MetroFocus

FULL EPISODE

MetroFocus: February 6, 2020

THE FACE OF AMERICA’S GREAT SOCIAL DEPRESSION.

AIRED: February 06, 2020 | 0:26:46
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
TRANSCRIPT

>>> TONIGHT ON "METROFOCUS."

AMERICA'S GREAT SOCIAL

DEPRESSION.

DISAPPEARING JOBS, WEAK

EDUCATION AND A LACK OF HE HAD

QUAT HEALTH CARE HAVE FORCED

GENERATIONS OF FAMILIES INTO A

HIGH STAKES BALANCING ACT THAT

MANY ARE FAILING TO MASTER.

THOUGH THE STOCK MARKET IS

BOOMING, TENS OF MILLIONS ARE

STILL LIVING LIVES OF INCREASING

DESPAIR AND OFTEN DYING FAR TOO

YOUNG.

SO WHAT CAN BE DONE TO SAVE THE

NEXT GENERATION OF WORKING CLASS

AMERICANS?

WE SHINE A LIGHT ON THIS CRISIS

THROUGH DEEPLY PERSONAL STORIES

OF SOME OF NICK'S CLOSEST

CHILDHOOD FRIENDS.

THOSE STORIES AND MORE AS

"METROFOCUS" STARTS RIGHT NOW.

>> THIS IS "METROFOCUS" WITH

RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD, AND

JENNA FLANAGAN.

>> "METROFOCUS" IS MADE POSSIBLE

BY

JAMES AND MERRYL TISCH,

SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III,

THE SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA

PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT

ANTI-SEMITISM.

BERNARD AND IRENE SCHWARTZ,

ROSALIND P. WALTER,

BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG,

AND BY --

>> THIS SEGMENT IS PART OF OUR

CHASING THE GREEN INITIATIVE ON

POVERTY AND OPPORTUNITY IN

AMERICA.

GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO

"METROFOCUS."

NICHOLAS HAS TRAVELED WORLD TO

EXPOSE INJUSTICE AND SHED THE

LIGHT ON URGENT AND OFTEN

NEGLECTED ISSUES OF OUR TIMES.

NOW THE FIRST HUSBAND AND WIFE

TO SHARE A PRIZE FOR JOURNALISM

ARE TURN AN EYE ON THE GREAT

DEPRESSION AT HOME.

THEIR GREATEST WORK.

AMERICANS REACHING FOR HOPE

LOOKS AT THE COLLAPSE OF THE

COUNTRY'S WORKING CLASS.

LARGELY THROUGH STORIES OF SOME

OF THE FOLKS WHO NICK GREW ONE

OREGON.

AS IT TURNS OUT, THE COMMUNITY

IS A TRAGIC MICROCOSM OF WHAT IS

HAPPENING ACROSS THE NATION AS

TENS OF MILLIONS ARE LIVING

LIVES OF INCREASING DESPAIR AND

OFTEN DYING FAR TOO YOUNG.

IN THE NEW BOOK, THEY EXPLORE

THE POLITICAL, SOCIAL AND

ECONOMIC PROBLEMS BEHIND THIS

DISTURBING TREND WHILE ALSO

OFFERING SOLUTIONS.

THEIR SEARCH FOR ANSWERS IS ALSO

THE SUBJECT OF A NEW

DOCUMENTARY.

HERE'S A LOOK.

>> ONE OF MY MOST POWERFUL

MEMORIES FROM CHILDHOOD IS THE

NUMBER SIX SCHOOL BUS.

THIS MEMORY IS ALSO TINGED WITH

SADNESS.

TODAY ABOUT A QUARTER OF THE

KIDS WHO RODE THAT BUS WITH ME

ARE NO LONGER ALIVE.

>> WE WANT TO UNDERSTAND HOW SO

MANY PEOPLE FELL THROUGH THE

CRACKS AND WHAT CAN BE DONE TO

CHANGE THINGS.

>> I'M NOT RICH.

I HAVE TWO ROOMMATES.

I DON'T OWN MY HOUSE.

I BARELY OWN A RUNNING CAR.

THERE NEEDS TO BE PEOPLE WILLING

TO SAY, HEY, LET ME HELP YOU.

>> I THINK IT TAKES VILLAGE.

IF IT WEREN'T FOR THE SUPPORT, I

DON'T THINK I WOULD HAVE JUST

DONE IT.

