John Hardin / @ 8:36 a.m. / Op-Ed

HARDIN: Helping the Economy Isn’t Helping


When you hear people talk about how much the marijuana industry helps our local economy, you should remember that what’s “good for the economy,” these days, is really bad for you, our community, and the environment. Whether you build nuclear power-plants, frack for natural gas, make wine or produce black market marijuana, practically everything we do to pump-up the economy, destroys the environment, enslaves the community and kills people. The economy has simply gotten way too big.

After generations of mindlessly pumping-up the economy, we seem to have forgotten that the economy is supposed to serve our needs. Of course we need an economy of some sort, and up to a point, economic activity is a good thing. Up to a point, economic activity puts food on the table and keeps a roof over people’s heads. Up to a point, the rising tide of economic growth raises all boats, but beyond that point, economic growth becomes a tidal bore that destroys everything in its path. We have passed that point.

Look at us. We’ve gotten used to the violent crime, social problems and environmental devastation that come with the terrible racist injustice of the War on Drugs. We know it’s wrong, but now we’re afraid to let it go, because it might hurt the economy. We’d rather have dangerous violent criminals and homeless drug addicts on our streets, and let racist cops prey on people of color all over this country, than risk a possible downturn in the local economy. Could we possibly get any more depraved? …or stupid? What is so valuable about “the economy” that we’re willing to sacrifice our humanity, our community and our planet to protect it? Can’t you feel the economy tightening its grip on you, every day, wrapping its coils around you like a python and squeezing the life out of you? Why would you want to make it bigger?

Think about it. For the economy to grow, it has to get better at prying money out of your pocket. Think about how hard you have to work already, just to put food on the table and keep a roof over your head. If you have that much money, these days, you are doing OK, but how does it help you if those things cost three percent more next year?

If you have a little more money than that, you probably have a long list of stuff that you want to buy. It’s not like people don’t already like to spend money, or that there aren’t enough things to spend it on, but as the cost of housing and food goes up by three percent every year, the amount of other stuff you can afford, goes down, so that doesn’t really grow the economy. To keep the economy growing, you have to find ways to force people to spend more than they want to spend on things they can’t afford to do without.

That’s why the health care industry has become so critical to economic growth. As people weigh the costs and benefits of working longer hours vs eating lower quality food vs going homeless, their health suffers, whichever decision they make. Deteriorating health, then motivates people to work more hours, eat lower quality food or go without housing in order to afford expensive medications. These medications have a higher profit margin than either housing or food, and in many cases, people feel a stronger and more visceral need for them, than they do for other basic necessities. As people find themselves unable to afford wholesome food and adequate housing, those high profit margins on drugs that people can’t live without, keep the economy growing, but it sure doesn’t make life better for people.

Now that so many of us are already maxed-out, economically, it becomes more important than ever, if you want to grow the economy, that is, to exploit the failing health of every American, effectively, efficiently, and most of all, profitably. Moreover, food and housing must become less affordable, and attainable, so that more young, healthy, people, do without. That way, they get sick sooner, and become so desperate for drugs that they’ll sacrifice their homes and nutrition to the more upscale, luxury market, who can afford to pay more. That’s what economic growth has planned for you, so don’t get too excited about it.

Greed is a disease. It’s a sickness of the soul that destroys and consumes the people infected with it as surely as greedy people destroy and consume the community and environment around them. No matter how much they have, they still feel that lack, that missing something, that drives them to acquire more. For many, what they lack is self-respect, and all of the drug money in the world won’t buy that for them. Whatever the cause, greedy people have a weakness of the spirit that makes them endlessly needy, but rather than treat them as though they need rehabilitation, we glorify that sickness, celebrate it, consider it a God-given right, and take pride in it as American citizens. Greed gave us President Donald Trump, nationally, and greed made us love the War on Drugs locally.

You cannot build strong communities with sick, weak, greedy people, and this economy makes us sicker, weaker and greedier every day. Everywhere I look, I see desperate people struggling to keep their heads above water, while they step over, and often kick their poor neighbors who have already gone under. Whether you are treading water, sinking, or have already hit bottom, the economy is where we are all going to drown if we don’t find a way to stop this disease.

When we care more about making the economy grow than we do about the people in our community, we have clearly lost our way. The greedy will always want more, and that desperation will destroy us all unless we stop it. Greed is a disease that preys upon the weak. The strong know that everything they need is available to them and have plenty to share. We need more strong people in our community, more than we need a strong economy.

To have strong people in our community, they need to be able to put food on their table and a roof over their head at a price that doesn’t make them work themselves to death, or do something they’re ashamed of. Thanks to the War on Drugs, we have entirely too many people around here who are all too eager to do things we should all be deeply ashamed of. Don’t let them contaminate your thinking with their sick, twisted logic. The economy isn’t helping you one bit, and anyone who says they are helping the economy, really means that they are helping the economy fuck you over. Don’t do anything to make it easier for them.


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