Thursday, May 23, 2013

The New Deal Reduced Suicide Rates and Infectious Diseases

(WPA poster, image courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

"Roosevelt took bold steps, at a time when debt was 180 percent of GDP, to boost financial relief to the newly unemployed, to save Americans from homelessness. And we’ve studied the effects of his landmark program, the New Deal, on health...the New Deal helped reduce suicides, reduced tuberculosis and pneumonias, and was in fact the biggest and one of the most effective public health programs on U.S. soil."

--Dr. David Stuckler, Oxford University, in an interview about his new book (co-authored by Stanford University epidemiologist Dr. Sanjay Basu) "The Body Economic: Why Austerity Kills."

The Centers for Disease Control recently highlighted an increase in suicide, due, in part, to America's economic downturn. Stuckler and Basu argue that policy choices made after an economic downturn can increase or decrease suicide rates and infectious disease outbreaks.

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