>> WHETHER OR NOT THERE WILL BE

OPPORTUNITY FOR EVERYONE, THAT'S

THE QUESTION WE'RE FACING AS A

NATION.

>> SO IT'S TIME FOR A NEW

VERSION OF THE AMERICAN DREAM.

ONE THAT INCLUDES EVERYBODY.

>> JOINING US NOW, MY GUESTS.

WELCOME, BOTH OF YOU.

A PLEASURE TO HAVE YOU BACK ON

THE PROGRAM.

>> GOOD TO BE HERE.

>> LET'S START WITH YOU, NICK.

YOUR BOOK IS ESSENTIALLY AS I

EXPLAINED IT, A GROUND LEVEL

ACCOUNT OF WHAT YOU'VE APTLY

CALLED AMERICA'S GREAT SOCIAL

DEPRESSION.

IT IS A DEVASTATING REALITY THAT

AFFECTS MILLIONS AND THAT'S OF

AMERICANS.

BUT IT IS STILL LARGELY

UNCOVERED BY THE MEDIA.

ELABORATE.

TELL US WHY YOU DECIDED TO COVER

THIS ISSUE.

>> WELL, SHERYL AND I WERE

TRAVELING AROUND THE WORLD AND

COVERING GLOBAL HUMANITARIAN

CRISES, AND PERIODICALLY

RETURNING TO MY BELOVED HOME

TOWN WHERE MY MOM STILL LIVES ON

THE FARM THAT I GREW UP ON.

AND WE WOULD SEE MY FRIENDS.

GRADUALLY WE REALIZED THERE WAS

A HUMANITARIAN CRISIS RIGHT IN

MY HOME TOWN.

I'M CLOSE TO THE KIDS WHO WERE

ON MY OLD SCHOOL BUS.

THE NUMBER 6 SCHOOL BUS.

OF THOSE KIDS, ABOUT A QUARTER

HAVE DIED OF DRUGS, ALCOHOL,

RECKLESS ACCIDENTS, SUICIDE, AND

SHERYL AND I REALIZED THIS

WASN'T JUST ONE TOWN'S CRISIS.

HOWEVER NEAR AND DEAR THAT WAS

TO US.

THIS WAS A PROBLEM ACROSS

WORKING CLASS AMERICA AND THERE

WAS SO MUCH COMMONALITY BETWEEN

WHAT WAS HAPPENING WITH THE KIDS

ON MY BUS AND WHAT WAS HAPPENING

IN COAL COUNTRY IN KENTUCKY OR

TIMBER COUNTRY IN NORTHERN MAINE

OR CITIES IN ARKANSAS.

THAT THIS IS NOT GETTING

ATTENTION.

AND IT WAS KIND OF FRUSTRATING

FOR US TO SEE THE POLITICAL

DEBATE, PRESIDENT TRUMP

OBVIOUSLY, WE'RE A VERY

POLARIZED COUNTRY.

THE DISCUSSION IS ABOUT

PRESIDENT TRUMP.

IT IS ENORMOUSLY WHAT HAPPENS TO

THIS PRESIDENCY.

BUT THESE ISSUES PREDATED

PRESIDENT TRUMP.

THEY WILL BE AROUND WHEN HE IS

GONE.

TO SOME DEGREE, THESE PROBLEMS

HELPED ELECT HIM AND I DON'T

KNOW THAT THE COUNTRY AS A WHOLE

OR WE AS THE MEDIA ARE DOING AN

ADEQUATE JOB HIGHLIGHTING THESE

UNDERLYING PROBLEMS.

>> I'LL BE BOLD AND SAY WE'RE

NOT.

VERY FEW PEOPLE ARE.

ELABORATE ON THAT WHY.

IS IT THAT WE'RE NOT?

I WAS TALKING TO NICK EARLIER.

I INTERVIEWED EDWARD, A HAITIAN

AMERICAN WRITER, A GREAT HAITIAN

AMERICAN WRITER.

AND I ASKED A FEW YEARS AGO, WHY

IS IT THE STORY OF THE 250,000

HAITIANS THAT DIED IN THE

EARTHQUAKE WAS ABSENT SO QUICKLY

FROM THE HEADLINES?

AND SHE SAID, IT WAS BECAUSE

PEOPLE EXPECT THAT THAT'S THE

KINDS OF THING THAT HAPPENS TO

THOSE PEOPLE OVER THERE.

