Well, actually, I’ll let Seth Borenstein of the Associated Press tell you:

It’s not just the American dollar that’s losing value. A government agency has decided that an American life isn’t worth what it used to be.

The “value of a statistical life” is $6.9 million in today’s dollars, the Environmental Protection Agency reckoned in May – a drop of nearly $1 million from just five years ago.

The Associated Press discovered the change after a review of cost-benefit analyses over more than a dozen years.

Though it may seem like a harmless bureaucratic recalculation, the devaluation has real consequences.  When drawing up regulations, government agencies put a value on human life and then weigh the costs versus the lifesaving benefits of a proposed rule. The less a life is worth to the government, the less the need for a regulation, such as tighter restrictions on pollution.

Is this really how our society articulates the value and worth of life, with dollar amounts?  Disgusting.

The article itself, which is just bizarre in my opinion, does try to assure us that no one, including the EPA or the Bush Administration, views life only in dollar amounts.  But still:

At the same time that EPA was trimming the value of life, the Department of Transportation twice raised its life value figure. But its number is still lower than the EPA’s.

Just sad really….

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