years of junior college. But still requires those who can sit in a classroom and pass exams. A problem for too many.

I live a couple of blocks from a large semiconductor plant. They always have a “we’re hiring” sign out front and they have some kind of partnership with the local high schools and community colleges for internships and Summer jobs.

I think people find the “Bunny suits” hot and uncomfortable.


Likely those are “operators”. They move the wafers around the fab. The fab should be cool enough that the bunny suits wouldn’t be unpleasant. Generally the inside temp will be between 65-70F. Most of the processing stations have chambers or tracks that are temperature controlled (e.g. chemical baths, furnaces, etc), but the machines and computers like it cooler.

Interns can be at several levels. We had interns, and often those would result in job offers when they graduated.

As 1poorguy says, the fabs are pretty cool. But, if you are ever in a fab and see people in bunny suits running, FOLLOW THEM. FAST. They are running for a reason.


The plant near me makes the blank wafers from raw polysilicon. So they’re standing around a 2000 degree electric melting furnace making the super pure 300 lb ingots. Then they cut up the ingots into the very thin blank wafers.


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