I WONDER IF THAT'S PLAYING INTO

THE NONCOVERAGE OF THIS

DEVASTATION.

>> FIRST I THINK THE NEWS

INDUSTRY ITSELF IS BUILT ON

EVENTS.

SO WHAT MAKES NEWS IS BASICALLY

EVENTS.

THINGS THAT EXPLODE, OUT OF THE

ORDINARY.

THAT TENDS TO BE BAD NEWS.

WE COVER EVENT DRIVEN BAD NEWS.

THIS KIND OF UNDERPINNING THAT

WE ARE SEEING THROUGHOUT THE

COUNTRY IS NOT SOMETHING THAT

HAPPENED JUST ONE DAY.

YOU DON'T JUST GET TO 72,000

DEATHS FROM OPIOIDS IN ONE DAY.

IT TAKES DECADES.

IT IS INCREMENTAL BUILDING AND

THAT'S HARD FOR THE NEWS MEDIA

TO COVER EXCEPT NEWS FEATURES

AND LONGER FORM JOURNALISM.

THAT'S ACTUALLY, YOU KNOW, A

GOOD SHOW CASE FOR IT.

PEOPLE NEED TO SAY, WAIT A

SECOND.

WHAT IS GOING ON WITH AVERAGE

AND ORDINARY AMERICANS?

STARTING WITH THE QUESTION, WHY

DID THEY VOTE FOR TRUMP?

THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN A SIGNAL.

LET'S DELVE MORE DEEPLY.

LET'S NOT JUST GO INTO THE DINER

FOR AN HOUR AND TALK TO THEY

WILL.

WHAT IS ABOUT IT THIS SOCIETY

THAT WE HAVE LONGSTANDING

RELATIONSHIPS WITH A LOT OF

NICK'S OLD FRIENDS.

SO THEY WELCOMED US INTO THEIR

HOMES AND WE WERE ABLE TO TALK

TO THEM AND GET TO KNOW WHAT WAS

GOING ON.

WHAT IS SURPRISING, WE KNEW

CLAYTON.

>> FROM THE FEATURE.

A FRIEND OF YOURS.

>> EXACTLY.

AND HE WORKS AT THE FARM WHERE

NICK'S MOM LIVES.

WE WOULD SEE HIM ALL THE TIME.

WE WOULD CHAT.

WHEN WE STARTED TO TALK TO HIM

AND HE BROUGHT US INTO HIS HOME,

THAT'S WHEN WE LEARNED SO MUCH

MORE THAT WE DIDN'T KNOW

ANYTHING ABOUT.

THESE ARE AMERICANS WHO YOU WILL

SEE ON A DAILY BASIS.

THEY PUT A SMILE ON THEIR FACE

BUT YOU JUST DON'T KNOW WHAT'S

GOING ON AT HOME.

>> WE OWE SO MUCH TO THOSE

PEOPLE WHO WERE WILLING TO TALK

TO US, FRANKLY, FOR THE BOOK.

THERE IS A DEBATE IN THIS

COUNTRY ABOUT THE DEGREE TO

WHICH PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY IS

THE ISSUE.

>> THAT'S MY NEXT QUESTION.

I THINK PROBABLY MOST OF THE

PEOPLE WHO ARE LEARNING ABOUT

THIS WITHOUT HAVING EXPERIENCED

IT WOULD SAY, HEY, IT'S A

PROBLEM OF PERSONAL

IRRESPONSIBILITY, RIGHT?

>> YEAH.

>> I THINK WE HAVE A NARRATIVE

PROBLEM IN THIS COUNTRY.

THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT, I MEAN,

PEOPLE LIKE FRANKLY CLAYTON

EXHIBITED SOME IRRESPONSIBILITY

IN MAKING SELF-DESTRUCTIVE

CHOICES AND CLAYTON WOULD HAVE

ACKNOWLEDGED THAT.

BUT WE HAVE TO SEE THAT KIDS ARE

OFTEN PROPELLED ON A TRAJECTORY

THAT WILL LEAD THEM TOWARD

IRRESPONSIBLE DECISIONS.

IF YOU ARE RAISED IN A DEEPLY

TROUBLED HOUSEHOLD AND DON'T GET

SUPPORT AND GO TO A SCHOOL,

CLAYTON WAS KICKED OUT OF SCHOOL

IN THE NINTH GRADE.

