Several days ago, while viewing the Sunday weekly CNN show hosted by Fareed Zakaria, I saw a segment documenting the rising death tolls of white men, especially those between the ages of 45 and 54 years.
The causes were various:
Drug overdoses: car accidents; alcoholism, and suicides.
Of course, some of these other causes, such as drugs and car accidents are actually hidden suicides. No other group showed such sharp increases.
I think it intriguing, especially when class and education were factored in: working-class and high school diploma, or less.
I’ve since read half a dozen articles, some scientific, others journalistic; from a variety of publications, many speculating on causes: failing health; low wages; fear of a changing, browning America, etc.
Yet none of these articles touched on what initially came to mind.
I’ll call it the NAFTA Effect. (For the North America Free Trade Agreement), which sent millions of manufacturing jobs across the border, and U.S. businesses in search of cheaper labor. For me, this reason seemed obvious, especially since NAFTA was so widely known; for it affected jobs on both sides of the border, forcing wages lower and lower.
An owner, for example, faced with union demands for higher wages, might easily threaten to go overseas to frighten labor leaders into concessions –even givebacks!
NAFTA, the gift of Clinton I, was an executive betrayal of labor which fought for and funded the Presidential campaign of William Jefferson Clinton.
He betrayed them by making a sweet deal with the business class – a now rich white guy waged war on poor and working-class white guys, to enrich other white guys.
It ain’t the only factor, but I’m convinced it is a factor.
Americans –once again – voting for their own betrayers.
Tags: Bill Clinton, Classism, CNN, Education, Fear, Journalism, Labor, North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Poverty, Suicide, Workers