February 3 - Do We Now Have a Plutonomy?; "Hoffman and the Terrible Heroin Deaths in the Shadows"; The War on Drugs on the Heroin Front

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Full Program




Part 1


We begin with the new study from the Institute of New Economic Thinking that is a front page story in Monday’s New York Times “The Middle Class is Steadily Eroding: Just Ask the Business World”Robert Johnson, the Executive Director of the Institute for New Economic Thinking, who was formerly Chief Economist of the US Senate Banking Committee and Budget Committee, joins us to discuss stark evidence that our economy is becoming a plutonomy with the top 5 percent of earners accounting for almost 40% of personal consumption spending in 2012, up from 27% in 1992.




Part 2


Then we examine the drug overdose death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, apparently from heroin laced with Fentanyl. Jeff Deeney, a social worker and a writer based in Philadelphia joins us. He has an article at The Atlantic “Hoffman and the Terrible Heroin Deaths in the Shadows” and we will discuss the growing epidemic of overdose deaths from batches of Fentanyl-tainted heroin across the mid-Atlantic and the increased infection rates among injecting drug users of drug-resistant bacterial infections.




Part 3


Then finally, with a 2012 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration study finding that between 2007 and 2012, the number of of heroin users ages 12 and up increased from 373,000 to 669,000, and with heroin now cheaper than it has been for decades, we will look into how the war on drugs is going on the heroin front. A leading analyst on drug abuse and crime control policies, Mark Kleiman, a Professor of Public Policy in the UCLA School of Public Affairs and author of “Drugs and Drug Policies” joins us to discuss the increased abuse of prescription drugs like OxyContin along with street heroin that is now laced with the powerful and unpredictable Fentanyl that can be manufactured locally in illicit pharmacies.