WHAT IS SOMEBODY KICKED OUT OF

SCHOOL IN THE NINTH GRADE

SUPPOSED TO DO?

CLAYTON WAS MENTALLY TALENTED

AND HE NEVER STUDIED HAD A

CHANCE TO, HE STUDIED CHEMISTRY.

HE ENDED UP COOKING METH.

THAT WAS A TERRIBLY DESTRUCTIVE

THING TO DO.

IF THE SCHOOL SYSTEM HAD KEPT

HIM IN, IF HE HAD BEEN A

GRADUATE, IF HE HAD HAD BETTER

JOBS AVAILABLE, THE WAY HIS DAD

HAD, IT WOULD HAVE BEEN MUCH

BETTER FOR CLAYTON AND THE

COMMUNITY.

>> AND THAT'S WHAT MAKES IT EVEN

MORE TRAGIC.

NOT ONLY CLAYTON AND HIS KIDS,

BUT IT IS GENERATIONAL.

THEIR PARENTS ARE WORKING CLASS

PEOPLE WHO HAD OPPORTUNITIES AND

WERE MOVING UP.

>> THAT'S WHERE THE STRUCTURE OF

SOCIETY COMES IN.

AT THAT TIME IN THEIR SMALL

CIRCLE IN THEIR SOCIETY, THERE

WERE JOBS AVAILABLE.

MANUFACTURING JOBS, WORKING

CLASS JOBS, REALLY GOOD JOBS

THAT PAID ENOUGH SO YOU COULD

ACTUALLY SURVIVE AND GROW, RAISE

A FAMILY ON IT.

WE DON'T HAVE THAT.

THAT SOCIAL STRUCTURE IS FALLING

APART.

CHURCHES, INSTITUTIONS,

COMMUNITY INSTITUTIONS THAT

HELPED PEOPLE COME TOGETHER.

THAT'S ALL FALLING APART.

ONE MAN CAN'T SURVIVE AS AN

ISLAND.

WE ARE PART OF A SOCIETY.

THAT'S WHERE THE SOCIAL

RESPONSIBILITY COMES IN AS WELL.

WHEN IT GETS TO THE POINT WHERE

YOU CAN PREDICT IN MANY CASES

WHAT THE FUTURE OF A CHILD WOULD

BE BASED ON THE ZIP CODE THAT HE

OR SHE WAS BORN IN, WE KNOW IT

IS NOT JUST THAT INFANT'S FAULT.

>> HOW DID WE GET HERE?

WHAT WERE THE MISTAKES OUR

POLITICAL LEADERS MADE?

WHEN DID THEY START MAKING THEM?

>> SO IF YOU LOOK AT THE STATS,

THEN ESSENTIALLY THINGS BEGAN TO

GO DOWN HILL IN THE 1970s.

THAT'S WHEN HIGH SCHOOL

GRADUATION RATES STAG MATE.

MASSAC

MASS INCARCERATION, WAGES FOR

THE WORKING CLASS STAGNATE AND

DECLINE.

SO FOR EXAMPLE, THE FEDERAL

MINIMUM WAGE IN 1968, IF IT HAD

KEPT UP WITH INFLATION AND WITH

PRODUCTIVITY, IT WOULD NOW BE

$22 AN HOUR.

FAMILIES WOULD BE IN MUCH BETTER

SHAPE AND KIDS WOULD BE IF THAT

WAS THE PREVAILING MINIMUM WAGE.

AND WE HAD THE COLLAPSE OF LABOR

UNIONS WHICH I THINK IS AN

ELEMENT OF THAT.

WITH THE CHANGE OF NARRATIVE.

WE BEGAN TO BE LESS LOOKING FOR

WAYS TO SUPPORT PEOPLE AND MORE

POINTING FINGERS, RATHER THAN

OFFERING HELPING HANDS.

IN OREGON, I GREW VERY MUCH ONE

THE IDEA OF THE PIONEER ETHOS.

OUR STATE WAS PEOPLED BY RISK

TAKERS WHO CROSSED THE COUNTRY,

WHO PULLED THEMSELVES UP BY THE

BOOT STRAPS.

