How much is a human life worth? Well, it varies from government agency to agency, but overall, the price the U.S. government uses to determine how much to spend on preventing deaths has gone up under the Obama administration. The Environmental Protection Agency set the value of a human life at $6.8 million under George W. Bush. Last year they set the value at $9.1 million and are talking about raising it further for cancer deaths, because cancer kills slowly. When the value of life goes up, new life-saving policies and regulations become economically justifiable. So while the Bush administration rejected a plan to make car companies double the strength of car roofs because it wasn’t worth the $3.5-million lives it would save, the Obama administration was able to impose the new standards because it valued those lives at $6.1 million. While unions and environmental groups praise the increase in the value of life, the business community is less happy about it, with the Chamber of Commerce campaigning for Congress to assert greater control over the process.
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