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Friday, July 11, 2008

EPA says life under Bush less valuable

The Bush administration is probably the first administration in history to admit that the value of American life has declined during its time in office.


"It's not just the American dollar that's losing value. A government agency has decided that an American life isn't worth what it used to be.
"The "value of a statistical life" is $6.9 million in today's dollars, the Environmental Protection Agency reckoned in May — a drop of nearly $1 million from just five years ago.

"The Associated Press discovered the change after a review of cost-benefit analyses over more than a dozen years....

"EPA's cut "doesn't make sense," said Vanderbilt University economist Kip Viscusi. EPA partly based its reduction on his work. "As people become more affluent, the value of statistical lives go up as well. It has to." Viscusi also said no study has shown that Americans are less willing to pay to reduce risks....

"In 2002, the EPA decided the value of elderly people was 38 percent less than that of people under 70. After the move became public, the agency reversed itself."

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