No one, in my most humble opinion, has been writing better stuff than Michael Mandel recently. I would like to cover some of his writings on innovation, among our most important economic issues. First, I found his Nanny State post interesting. So, a little quiz he prepared.
So here’s a question for you: The accidental death rate for kids 5-14 today is about 5.4 deaths per 100,000. In 1965, the accidental death rate for this age group was:
a) about the same as today’s death rate.
b) 11, or double today’s death rate
c) 15, or triple today’s death rate.
d) 19, or more than triple today’s death rate.
And let’s do a related question. The accidental death rate for kids 1-4 is 9.5 per 100,000. In 1965 the death rate for this age group was:
a) about the same as today’s death rate
b) 19, or about double today’s rate
c) 29, or about triple today’s rate
d) 33, or more than triple’s today’s rate
Got your answer? Ok, see below the fold.
The answer for both is d. Mandel believes that because we have increased our wealth, we can devote some of that to making changes which make our kids safer. Among those would be child safety caps, removing lead paint from toys and safety helmets for kids. Almost all of these have been done through government programs. While I have often been annoyed at having to pry off a safety cap or deal with pages of safety instructions, it appears to have made a huge difference in the welfare of our children.
So here’s the question. Was it worth it? Moms, Dads, was it worth the expenditure of money and time, the hassles with safety devices to reduce childhood deaths by that much? If repealing the Nanny State meant returning to those 1965 death rates, would it be worth it just to repeal the Nanny State?