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Some Things Are Getting Cheaper

A.K Gupta Jul 17, 2008

Despite roaring inflation, one thing is becoming cheaper: your life. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has decided that when doing a cost/benefit analysis to issue life-saving regulations, a “statistical life” should be worth $6.9 million, instead of the previous $7.8 million. For example, if an air pollution proposal would save an estimated 3,000 lives at the cost of $21 billion, the lifesaving benefits would be worthwhile under the former amount, but not at $6.9 million per life. One economist whose work was used by the EPA to calculate the values, says a statistical life should be worth $8.8 million today.

This is the second time President Bush’s EPA has cut the value of a life since 2004, and recalls another episode in 2002 when the EPA wanted to slash the value of an elderly person’s life by 38 percent compared to someone under 70 years old. But at least it’s better than being an Iraqi: the Pentagon offers $2,500 if they are “accidentally” killed by U.S. forces.