To The Daily Sun,
It's no accident that the heroin problem is worse in states with the worst economies (West Virginia). This generation doesn't have much to look forward to. They are told they won't achieve the economic status of their parents and when they do retire, there won't be Social Security for their old age. This is unprecedented. An integral part of the American dream is that the next generation would always have a better life.
Even the brightest students might achieve a halfway decent job with benefits but will be saddled with crushing student loan debt well into middle age. For those without a college education the prospect is even bleaker. Full time 40-hour jobs are rare and many are "temporary" jobs which last for years with no benefits, at wages so low that they can barely support themselves, never mind a family.
How did our country get to this low point. It's just Economics 101, straight out of the first economic text, "The Wealth of Nations." Basically it states that if you import more than you export a nation becomes less wealthy. We have been living above our means since 1968, the last year that we had a trade surplus. To cover the difference, Nixon took us off the gold standard and ran the presses, sticking presidents Ford and Carter with the inflation which resulted. Now we do both: run the presses to inflate the money supply and borrow money from foreign countries.
When I was sailing as a merchant marine, the imbalance was painfully obvious. We left Japan loaded to the waterline with cars and trucks, discharged on the East Coast and went back to Japan totally empty and in ballast. We used the empty holds to jog in and play racquetball on the way back.
Incredibly bad trade deals we made. We allowed their cars to be imported for just a 6 percent custom duties. They in turn slapped a 50 percent custom duty on our products, with rigorous and expensive inspections on each car.
When Ronald Reagan left office, he went to Japan and received a $2 million "speaker fee" for a 20-minute speech to a group of Japanese who probably didn't even understand English. So what did they get for their money?
Neither party has a monopoly on economic treason. Democrat Bill Clinton sold us out even worse and his "speaking fees" are notorious. NAFTA turned out to be the biggest economic disaster of all, just as Ross Perot predicted. America's industrial heartland was decimated as companies fled to Mexico for cheap wages. Whole towns became ghost towns almost overnight, after losing their one big employer. The supposed prosperity it would bring never happened. Now President Obama is preparing the final sell-out that will put the nail in the coffin. He is already looking at his post-presidency prospects. Never has a president come into office with so much hope and good will only to turn out to be a bitter disappointment.
Our deals with China and other Asian countries are similar. The container ships would come into U.S. ports loaded to the waterline and we would leave high in the water with mostly empty containers and water ballast. I saw it first hand and couldn't believe how stupid our trade policies are. It seems there's no shortage of politicians who are willing to sell out America for personal financial gain. Our expensive foreign wars haven't helped either.
Oddly, only Donald Trump has raised the issue. The other politicians are about how to divide up the economic pie from what's left of our economy. A sure sign of a dying empire. No one else has raised the issue which is so central to why some people do heroin to escape a life of misery with no prospects of improvement and don't give a damn if they die in the process.
We need an America First movement to repeal and replace these bad agreements and pull-back our foreign commitments, which exacerbate our trade imbalance. ISIS is Europe's problem. They don't directly threaten us. The same goes for Afghanistan, the graveyard of empires. They bankrupted the old Soviet empire and they damn near bankrupted us in 2008. To Germany, Japan and South Korea, I would say, if you want us to defend you, you will have to cover the cost or raise your own army and navy — no more freebies from Uncle Sam. And, by the way, we can sell you all the goodies you need to equip your armed force. We do make really good weaponry. That's one area where we are number one.
More people are dying on the streets of America from heroin than died from all terrorist attacks, including 9/11. We need to pull back and rebuild our economy. You can't be a world superpower militarily without being an economic super power as well.
We owe this generation the same opportunities we had when our nation was prosperous and maybe they wouldn't be so quick to stick a needle in their arm if they knew they could have a good life without it.
There are some encouraging signs. With newly found supplies of oil our balance of trade has improved somewhat, since we no longer have to import huge amounts of oil. It's a good first step. Now we need to finish the job by repealing NAFTA and other raw deals and bring back the wealth to America.