A big silver lining for deficit hawks
Those expensive baby boomers are killing themselves in droves:
“It is the baby boomer group where we see the highest rates of suicide,” said the C.D.C.’s deputy director, Ileana Arias. “There may be something about that group, and how they think about life issues and their life choices that may make a difference.”
The rise in suicide may also stem from the economic downturn over the past decade. Historically, suicide rates rise during times of financial stress and economic setbacks. “The increase does coincide with a decrease in financial standing for a lot of families over the same time period,” said Dr. Arias.
Another factor may be the widespread availability of opioid drugs like OxyContin and oxycodone, which can be particularly deadly in large doses.
Although most suicides are still by firearms, officials said there was a marked increase in poisoning deaths, which includes intentional overdoses of prescription drugs, and hangings. Poisoning deaths were up 24 percent overall during the 10-year period and hangings were up 81 percent.
Dr. Arias noted that the higher suicide rates might be due to a series of life and financial circumstances that are unique to the baby boomer generation. Men and women in that age group are often coping with the stress of caring for aging parents while still providing financial and emotional support to adult children.
“Their lives are configured a little differently than it has been in the past for that age group,” Dr. Arias said. “It may not be that they are more sensitive or that they have a predisposition to suicide, but that they may be dealing with more.”
But hey, look at the bright side: Social security and health care costs are very likely to come down if there are fewer old and sick people. Good news!