AND ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I

THINK SHERYL AND I SAW IN

WRITING TIGHT ROPE WAS, YES,

THOSE WERE INCREDIBLY BRAVE,

COURAGEOUS PEOPLE SHOWING

TREMENDOUS INITIATIVE.

BUT THEY WERE RESPONDING TO A

GOVERNMENT PROGRAM.

THEY WERE GOING BECAUSE OF THE

CHANCE TO GET HOMESTEADS.

ONCE THEY GOT OUT TO OREGON,

THEY WOULD GET 640 ACRES.

LATER, IT TRANSFORMED PEOPLE BY

GIVING OPPORTUNITY TO THESE RISK

TAKERS.

LATER, RURAL

ELECTRICITYIFICATION, THE GI

BILL OF RIGHTS, IT LET PEOPLE

GET AN EDUCATION AND GET THEIR

HOMES.

SO EVEN IN THESE PERIODS THAT WE

ACCLAIM AS THE --

>> EVEN WHEN WE THINK WE DID IT

ON OUR OWN.

WE DID NOT DO IT ON OUR OWN.

ONE THING THAT WORKING CLASS

AMERICANS DID HAVE FOR A LONG

TIME, AT LEAST WHEN YOU READ THE

HISTORY BOOKS, THEY HAD A PARTY

THAT TENDED TO SUPPORT THEIR

INTEREST.

THEY HAD THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY

THAT WAS A WORKING CLASS PARTY

THAT SAW THEM AS CONSTITUENTS

RATHER THAN IRREDEEMABLE

DEPLORABLES.

IT IS NOT JUST SOMETHING THAT

HAPPENED HERE AS WE SAW IN THE

BRITISH ELECTIONS, THE LABOR

PARTY ABANDON THE WORKING CLASS.

IT IS HAPPENING IN ITALY, IN

SPAIN.

WHY DID IT HAPPEN HERE?

>> I THINK A LOT OF IT IS THAT

THERE'S JUST BEEN A GRADUAL

DISAPPEARANCE OF THE CHOICE.

THEY START TO LOSE THEIR JOBS.

WITH GLOBALIZATION, ALL

AMERICANS BENEFITED BECAUSE WE

HAD CHEAPER PRODUCTS.

AT THE SAME TIME, WE DID LOSE

JOBS.

SO THERE WERE NO OTHER

ALTERNATIVES.

>> BUT IT MOVED TO MEXICO, TO

CHINA, BECAUSE OF POLICY

SUPPORTED 20 DEMOCRATIC PARTY.

YOU CAN SEE THAT THEY'RE STILL

THERE.

IT IS A MATTER OF JOBS VERSUS

GENERAL WELFARE.

EVERYBODY PAID LESS FOR THE

CHEAPER PRODUCTS OVERSEAS.

SO THERE WAS CONSUMER WELFARE.

BUT AT THE SAME TIME, THE

SPECIFIC JOBS FOR THAT LOCATION

WERE LOST.

SO THERE HAS BEEN ALIENATION.

BOTH PARTIES LOST TOUCH WITH THE

AVERAGE AMERICANS.

NOW THE REPUBLICANS SEEMED TO

HAVE GARNERED FROM WORKING CLASS

AMERICANS WHAT HAS BEEN THE

DEMOCRATIC PARTY.

I THINK BOTH PARTIES HAVE JUST

FORGOTTEN THESE PEOPLE.

AND ALSO, THESE PEOPLE, IF

YOU'RE STRUGGLING WITH A DRUG

ADDICTION OR AN ALCOHOLIC, YOU

KNOW, PROBLEM, YOU'RE LESS

LIKELY TO VOTE, LESS LIKELY TO

HAVE A VOICE OR GIVE VOICE.

SO YOU ARE EASILY FORGOTTEN.

>> I WOULD ADD THAT THERE IS

ALSO HISTORICALLY IN THE U.S.,

ATTENTION BETWEEN WHITE WORKING

CLASS AND THE BLACK WORKING

CLASS.

AND YOU HAD PEOPLE LIKE BOBBY

KENNEDY WHO TRIED VERY, VERY

HARD TO BRIDGE THAT.

AND TO GET THE WORKING CLASS OF

EVERY RACE TO COOPERATE FOR

POLICIES THAT WOULD MAKE A

DIFFERENCE.

BUT THAT DIDN'T REALLY HAPPEN.

