Life expectancy is falling in the United States. Life expectancy is possibly the most definitive indicator of the health of a nation. It is a proxy of material things such as adequate housing, access to clean water and nutritious food, a clean environment, access to doctors, healthcare, and hospitals and good schools. There are also emotional factors; a national feeling of pride and unity, a can-do attitude, a belief that one is valuable, and a hope for a better future. These shared values drive people and countries to greatness. It is no coincidence that countries that rank high on freedom also rank high on happiness and life expectancy. The lists of the top 10 freest and top 10 happiest countries both include Switzerland, New Zealand, Denmark, Finland, Australia, Sweden, and Luxembourg. All seven have a higher life expectancy than the US. In the case of Switzerland, it is five years longer, for Denmark, Sweden, and Australia it is 4 years. The U.S. has fallen to 15 in the world freedom index and now is just below the Czech Republic at 19 in happiness.
Polls show that 71 % of voters think the country is heading in the wrong direction. Our declining score in the world supports that conclusion. That 71% includes some who think we need a bigger, stronger, and more powerful government actively enforcing equality across all aspects of our lives and another group wanting a smaller and less intrusive government constrained to the role defined by the Constitution. We should look at what has been proven to work as our country lurches towards a centralized and powerful federal government that strips individual rights in the process. If socialism and its promises worked, then Russia, North Korea, Venezuela, and China would be at the top of the happy list. For 14 years we have scaled Chicago politics up to the national level. It never worked in Chicago, and it is not working in Washington. It is time to reinstate the freedoms enshrined in our Constitution. With freedom, health and happiness will return.
Joe Grant, Wiscasset