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Poverty + Anxiety/Discontent = Opioids

Howell Hurst Defining Trump


After the World War II defeat of Nazi Germany by the United States and its allies, our Marshall Plan rebuilt Europe. Consequently, we reaped a massive economic reward. By specific design we enlarged our military and planned precisely how to sustain its protective dominance over all nations. We made it the underlying backbone of our nation’s economy. It remains so today.

For decades the U.S. consumed 60% of the world’s economic production. Money flowed to us like honey. U.S. corporations consolidated their financial strength. They grew wealthier. American citizens thrived. We became the world’s economic powerhouse. Tenuously, we remain so today.

Nevertheless, Mr. Trump proposes that, via the Paris Climate Accord, the rest of the world has not only the ability, but the evil intention, to financially harm the U.S. His argument, if factually considered, is founded upon an utterly illogical premise.

His is a deceptive argument. It is a smoke screen. It is strategic cover for its real purpose: the continued economic dominance of the U.S. Oil and Gas Industry, which is the underlying foundation of our Defense-based economy.

As a young executive in the late 1960’s in New York City, I was J. Walter Thompson’s “Merchandising Manager” to the executive director of the American Petroleum Institute, America’s oil industry association.

The oil industry associates I worked with did not speak English. They spoke another language: Oil Profits. This precisely defined their political and economic relationship to America’s people: “What’s good for oil,” they decreed, “is good for America’s people.”

What has this to do with my equation: Poverty + Anxiety/Discontent = Opioids? I’m glad you asked. If you will, please follow my thlnking:

As Mr. Trump has his previously mentioned premise, I too have a premise. It is not totally original. Drawing on research from firms like the news agency Reuters and others, I contend that our profit-oriented defense-based economy, by creating massive financial inequality, has created America’s polarized politics, and – yes – its Opioid problem.

That’s quite an intellectual leap on my part, I know. I propose you think of it similar to Einstein’s shake up of Newtonian Physics when he thought up the Theory of Relativity. I’m simply offering my own shake up: a revolutionary political, economic, psychological unified theory of America.

In layman’s terms, I’m just laying the blame for our relentlessly-declining middle class, and our frozen poor and homeless class, right in the lap of the ten percent of Americans who have become obscenely wealthy from our oil/defense economy.

I’m talking about the 10% who own 90% of all assets. About those who own four and five mansions, dozens of cars, fleets of airplanes, a couple of super luxury ocean yachts, and – to think of it – casinos, hotels, golf courses, plush resorts, and multiple high rise buildings with gold-plated bathroom fixtures.

I’m simply saying that the 90% of Americans holding the short end of the stick, those living off the crumbs falling from the dinner tables of the super wealthy, have – out of anxiety – become so discontent that many of them have become much of the ever-burgeoning market for drugs, including Opioids.

The rich take drugs too, of course; they do so because they have too much money. The poor market does so because it doesn’t have enough.

Dr. Einstein had his equation: E = MC2d.

Mine is: P + A/D = O.

One final caveat to my theory.

Although Mr. Trump, with his anti-Paris Climate withdrawal, personifies for me the American profit-obsessed cultural attitude, I want to make perfectly clear that I do not support anyone showing bloody pictures of his decapitated head.

I do not support any violence toward the man or anyone else.

But, it might be good for him to take up meditation. Either that or ocean sailboat cruising – just to help clear his mind of cobwebs.

As a friend of mine always says, “Keep smiling.”

This too will pass.

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