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The key question is why, and exploring it provides answers that suggest that the rage dominating American politics will only get worse.For decades, people in rich countries have lived longer lives. But in a now-famous paper, economists Angus Deaton and Anne Case find that over the last 15 years, one group – middle-aged whites in America – constitutes an alarming trend. Trade makes up only 23 percent of the American economy, compared with 71 percent in Germany and 45 percent in France.While mortality rates for middle-aged whites have either stayed flat or risen, the rates for Hispanics and blacks have continued to decline significantly. These groups live in the same country and face greater economic pressures than whites. The Hispanic and immigrant experience in America is different, of course.Working-class whites don't think of themselves as an elite group. But, in a sense, they were, certainly compared with blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans and most immigrants. They were central to America's economy, its society, indeed its very identity.
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