Economy clicking? Invite all Americans to the party

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A scene from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange in 2001.

The stock market is clicking along, writes a Sun-Times reader, but for only a lucky subset of Americans.

Sun-Times file photo

The American economy has been humming along, with near-record-low unemployment and the stock markets at or near their highs. Such a positive economic picture should help our incumbent president get re-elected. We can’t ignore, though, how many American families are not at this party.

Income and wealth disparities are at record levels and far worse than those at other industrialized nations.

Why do so many economically disadvantaged voters continue to ride the Trump train?

Mary F. Warren, Wheaton

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‘El Chapo’ editorial misses the point

Your Thursday editorial regarding the conviction of Joaquin Guzman — El Chapo — to a life life sentence, and then some correctly noted that drug use is a public health issue, not a criminal justice issue. And you also correctly note that El Chapo’s cocaine and heroin was all over the streets, and he became a folk hero, like Chicago’s very own Al Capone.

Both Capone and El Chapo were businessmen, despite your editorial repulsion to the idea, businessmen who gave the public what it wanted, mind-altering substances. And each made a fortune doing so. Calling Guzman a “parasite” and denying his business acumen and enormous success disputes an obvious truth.

The truth is that Chicago is suffering, again, from the worst drug policy alternative known to man, “Just say ‘no.’” It is a second “great experience,” worse than the first with liquor a century ago, Prohibition.

To discuss drug abuse and dependence, crime, killing and the futility of the Guzman conviction and sentence without a word about the broken center post of Chicago, American and global drug policy allows the prohibition problem to wag its (center) finger at the world.

Poor El Chapo — he will rot in a 21st Century dungeon, tormented and tortured by isolation and sensory deprivation until insane and unable to rub two strikes together to burn himself at the stake. The same minds that designed American drug policy designed prison torture, retaliation for its endless drug policy failure.

“Remember the Alamo” and Tamms Correctional Center.

Please editorialize how best to legalize drugs to shut down prohibition.

Should we — drug by drug —take substances off drug dealer shelves, à la Illinois recreational marijuana?

Should we legalize drugs for addicts only, as I proposed from the campaign trail 25 years ago?

Should we reschedule drugs based on their potential for harm, bumping alcohol and tobacco to the top of the list?

Should we adopt harm reduction programs like needle exchanges, safe injection sites, and opiate maintenance?

Should we devise means to “Take the profit out of drugs, to take crime off our streets, and taxes off out back,” as I suggested as a 1992 candidate for Cook County state’s attorney?

James E. Gierach, Palos Park

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