AND RICHARD NIXON REALLY MADE A,

PURSUED A STRATEGY OF PITTING

AGAINST EACH OTHER AND AIMING

FOR THE SOUTH AND FOR THE --

>> THAT NEW STRATEGY.

AND USING AFRICAN-AMERICANS AS

SCAPE GOAT AND AS A WAY TO

SOLICIT VOTES FROM THOSE WHITES

WHO FELT THREATENED.

AND I THINK THAT THAT WORKED

REASONABLY WELL.

IT MEANT THAT A LOT OF WORKING

CLASS WHITES THEN JOINED, BECAME

REPUBLICANS NOT BECAUSE OF

ECONOMIC ISSUES BUT BECAUSE OF

ISSUES RELATED TO RACE, GAY

MARRIAGE, RELIGION, GUNS.

>> ALL THESE DIVIDED PEOPLE.

IN THE PROGRESSIVE LEFT, THEY'RE

EXACERBATING THAT WITH THE

SO-CALLED IDENTITY POLITICS

DIVIDING PEOPLE.

I REMEMBER SPEAKING TO AN AUTHOR

OF A BOOK THAT WAS TALKING ABOUT

THE RESURGENCE OF THE LABOR

MOVEMENT.

WHAT ABOUT THOSE, ARE YOU

CONCERNED THAT THE WHITE WORKING

CLASS AND THE RUST BELT MAY HAVE

ABANDONED THIS STRATEGY?

NO, NO.

OF COURSE NOT.

BUT IT DID.

>> AND CERTAINLY IN THE

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN, YOU HEAR

A LOT OF TALK ABOUT MIDDLE CLASS

ISSUES.

A LOT OF TALK ABOUT COLLEGE

ACCESS.

NOBODY IS REALLY TALKING ABOUT

ONE IN SEVEN AMERICAN KIDS

DOESN'T GRADUATE FROM HIGH

SCHOOL.

THE WORKING CLASS IS NOT

MENTIONED.

WHAT WOULD HAVE MADE THE

DIFFERENCE?

IT WOULD HAVE BEEN, YOU KNOW,

EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION

PROGRAMS.

>> LET'S TALK ABOUT THAT.

LET'S BREAK IT DOWN.

YOU DEDICATE A WHOLE CHAPTER TO

THE POLICY STEPS.

>> YES.

ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT WE

BELIEVE IN IS EARLY CHILDHOOD

EDUCATION.

?

THAT'S REALLY IMPORTANT.

AS I MENTIONED WITH THE ZIP

CODES, WHAT CAN THEY DO?

IT'S NOT THEIR FAULT THEY'RE

BORN IN A CERTAIN ZIP CODE.

IF THEY'RE BORN WITH DRUGS IN

THEIR SYSTEM, THEY NEED A

HOSPITAL THAT WILL TRY TO GET

THE DRUGS OUT OF INFANT'S

SYSTEM.

AND THEN HAVE CERTAIN KIND OF

CARE SYSTEM THAT TRIES TO GET

THEM OUT OF THAT STATE.

IN OTHER WORDS, EARLY CHILDHOOD

EDUCATION.

IT IS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE.

IT IS SOMETHING THAT CAN BE

TURNED AROUND WEST NEED THE

POLITICAL WILL TO DEVOTE THE

RESOURCES TO HAVE THEM ALL OVER

THE COUNTRY.

WE WENT TO VISIT THIS CIRCLE

PRESCHOOL THEY SPECIALIZE IN

TROUBLED INFANTS.

KIDS WHO HAVE, YOU KNOW, DRUGS

IN THEIR SYSTEM.

I WENT THERE AND VISITED A

FAMILY.

THE LITTLE BOY HAD BEEN BORN IN

THAT SITUATION.

THE TWO PARENTS WERE TOO

ADDICTED ON DRUGS AND COULDN'T

CARE FOR THE INFANLTS SO THE

UNCLE ACTUALLY DID.

THE UNCLE AND THE AUNT.

GET IT OUT OF THEIR SYSTEM

WITHIN SEVEN TO EIGHT MONTHS.

THIS KID WAS ALMOST NORMAL KID.

HE STILL HAD A TEMPER.

HE WAS ABLE TO LAUGH AND PLAY.

>> THIS WAS A MODEL THAT COULD

SERVE.

>> WE NEED THESE EVERYBODY

WHERE.

