Sunday, May 8, 2016

You Gotta be Rich

An article in this morning's paper seems to be telling to unrelated stories, but the stories did have the same message: if you want a good life in these United States, you had better be rich.

The first story talks about the building boom for drug detox institutions. Two  are being built near where I live. Both will be functioning in the early fall of this year. In the last year more than 1500 people died in the state from drug overdoses. The epidemic continues and perhaps even increases. Investors are blissful: "Everybody is chasing the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow of the opioid issue. ” said one investor. “There is an epidemic of opioid abuse, so there is a tremendous demand.”  There is nothing like a building boom to make a good profit. Investors are thankful for the epidemic of overdoses.

The article also points out that the cost of staying in one of these detox institutions is considerably higher than what insurance will pay for detox services. If you  need to avail yourself of the services of these clinics you need to pay significant amounts out of pocket. Your health insurance will not pay enough for you to try and deal with your addiction. You have to be rich, or at least quite well to do, to attend these clinics. Your chance of beating your addiction, of leading an ordinary life, with a job, a family, children and happy retirement years, depends on how rich you are. If you are poor or lower middle class and have only your insurance payments, detox is not for you. Your chances of beating your addiction are considerably worse.

The second story seems quite unrelated. It appears that the US immigration service has a complex menu of different visa's. One of them, EB 5, makes it possible for foreigners, for instance foreign students, to remain in the United States after they finish their studies. They also receive a green card which allows them to work and have a regular job. After five years they can apply for citizenship and then become regular Americans.

All they need to do for receiving this EB 5 visa is to invest $1 million (you read that right: $1 MILLION) in such a way that it creates at least 10 permanent jobs. The article tells the story of a Chinese businesswoman whose daughter is a student in this country. The mother gives her daughter $1 million. The daughter invests it in a detox clinic and before you know it, after five years, she is an American citizen just like you and I. In the meantime the detox clinic brings a good return to the investors. She is not only an American citizen. She is a well-todo American citizen.

We need to rewrite the inscription on the statue of liberty: "Give me your tired, your poor,  your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free" and add something like "especially if they have at least $1 million to invest."

A short while ago someone asked the speaker of the House of Representatives of the U.S. Congress , Paul Ryan, whether we should not accept more Syrian refugees. The speaker rejected that suggestion out of hand saying that it was too dangerous. Among those refugees there might be agents ISIS. You look in vain for worries about terrorism when we offer green cards to people investing $1 million.
We also need to rewrite the pledge of allegiance. The line that says "and liberty and justice for all" also need an added phrase, something like "if they are really rich."

It is difficult not to be thoroughly ashamed of our government.