EPA: A human life is worth $7.9 million
Photo: Bart HoffsteinUh, did you know the Environmental Protection Agency thinks you’re worth $7.9 million? Yeah, you. Putting a dollar value on people is how it figures out whether stuff like, oh, reducing pollution is a good idea. (Hint: yes.) The government’s been doing this for decades, but the Associated Press reports that this understandably inflammatory practice could be changing.
The EPA wanted to soften “value of a statistical life” to “value of mortality risk” (lame!) but a science advisory board nixed that on Thursday. The EPA also proposed changing person-value from $7.9 million to “7.90 per micro-risk per person per year.” Micro-risk meaning one in a million. This way “we’re not putting a value on a human life,” as the EPA’s chief environmental economist told the AP. Critics say it’s just an attempt to obscure environmental choices by slathering them with jargon, and people won’t be fooled. (You can check out the EPA’s proposal here [PDF].)
Maybe you remember hearing about the whole price-tag-for-each-person thing in 2002? That was when Bush wanted old people to be worth 38 percent less than those under 70. (Nice, huh? Bush, my grandma is coming for you.) The human life value fell to $7 million in 2004, but since Obama was elected, we’re back up to $7.9 million. Thanks, Barack!