SHE WAS SAYING, YES, WE'RE

TRYING TO BUILD A MODEL THAT WE

CAN, A TEMPLATE THAT WE CAN SEND

AROUND THE COUNTRY.

>> WHAT ELSE?

WHAT ARE THE THINGS NEED TO BE

DONE?

>> WELL, DRUG REHABILITATION.

WE INKARS RATE A LOT OF SMALL

TIME DRUG USERS.

SOME OF THIS IS CHANGING.

SINCE 1986, WE HAD THE WAR ON

DRUGS AND THE TWO LAWS THAT

ACTUALLY SAID, OKAY, NOW WE HAVE

TO THROW EVEN SMALL TIME, YOU

BREAK UP FAMILIES BUT YOU'RE

PUTTING PEOPLE THIS JAIL WHO

DON'T BELONG THERE.

THEY REALLY BELONG IN REHAB IF

THEY HAVE A DRUG ADDICTION.

WE VISIT AD NAM OKLAHOMA.

YES, THEY'VE COMMITTED CRIMES.

THEY'RE ADDICTED TO DRUGS AND

THEY NEED MONEY TO PAY FOR THEIR

ADDICTION.

INSTEAD OF SENDING THEM TO

PRISON, WHAT THEY SAY IS, OKAY,

THIS PERSON QUALIFIES, LET'S

SEND THEM ON DRUG

REHABILITATION.

OF COURSE, IT IS PAID BY PRIVATE

PHILANTHROPY BUT IT IS A

MIRACULOUS PROGRAM.

WITHIN TWO YEARS THEY GRADUATE

AND THEY ARE THAT GIVEN BUSINESS

SKILLS.

THEY CAN GET A JOB.

THEY'RE GIVEN INTERNSHIPS AND

ALL KINDS OF RETRAINING,

RETOOLING.

THEY'RE TAUGHT THINGS LIKE

MORALITY.

WHAT ARE GOOD MORALS?

INSTEAD OF STEALING THAT $100,

YOU HAVE TO WORK FOUR HOURS FOR

IT BUT IT IS BETTER THAN

STEALING.

IT NEEDS TO BE WIDESPREAD AND

NOT JUST PAID FOR BY PRIVATE

PHILANTHROPY.

>> HOW ABOUT EDUCATION?

HOW ABOUT UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE?

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE THINGS CAN

BE REALISTICALLY ACCOMPLISHED?

>> THE U.S. IS JUST ABOUT THE

ONLY ADVANCED COUNTRY THAT DOES

NOT HAVE UNIVERSAL HEALTH

INSURANCE OF SOME KIND.

THIS HAS TO INCLUDE NOT JUST

HEALTH CARE BUT DENTAL CARE.

WE WATCHED.

SOMEBODY HAD 18 TEETH PULLED.

18 TEETH.

HE HADN'T SEEN A DENTIST IN 20

YEARS.

>> AMERICANS.

THAT STORY THAT YOU TELL IS,

DOCTORS HAVE TO GO FAST THEY

WERE, LET'S FACE IT, IN SOME

THIRD WORLD COUNTRY.

AND AMERICANS LINE UP TO GET

THEIR TEETH TAKEN CARE OF, AND

SOME OF THEM HAVE TO LOSE ALL

THEIR TEETH BECAUSE THEY

HAVEN'T.

>> AND MEDICAIDS VISION.

OUR SYSTEM REALLY CHAOTIC.

SO FOR THIS ONE DAY, THIS

EXCELLENT REMOTE AREA, THEY HAVE

THIS PROGRAM WHERE THEY GO ON

LOTS OF CITIES.

THEY'RE UP TO 70, 80 CITIES IN

AMERICA FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED TO

HAVE FREE ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE.

AND THESE PEOPLE LINING UP

OVERNIGHT BECAUSE THEY WANT TO

GET A SPOT AND MAKE SURE THEY

CAN GET THEIR TEETH TREATED.

>> IN THE U.S., THERE ARE AT

LEAST THREE XOINLTS HAVE A

SHORTER LIFE EXPECTANCY IN THE

U.S.

IN THE RICHEST COUNTRY IN THE

HISTORY OF THE WORLD THAN EITHER

CAMBODIA OR BANGLADESH.

THAT'S SCANDALOUS.

WE KNOW HOW TO ADDRESS THAT.

>> AND OFTEN WITHIN THE SAME

CITY.

IN PHILADELPHIA, IF YOU TAKE ON

DISTRICT, THE LIFE EXPECTANCY

DIFFERENCE IS 20 YEARS.

>> AND OF COURSE YOU TALK, YOU

MENTIONED THIS.

WE'VE HEARD THIS BEFORE.

THE COST OF NOT DOING THESE

THINGS, THE COST OF LETTING THE

STATUS QUO CONTINUE IS MUCH MORE

EXPENSIVE THAN THE INVESTMENT

THAT'S WOULD STOP THESE THINGS.

YOU CAN HEAR IT IN THE

REPUBLICAN PARTY.

THE REAL POP LIST REPUBLICANS

AND DEMOCRATS ARE BEGINNING TO

TALK ABOUT THIS.

CAN THEY COME TOGETHER TO DEAL

WITH THIS?

>> I THINK THERE'S ONE AREA THAT

THEY ACTUALLY CAN AT LEAST

BEGIN.

THAT'S EARLY CHILDHOOD.

BECAUSE, ACTUALLY, THE RED

STATES ARE DOING A REALLY GOOD

JOB OF EARLY CHILDHOOD

EDUCATION.

IN SOME CASES, THOSE ARE A ROLE

MODEL FOR OTHER CITIES AND OTHER

STATES IN AMERICA.

WHOEVER HAS THE BEST PROBLEM,

LET'S USE IT AS A MODEL AND

REPLICATE IT AS A COUNTRY.

>> I WOULD SAY WE'RE GETTING

MORE HUMANE DRUG POLICIES NOW

THAT THIS IS BECOMING MUCH MORE

OF A WHITE ISSUE.

THERE'S AN ISSUE OF DOUBLE

STANDARDS THERE.

IF BELATEDLY NOW BECAUSE THE A

LOT OF WHITES IN OHIO ARE

SUFFERING FROM ADDICTION, IF

THAT CAN LEAD TO BETTER POLICIES

AND TO TREATMENT INSTEAD OF

INCARCERATION, THEN YOU KNOW, WE

AS A COUNTRY WOULD BE BETTER

OFF.

>> YOU HAVE COVEREDER

DEVASTATING STORIES, TERRIBLE

STORIES, GOING BACK TO THE

BEGINNING OF THE CONVERSATION.

THESE ARE IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD.

HOW MUCH MORE DIFFICULT WAS IT

TO COVER THIS STORY?

WHEN IT IS SO PERSONAL?

I SPENT A LOT OF TIME, I HAVE

THIS PROTECTION.

THERE WAS A GIRL I HAD A CRUSH

ON IN THE SEVENTH GRADE.

SHE WAS VERY BRAVE TELLING US

HER STORY.

AND SHE'S SMART.

SHE'S TALENTED.

AND SHE ENDED UP WITH ALCOHOL

AND DRUG ABUSE AND ENDED UP

HOMELESS FOR SEVEN YEARS.

SHE WAS DEEPLY EMBARRASSED ABOUT

THIS SHE WANTED TO SHARE HER

STORY SO PEOPLE WOULD UNDERSTAND

WHAT IT IS LIKE TO GO THROUGH

THIS.

WE'RE SO GRATEFUL TO PEOPLE LIKE

MARY.

BUT IT IS A LOT TOUGHER

EMOTIONALLY TO WRITE THAT YOUR

BELOVED HOME TOWN.

AND WE HOPE IN TURN THIS WILL

CAST A SPOTLIGHT ON SOME OF

THESE ISSUES AND LEAD TO BETTER

POLICIES.

>> WE CAN ALL HOPE THAT.

AND I KNOW YOU GUYS ARE ALWAYS

HOPEFUL IN EVERYTHING THAT YOU

WRITE.

IN FACT, THE SUB TITLE IS

AMERICANS REACHING FOR HOPE.

IF PEOPLE READ THIS BOOK, MAYBE

WE'LL MAKE SOME STRIDES.

THANK YOU.

>> THANK YOU SO MUCH.

>> "METROFOCUS" IS MADE POSSIBLE

BY

JAMES AND MERRYL TISCH,

SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III,

THE SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA

PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT

ANTI-SEMITISM.

BERNARD AND IRENE SCHWARTZ,

ROSALIND P. WALTER,

BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG,

AND BY --


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