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The (Opioid) Day of Reckoning Is Near.

Posted on | March 14, 2019 | No Comments

Jerome Powell with Scott Pelly on 60 Minutes.

Mike Magee

If you missed the “60 Minutes” interview of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, he surprised many with his list of contributors to the risk of recession. Here’s his exchange with Scott Pelley:

Jerome Powell: We have an unusually large number of people in their prime working years who are not in the labor force. The United States has a lower labor force participation rate than almost every other advanced country. That is not our self-image as a country.

Scott Pelley: Where did these people go who are no longer looking for work?

Jerome Powell: Part of it is evolving technology. So as technology evolves, it requires rising skills on the part of the people. U.S. educational attainment has not moved up as rapidly as it has in other countries. Globalization’s also a factor. For many advanced economies, manufacturing to some extent, has moved into developing countries. So for whatever reason, and the opioid crisis is related to I think to those other factors.

Scott Pelley: The opioid crisis?

Jerome Powell: The opioid crisis is millions of people. They tend to be young males. And it’s a very significant problem. And it’s part of a larger picture.

Scott Pelley: you seem to be talking about part of this generation being lost.

Jerome Powell: That is the issue. When you have people who are not taking part in the economic life of a country in a meaningful way, who don’t have the skills and aptitudes to play a role or who are not doing so because of because they’re addicted to drugs, or in jail, then in a sense they are being left behind.

As if Princeton economists discovery that the manmade opioid epidemic had bent the US survival curve downward (notably for white males) wasn’t enough. Now we see the secondary impact of losing a generation of young workers on our economy overall.

For those responsible for igniting this disaster, a day of reckoning is fast approaching. Of course Pharma is in the cross-hairs – notably Purdue Pharma, Cephalon, J&J, Endo Health Solutions and Actavis. Then come the wholesale drug distributors including AmerisourceBergen Corporation (NYSE:ABC), Cardinal Health, Inc. (NYSE:CAH) and McKesson Corporation (NYSE:MCK). Giant retail conglomerates like CVS and Walgreen’s could also be caught in the snare.

There are also enablers like the AMA which accepted into its Federation a new Pharma-funded  pain society which convinced the nation’s doctors that pain was the “5th vital sign”. The AMA also sold its Physician Masterfile Database to data miner IMS Health which allowed the opioid companies to target physicians through prescription profiling who were already sloppy prescribers. AMA sales of the data in 2006 alone brought in $44.5 million.

And let’s not forget a range of bottom feeders like Rudy Giuliani and Bernard Kerik who Purdue Pharma hired to get Bush Administration officials to stand down in their planned prosecution of the company in 2004. Consider the lives that might have been saved had they failed.

But now, the sheer scale of the disaster has caught up with many, if not all of the Medical Industrial Complex offenders. Attorney Mike Moore is leading over 30 state attorney generals in litigation, as he did in the 90’s with tobacco companies. Purdue Pharma is exploring bankruptcy with states pursuing the kind of claw-back on hidden Purdue family money that is reminiscent of the Bernard Madoff affair.

Still and all, it’s pretty shocking that you can literally bring down your entire economy when a greedy profiteering group of health sectors decide to conspire and enable each other. No wonder a sizable portion of the nation is eyeing nationalizing of the health care system. They’re not voting for socialism, they’re voting against conspiracy, collusion, death and the destruction of America’s economy.

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