Opioids in America versus Rwanda
The United States and Canada have declared war on opioids. In recent years, an epidemic of opioid painkiller overdoses has killed tens of thousands of men, women, and children. The misuse or addiction of these drugs is a tragedy that is crippling families across North America without any end in sight. The government is beginning to target drug manufacturers. Earlier this year, Johnson & Johnson and Purdue Pharma were held responsible for the opioid drug crisis in certain states – and the courts are just getting started.
While society may feel the need to blame somebody, the unintended consequence of these actions is that fewer pharmaceutical companies will develop these drugs. Why would these businesses want to risk being slapped with multi-million-dollar fines and a hit to their reputation? Opioids have become integral to medical care as patients are prescribed these substances following surgery or childbirth or when dealing with chronic pain. Many people have gone as far as describing opioids as a miracle drug.
So, what does a health care system look like without opioids? Look to sub-Saharan Africa, where millions are languishing in pain, including Vestine Uwizeyimana, whose spine is withering away. She cannot walk or even move in her bed, which is in a dark room and on a dirt floor. These countries do not have opioids and the result is misery and agony every day.
Thankfully, the health care industries in certain countries are beginning to take matters into their own hands. Rwanda and Kenya, for example, import powder three times a week and fill up 200 bottles with liquid morphine. Although these medical professionals depend on some form of government assistance, they are mostly relying on private donations from non-profit organizations and philanthropists worldwide to finance production.
Before governments begin outlawing opioids at home, it is important to look abroad. These drugs have become integral in treating unbearable pain. Hospitals are better off with ample supplies of these narcotics than without. But government meddling will begin to pave that road.
The Nasdaq 9000
What a difference a year makes. At the end of 2018, the financial markets were being slaughtered. A year later, they are recording all-time highs. The Nasdaq, which measures more than 3,000 stocks, topped 9,000 for the first time in its half-century history. But that was not all. The S&P 500, which monitors 500 of the largest companies in the U.S., reached a record high of 3,239 and it could enjoy its best annual performance since 1997.
The year-end rally could be a prognosticator of big things to come for 2020.
This just goes to show a few things. The first is that markets are highly unpredictable, and anything can happen at any given time, so trying to time the market is pretty much impossible, even with all the data analytical tools at your disposal. The second is that being patient and not triggering your panic mode pays off in the end. The third is that, despite the country’s problems, everyone is bullish on America.
Oh, and for the Austrian theorists out there, thanks Federal Reserve for the asset inflation!
Boomer! Where’s My Credit?
Is the Baby Boomer generation why you maintain poor credit? Is it the boomers’ fault that you fail to make credit card payments on time? Are boomers the cause of your inability to balance a budget?
Before you shrug off these questions with a flippant “OK boomer” remark, here is something interesting from Experian: Millennials possess one of the lowest average credit scores of any generation. The average FICO score for millennials and their generational successors, Generation Z, sits at 669. Why is this bad? This figure defines subprime borrowers.
As Liberty Nation has reported over the years, subprime supremacy is making a comeback, infecting everything from homeownership to automobile loans to credit cards. Subprime is seeping to every crevice of the marketplace, and with lenders anticipated to reduce their underwriting standards, you can anticipate the subprime market will balloon.
What is interesting about this data is that credit scores have diminished with every generation:
- Silent Generation: 755
- Baby Boomers: 730
- Generation X: 685
- Millennials: 669
- Gen Z: 669
So, what is going on here? There could be a few explanations. The obvious one is that millennials have racked up more than $1 trillion in debt. The second problem is that the costs to service their debts, whether it is a credit card or a student loan, are astronomical with total amounts of $5,231 and $34,770, respectively. The third is the delay in adulthood where younger millennials are not getting married, having kids, buying a house, driving a car, or even purchasing insurance. Indeed, it is not that they do not want any of these American Dream components; they just are not presented with these opportunities. The reasons for this can be debated, but millennials may need to play catchup real soon.
Zero Hedge got it right: “Ok boomer…but can boomers please co-sign my credit card?”
Black and White or Gray?
The government usually treats issues in society as if they are black and white. However, our world is a lot more complicated than that, and when the state micromanages our lives that is when everything goes haywire. Some people are desperate enough to accept the central planner’s hand, but former President Ronald Reagan had it right when he said, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”
Read more from Andrew Moran.