Ten outrageous ways the U.S. government is killing its own citizens

From James Altucher of The Altucher Confidential:
This is not a political rant. I have to say that up front before everyone pulls out their guns. This is not about Obama or Bush or Clinton or anyone.
Nor is this about voting. I don’t vote. You know why? Because nothing can change. You can argue with me, but don’t bother. Nothing will change. And I still won’t vote.
The reasons the government is killing people is systemic and not political. The reason I’m writing this article is not to complain but to protect.
If you don’t want to die and if you want to help people who are dying then just try to avoid the following situations…
A) The government is starving senior citizens to death. 
The baby boomers are now retiring en masse. Unless they are wealthy, retirees live off of social security and interest on savings, plus they cut back on expenses.
Social security is going up 1.5% this year. Savings rates are about 0.1%.
Guess what: Food inflation will go up 3-4% this year. Like it goes up every year.
So how will senior citizens be able to afford their food?
One answer: They can start eating dog food.
Or they can die.
Solution: No tariffs with any country on any food. Set up free trade agreements everywhere. Truly move to a global economy.
B) The Student Loan Debt Suicides
Because the government is the last resource backing and insuring student loans, banks and colleges have freely raised loans and tuitions faster than inflation for 40 straight years.
Student loans are now over a trillion dollars. That means young people, kids really, who are 22 years old, are more in debt than many of their parents.
Has it helped them? You tell me. More than 50% of the unemployed have college degrees. So the old excuse of: “You need a degree to get a job” no longer works.
There’s a lot of reasons to not go to college. This article won’t cover them. But perhaps the most important reason not to send your kids to college is to help them avoid suicide.
Why suicide?
According to the American Society of Suicidology: “Economic strain and personal financial crises have been well documented as precipitating events in individual deaths by suicide.” This is sort of obvious, but it’s interesting to note that over $2.7 billion student loans were forgiven because of death.
Young people are in more financial stress than ever.
More loans + less jobs + less income = more death.
Solution: Stop backing student loans to make a quick buck. What will happen? Colleges will get less applicants and tuitions will go down. Simple.
C) Guns don’t kill people. But drones do. 
Ok, the U.S. has finally admitted it. Between 2009 and May, 2013 4 U.S. citizens have been killed in drone attacks in the Middle East. A couple of points on this:
1) When someone in a bomb shelter in Kansas can impassively control drone killings in the Middle East, it’s more like a video game than an actual war. It emotionally distances the joystick user from the victims.
2) The U.S. admitted 4. Which means the actual number is probably a lot higher. This is not cynical but common sense. If you disagree, then fine. 4 deaths of U.S. citizens by drones. But I think the number is much higher.
3) This is just U.S. citizens. How many innocent bystanders who were not U.S. citizens have been killed? I don’t know. This is just about U.S. citizens being killed by the U.S..
Solution: Stop drone killings – everywhere. Do we really want missile-armed, hackable robots in the sky placing targets on anyone’s heads?  Think anything could go wrong there?
D) The Death of the Middle Class is more than symbolic: 
Since 1970, inflation has gone up higher than median income. In other words, the rich don’t care and the poor (those whose basic needs are protected) don’t care. But the middle 90% care.
The number of full-time workers in the U.S. is about 6 million less than it was in 2007.
Meanwhile, more homes than ever are still valued less than their mortgage. I see this from my vantage point on the board of one of the largest employment agencies in the world. Basically, things are sad.
76% of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. And if you want a job, good luck: the second largest employer in the U.S. (Kelly Services) is a temp agency.
The demographic with the highest suicide rate? Men, age 45-65. The latest data is hard to collect but 2010 was the record year on suicides. 2011 and 2012 data not available yet.
I wish this weren’t true but it is. I’m 45. Here goes!
Solution: Don’t raise taxes on this middle 90%. Reset mortgage rates to reflect current interest rates and have the government pay the difference. In other words, bail out the people killing themselves instead of the banks who are killing people.
E) The FDA is killing people, part I. 
I’m not going to draw a direct line here from the FDA to actual deaths. In part, because I don’t want the FDA to kill me.
But the reality is this: It costs $2 billion to get a lifesaving drug through the FDA.
There’s four different tests that a drug has to go through and it’s very expensive, lobbying is involved, and the FDA takes their time.
The reason for this is that the FDA doesn’t want people to take bad drugs that will kill themselves. A couple of points on this:
1) The FDA recalls about 2000 drugs a year for being too harmful for human consumption. So what was the good of those initial trials anyway?
2) People who are close to dying don’t give a shit if a drug is being tested. They would be more than happy to take their chances rather than just die. It takes a drug up to ten years to get through the FDA. During that time, many drugs could’ve saved lives.
3) According to the Center for Disease Control: prescription drugs now kill more than heroin and cocaine combined. The War on Drugs needs to be aimed at the U.S. government.
Solution: End the FDA. Make every drug available to people. The drugs that will be successful in the marketplace will be ones where the marketing is backed by independent tests and, yes, the successful drugs will be the ones that actually save lives.
Will there be an increase in deaths also? Maybe. But the FDA-approved drugs also kill people, so who knows if it will be more or less? My guess is the lives saved will be much greater.
