The economists, Anne Case and Angus Deaton, argue in a paper released Thursday that the loss of steady middle-income jobs for those with high school degrees or less has triggered broad problems for this group. They are more likely than their college-educated counterparts, for example, to be unemployed, unmarried or afflicted with poor health.
“This is a story of the collapse of the white working class,” Deaton said in an interview. “The labor market has very much turned against them.”
Those dynamics helped fuel the rise of President Donald Trump, who won widespread support among whites with only a high school degree. Yet Deaton said his policies are unlikely to reverse these trends, particularly the health care legislation now before the House that Trump is championing. That bill would lead to higher premiums for older Americans, the Congressional Budget Office has found.
“The policies that you see, seem almost perfectly designed to hurt the very people who voted for him,” Deaton said.