"Death rates have been increasing for middle-aged white women, decreasing for men"

You've probably read about the recent Case and Deaton paper about the increase in the death rate among middle-aged white Americans. Andrew Gelman at Columbia has a very interesting further analysis of the data and his conclusion is that the uptrend is solely in the women:

Since 2005, the death rate has been rising for middle-aged white women and declining for middle-aged white men. Not by a lot—we’re talking a change of 4% over a decade—but this is what we see.

Comments by John Thacker suggest that this might be explained by smoking.

"The 2015 Budget Act Spends Now and Saves Later"

My clock says it's 2015. The Republicans have a majority of both houses of Congress. Can't they do any better than this?

Governor John Kasich claimed in the October 28 Republican Debate that the budget deal, formally known as the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, is “the same old stuff since I left. You spend the money today and then you hope you’re going to save money tomorrow.” In the sense that the Bipartisan Budget Act includes near-term spending in exchange for later cuts, this statement is largely true.

"Reframing the Debate about Payday Lending"

From researchers at the New York Federal Reserve. Should change the debate over this much-maligned practice considerably.

Except for the ten to twelve million people who use them every year, just about everybody hates payday loans. Their detractors include many law professors, consumer advocates, members of the clergy, journalists, policymakers, and even the President! But is all the enmity justified? We show that many elements of the payday lending critique—their “unconscionable” and “spiraling” fees and their “targeting” of minorities—don’t hold up under scrutiny and the weight of evidence.

"Democrats Asked for Obamacare but Now Try to Duck out of Paying for It"

Yes, indeed. That's who they are, that's what they do.

The Cadillac tax was never going to be long-lived. It was a lie from the beginning, a part of the great fiction that allowed Democrats to claim that Barack Obama’s signature health-insurance initiative would add “not one dime” to the deficit, as the president repeatedly insisted. But the tax was and is bitterly opposed by important Democratic constituencies: the AFL-CIO and the American Federation of Teachers, the members of which enjoy very generous health-care programs (the teachers at your direct expense, suckers) and don’t much like paying taxes despite their endless nattering about the need to make sure everybody pays his “fair share.”

The teachers’ unions, it should be noted, are the biggest political spenders in the country — not the NRA, not the Koch brothers, not the Chamber of Commerce or Big Oil or Big Whatever.