F) The FDA is killing people, part II
Here are the most expensive drugs in the United States:
•   Soliris, $409,500 per year
•   Elaprase, $375,000 per year
•   Naglazyme, $365,000 per year
•   Cinryze, $350,000 per year
•   ACTH, $300,000 for two courses of treatment
•   Folotyn, $30,000 per month
•   Myozyme, $100,000 per year for children, $300,000 for adults
•   Arcalyst, $250,000 per year
•   Ceredase/Cerezyme, $200,000 per year
•   Fabrazyme, $200,000 per year
•   Aldurazyme, $200,000
Why are they so expensive? Because they save lives AND because of the costs it took to get through the FDA. Whether your market is a million people or 1000 people the costs to get through the FDA are the same. So if you are in a small market (Soliris saves about 6000 people a year – a small market – from Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria) then you have to charge a lot for your drug.
Doesn’t insurance cover it? Maybe, maybe not. But let’s say insurance does. That means those costs have to be passed on to everyone else who isn’t sick. That’s not good either.
Solution: Same as above.
G) Doctors are killing people
According to the law, you can’t be a doctor until you get into massive debt by going to umpteen years of medical school.
Most people make the argument, “Would you rather have a janitor or a Harvard trained brain surgeon operating on your brain”?
When someone asks me that I usually punch them.
All that matters to me is if someone has a lot of experience. They don’t get that in school.
Or a laboratory. They get that by DOING. Apprenticeship, to me, works better than medical school. Then people start getting experience early on.
But back to doctors killing people.
According to Johns Hopkins, 98,000 people a year die from doctor mistakes… either mistake in surgery or mistake in prescription. So what good was medical school?
And if you randomly pull 100 charts, 40% of them will have basic errors on it.
By the way, the doctors are not happy about it either. On average, one doctor a day kills himself.
Solution: This is drastic, but get rid of the requirement of a medical degree. Let’s get back to an apprenticeship system and then use social proof to validate the good from the bad.
By the way, google, “Get a Medical Degree.” Approximately 5,000 practicing doctors in the U.S. have fake medical degrees. Including me. But I don’t practice any more.
H) The Food Pyramid
Good luck if you eat like the USDA approved food pyramid.
Chances are you will get obese, diabetic, get Alzheimer’s, have strokes, and all sorts of other good things.
It’s been obvious for decades that food and agricultural associations, dominated by the big food lobbyists, control what makes up the food pyramid.
It’s also been obvious for years that the recommendations cause problems for your health. The food pyramid was introduced in the U.S. in 1992.
68% of the U.S. is now obese.  I don’t have to list the diseases and unhappiness caused by obesity. Put it this way… I’m sure you would rather be not-obese than obese.  There are 3,000,000 obesity related deaths per year in the U.S.
Eat 6-11 servings of bread and pasta and see how you look and feel a year later. This is not an article about diets or how you can lose weight.
This particular section is an argument against lobbyists. The lobbyists that influence the decision makers on the food pyramid have interests that are not in line with your health.
That should be clear.
Solution: Do away with the food pyramid and stop teaching it in schools around the country so our ADHD kids get even more brain damaged and unhealthy.
I) Marijuana is Illegal and Cigarettes are legal
This is such an obvious one that if an alien race were to land on Earth and study our laws they would slap Congress right in the face and say, “What the f*ck were you thinking?”
That’s what’s in a cigarette. Not to mention Polonium-210, a radioactive element. You can basically pull apart a cigarette and make a nuclear bomb.
Cigarettes are linked to cancer, heart attacks, strokes, Parkinson’s, dementia, and every other fun disease you can think of.
Meanwhile, how many people have died of a marijuana overdose? ZERO.
And what diseases does marijuana help alleviate the symptoms of? Many… ranging from glaucoma to cancer to anxiety.
Solution: Obvious
Again, this has nothing to do with politics. Nor am I just trying to complain. I’d just rather let individuals decide the best ways to live and die.  Not the government.
P.S.  I also think trying to do MORE things to avoid death (e.g. the entire anti-aging industry) is probably no good for people.
So as an added bonus, here is an idea…
List the top 10 killers in the U.S. I’ll do it for you.
From the Center for Disease Control:
•   Heart disease: 616,067 deaths last year
•   Cancer: 562,875
•   Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 135,952
•   Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 127,924
•   Accidents (unintentional injuries): 123,706
•   Alzheimer’s disease: 74,632
•   Diabetes: 71,382
•   Influenza and Pneumonia: 52,717
•   Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 46,448
•   Septicemia: 34,828
Now do things which reduce the likelihood of having any of the above be the cause of your death.
Live long and prosper.
Crux note: If you haven’t heard James’ new radio show yet… you’re missing out.  The former Wall Street “ultra-preneur” shares his addictive mix of business insight, common sense wisdom, and hilarious wit.  You’ll learn more useful knowledge in 30 minutes with James than in four years of college. In his latest show, James interviews New York Times bestselling author Robert Greene. Greene has written The 48 Laws of Power, The Art of Seduction, The 33 Strategies of War. His newest book is called Mastery. You can listen to this eye-opening episode right here.
More from James:
× Subscribe to Crux
Want more posts like these?
Like us on Facebook?
Crux Contributors