I am looking forward to teaching Explain Pain courses in Dallas, Boston and Atlanta in Feb 2014. Before I travel overseas I like to get a feel of the country’s mood – something I find a challenge in the US as sometimes I think it’s made up of at least 6 different countries. I look for issues and policies that may influence pain and stress. I have just become aware of a policy that will influence pain and which I, as an outsider, just don’t comprehend. Last week the Republican dominated House passed a bill depriving nearly 4 million people of food assistance next year. It has been noted that this is almost the same number of people who have kept above the poverty line because of that aid. I also don’t understand why Republican supporters inflict this pain on themselves – in 254 counties where food stamp use doubled in the recent economic troubles, Mitt Romney won 213 of them (Egan, T 2013, 21-22 September International Herald Tribune). Being left out of society, lack of nutrition and stresses of poverty are known negative influences on pain. One in four Americans and Australians have ongoing pain.
I am sure that there are two sides to this story. I would be grateful if our American readers could explain this. Especially as it comes at a time when the US economy is the rise agian – for example I have just read in “The Economist” that 9 of the world’s 10 biggest companies were American – there were only 3 in the top 10 in 2009. Thanks
– David Butler