August 31, 2018

How Much Is Your Life Worth?

Ask the Government

James Broughel

Senior Research Fellow

On Tuesday the Trump administration proposed new pollution limits for coal-fired power plants. While there’s likely to be no shortage of controversy surrounding the new regulation, which replaces more stringent limits set in motion by the Obama administration, less well-known is what’s buried deep within an Environmental Protection Agency analysis accompanying these new guidelines: a dollar value assigned to human lives.

It sounds like something out of a dystopian science-fiction novel, but the U.S. government actually computes this on a regular basis. Agencies put a dollar value on our lives to gauge whether life-saving policies are worth their cost...

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