A few weeks ago the results of a national survey (the U.S. Well-Being Index) was released that ranks states and cities on a variety of health and lifestyle measurements. It found that in 2011, citizens in 43 other states consider themselves more content than Missourians.
When writing about the survey results the St. Louis Post Dispatch newspaper said:
“Poverty is rampant in Missouri, both in its urban areas and in many of its rural outpost…But until Missouri begins taking the welfare of its residents seriously, in terms of both their physical and economic health, misery is likely to be the rule, not the exception.
As long as Missouri has the lowest cigarette tax in the nation, it will be the dumping ground for low-cost tobacco products. The various negative health outcomes that come with smoking will pull the entire state down with it. As long as Missouri politicians believe in giving a free hand to the pay-day loan predators, the state’s poorest residents will be chum for the sharks. As long as Missouri politicians believe the myth that being a low tax, low services state will pull the Show-Me State out of its steep economic decline, its residents and workers will suffer the consequences of misguided policy decisions.”
I find it hard to disagree with the the Post Dispatch. We have the power to make changes if we simply get involved in the policy discussions that take place in our state capitals. Now is the time for action.