Senior Citizen Diss-count
Anti-war protestors have accused President Bush of placing too little value on human life. Now the Bush administration is trying to literally devalue not Iraqi lives but American ones. The White House is pushing federal agencies to cut the dollar value they place on a human life when determining the costs and benefits of policy changes, such as curbing emissions from power plants. The U.S. EPA generally bases its calculations on a value of $6.1 million per human life, but the administration argues that the lives of old or sick people should be valued at considerably less — in one recent assessment, as low as $96,000. This sort of shift could benefit industry while leading to weaker public health protections on everything from toxic-waste cleanup to food labeling. Some religious conservatives are joining environmentalists in crying foul. “In general, if you’re valuing one life over another, we’ve got lots of problems here,” said Walt Grazer of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops.