Maher, Weiner Suggest Reagan’s Economic Policies and Conservatives Are Partially To Blame For Increase In Suicides

HBO’s “Real Time” host Bill Maher and former Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-NY), suggested the increase in mortality among white Americans aged 45-54 who lack college degrees, which Maher said is believed to be due to alcohol, drugs, and suicides can be blamed on Reagan’s economic policies and conservatives on Friday.

Maher said an increased of sense of despair and hopelessness is “in large part of the economic policies of Ronald Reagan that have been followed through for all these years.”

After David Frum argued people commit suicide because they feel alone, Maher read a quotation from two Princeton professors that the preferences of average Americans don’t have much, if any impact on policy, before stating, “And you can go down the list of issues, you know, like legalizing pot, most people want now, minimum wage raised, all those kind of issues. Doesn’t matter. Doesn’t matter what the people think because it’s an oligarchy now. Don’t you think that has something to do with it?”

Maher further argued, “The root of it is the greed. The root of it is that we’re not all in it together. … That’s the sickness at the root of society.”

Weiner then argued, “I just think there’s also a fundamental sense that a lot of Americans have, and maybe it’s in this — is tied into this, that things are not on the level. They don’t believe that politics is really on the level. They don’t believe that the media is really telling us what we need to know. They think that big institutions are running their lives and they have less control themselves, and that is a political failing. I don’t think you can lay everything at the feet of politics, but it is a political failing, and it’s being reinforced by one side of the political spectrum that has us at war with one another, that says it’s that guy that’s doing it to you, it’s the Mexicans that are doing it to you, it’s these guys, it’s these liberals that are doing it to you.”

He added, after Frum objected, “the conversation is getting skewed, though. When you have a group of people in the political scene, who are benefiting by having the conflict among us, yes I think it is isolating. And I don’t think by the way that progressives talk like that. We do have this notion of lifting people up.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett