The CATO Institute has published articles supporting the legalization of street drugs, citing the economic benefits. Articles on their web site claim we could gain approximately 46 billion in new revenue from tax receipts on the likes of marijuana, cocaine, heroin, etc. All governments could save about 41 billion, with state and local governments saving the bulk by the legalization.
Others are telling us the war on drugs has failed and we must call a truce or a surrender. But, mainly, just do away with the prohibition and start taxing. I suppose we need the tax money for education and infrastructure, or maybe for Wall Street.
The current administration, to their credit, are shying away from any repeal of the prohibition on hard drugs. They must understand what a complete disaster that would be.
Most people who have done serious study on legalizing possession and production of street drugs say this would worsen the problem of drug abuse. First, it would lower the price, which would include more people and more frequency of use. That is, if the tax rate would be consistent with alcohol taxes. It would probably take a lower tax rate to shut down the black market.
Of course, our policy on alcohol is a complete disaster, with a continuing liberalism of regulatory policies. Alcohol kills more people than all illicit drugs combined by about 5 to 1. Alcohol is cheap and state governments don’t raise taxes on alcohol in any meaningful way. The Feds have not adjusted for inflation of the federal tax; the effective rate now being about 20% of what it was 60 years ago.
Henry Ford learned long ago if you want to sell cars you have to make them affordable. Same with these drugs.
CATO Institute needs to always remember there is this direct correlation between affordability of alcohol-drugs and homicides and traffic-related fatalities. When the price goes down the deaths go up. We have the experience of cheap alcohol; now think of the catastrophe cheap drugs will produce !
CATO articles like to talk about economics, which is a cold attitude, considering to subject matter. Why don’t we consider economics is other disciplines ? What if we ceased enforcing speeding laws ? Think of what all the eliminated traffic troopers and parked cruisers would do to boost government revenue. No speeding tickets would also mean no rise in auto premiums. This would mean tens of thousands of dollars plowed into the local economies. Maybe it is time to stop the war on speeding ! After all, we can never cure speeding, no matter how much we seem to spend in the effort. Even the camera-cops cannot keep drivers from speeding above the limits.
After the oil embargo of 1974 the speed on interstate highways was reduced to 55 mph. The first year there was a 17% decrease in traffic fatalities. In 1987 the politicians buckled under to complaints and raised the speed limit to 65mph on some interstates. In 1995 they repealed the speed control law. The University of Illinois did a ten year study(1995-2005) that concluded the raised speed limit cost 12,500 deaths. NHTSA estimates 13,000 lives a year are lost to speeding.
Responsible people know there is heavier considerations than economics concerning drug legalization. Human considerations should always outweigh economics; be it drugs, speeding, or other disciplines. But, when it comes to drugs I believe it is also in our economic interest to preserve prohibition. When you start adding up all the secondary economic effects of repeal there will be enormous economic costs. Simply, we would have a higher use and more negative effects. It would be an eye-opening experience I hope never happens.
Maybe, the Libertarians take positions like harmful drug legalization, not because it makes sense or will workout, but because it conforms to their wild west ideology.
It is true we should have more creative enforcement of our laws and practices in combating drug enforcement and possession. This would offer a higher resistance to the illegal drug traffic and save lives to boot. We want worry about the economics.
In the final analysis, it is just as silly and wholly impractical to legalize street drugs as it would be to abandon all speeding laws.
State lotteries should be illegal; everywhere. Lotteries are a voluntary tax based on a fraud. That is why lotteries are immoral. All the publicity of the recent campaign, compounds the travesty of the lottery. Vulnerable people, mostly poor and ignorant feel a simple ticket purchase, which very well might take food off the table, will send their ship home. Do they really understand the odds of one chance in 176 million ? As the deadline drew near, the numbers of suckers swelled as the media poured it on at every opportunity.
Just look at the demographics of who plays the lottery ! Do physicans, attorneys, educators, professionals of all stripes play the lottery in signficant numbers ? Of course not ! