Friday, October 27, 2017

Donald Trump: Just Say No to Opioids. (Sound Familiar?)

Echoes of Nancy Reagan abound in Trump's opioid speech. What's he really saying? Just Say No to spending any money fighting opioids. Translation? Let them eat opioids.

We don't need to show you no stinkin' money!

No one should be surprised that Donald Trump -- again! -- says something large and does something small. He appointed a commission on the opioid crisis, said he's declare a national emergency and then in the middle of a big push for huge tax cuts for him and his cronies decided, "Wait, we can's spend money on these losers! It'll ruin our tax cuts!"

So he let Mick Mulvaney and his no-money-for-the-needy-or-sick crowd prevail. Instead of declaring a "national emergency,"  which would free up serious spending, Trump declared a "public health emergency, which frees up $57,000, which is what's left in the public health emergency fund. Want more? Let my Republican Congress add money to the fund. Will they? Er, what do you think?

ABC's report sums it up nicely (or maybe deadly):
Trump's declaration, which will be effective for 90 days and can be renewed, will allow the government to redirect resources in various ways and to expand access to medical services in rural areas. But it won't bring new dollars to fight a scourge that kills nearly 100 people a day.
"As Americans we cannot allow this to continue," Trump said in a speech at the White House, where he bemoaned an epidemic he said had spared no segment of society, affecting rural areas and cities, rich and poor and both the elderly and newborns.
"It is time to liberate our communities from this scourge of drug addiction," he said. "We can be the generation that ends the opioid epidemic."
But of course we won't because this is just optics. Real help would be real help. Let 'em eat opioids, fucking losers.

To understand that I'm not just blowing off steam at a typical conservative reaction -- inaction -- to a societal problem, look at this from a fascinating new study of the political typography of America by the Pew Center:
Government can't afford to do more to help needy Americans
  • Core Conservatives 83%, Country First Conservatives 70%
Blacks who can't get ahead are responsible for their own condition
  •  Core Conservatives 80%, Country First Conservatives 76%
Approve of Donald Trump
  • Core Conservatives 93%, Country First Conservatives 84%
(Note. Unlike the crack cocaine crisis, which was predominantly a black problem, today's opioid crisis is predominantly a white problem. Oddly, that doesn't change the conservative reaction to it.)

Now, are you surprised at Trump's weak response to a problem of addiction? To get a look at where this attitude comes from, look at this study of models that explain addiction and responsibility:
  • Who is responsible for creating a problem?
  • Moreover, who is responsible for solving it?
These two questions yield four possibilities with respect to responsibility for personal problems:
  • The Moral Model: People are responsible for creating and solving their own problems.
  • The Medical Model: People are not responsible for creating or solving their own problems.
  • The Enlightenment Model: People are responsible for creating, but not solving, their own problems.
  • The Compensatory Model: People are responsible for solving, but not creating, their own problems.
Read the whole page to see these models further explained.

The bottom line? We should not be surprised to find out:
  • Donald Trump decides not to spend much time and money, despite the conclusions of his own commission,
  • because he is actually a true conservative,
  • and believes it's addict's own fault. 
  • 90 days from now, when the policy is to be reviewed? Won't happen and people won't notice.
  • Sad!
Remember, folks, you can Just Say No!

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