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Less Income Means a Shorter Life

David Callahan

Opponents of income redistribution often argue that taking from the haves and giving to the have-nots is at odds with individual rights. 

But here's a simple fact: There is no surer way to lose all your individual rights than to be dead.

And evidence keeps mounting that people with lower incomes die earlier. In effect, one result of inequality that the all-important right of living is enjoyed more by some members of a society than others. 

This is not a new point, of course. We have long known, for example, that people without health insurance are more likely to die when faced with major illnesses or medical emergencies. One study estimated that 26,000 Americans died in 2010 because they lacked health insurance.