Sunday, October 23, 2011

Middle Class Squeeze

Our "tax system" is virtually FLAT when one considers all taxes and the hodgepodge of charges and levies we struggle with.  Suffice it to say that we have  a big "regressive employment tax" that have enlarged over the decades.

A regressive tax is a tax imposed in such a manner that the tax rate decreases as the amount subject to taxation increases.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

'Un'Certain USA Economic Realities

Fact: USA businesses are among the most regulated in the world -- only a few countries have more regulations that are enforced.

Fact: USA businesses cannot find enough employees "qualified" for their companies' vacancies.

Public Perception:
The Uncertain Economy

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Collar Color Divide

As I come and go in various locales, I've noticed the following to be true:
"White-collar workers are much less likely to smoke than their blue-collar counterparts to be smokers."

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Drug Abuse vs. Chemical Dependence

About 25% of heroin users, 32% of nicotine users, and 15% of alcohol users will become chemically dependent during their lifetimes / a higher percentage for cocaine users -- and even higher still for those who use alcohol and cocaine at the same time (produces 'cocaethylene' in the body)..

Breakthroughs in genetics, neurobiology and neuropharmacology show that some people who drink or use drugs harmfully can develop a full-blown "disease" -- significant numbers of drug users develop the disease of "chemical dependence" (commonly known as 'addiction'). It is a definitive, diagnosable brain pathology.

It is far more serious and different from the other diagnosable drug overuse condition — called 'drug abuse' (which is a self-controllable condition that often is reduced by education, punishment, maturity, increased will power, or sometimes simply learning from an embarrassing or costly experience)).

Drug abusers are the ones who are most likely to respond to the "war on drugs" — take away their drugs or punish their use, and they usually give up. People who are chemically dependent, on the other hand, cannot 'give up'. This would require powerful intervention and intensive treatment that can be expensive and prolonged.

During Prohibition, from 1920 to 1933, the national ban on alcohol manufacturing significantly reduced the amount of alcohol consumed in the United States. Yet the number of alcoholics — those chemically dependent on alcohol — remained the same. Most of these individuals had become 'dependent' before their brains finished fully physically developing at around age 20 (started drinking as teenagers). NOTE: This same higher addiction rate for teens applies to tobacco and all other addictive drugs.

Addiction Science Advances:

End to the "War on Drugs"
Related AAS article:

Monday, October 3, 2011

Marijuana Myth

Denial of marijuana use being a problem for our society is itself a significant societal problem. I don't pretend to have a solution -- but when I both look at some members of my extended family and recall what I observed during a career as a public school teacher, I know that denial of marijuana's negative effects is counterproductive.

Part of the problem is the "soft" parents who smoked pot 20 or 30 years ago when the marijuana was about 1/5th as strong as today's "weed." The other part of the problem is today's kids tend to start smoking earlier in their lives.

Note: 85% of today's chemically dependent people started their drug use with pot (and the other 15% started with alcohol).

Note: The brain isn't fully developed until age 24 or 25. This drug that profoundly affects the brain and neurotransmitters especially causes big problems in the developing brain.

The following article highlights "social acceptance masking pot's dangers".

I post this because of tragedies occurring within my extended family are proof of what the article highlights.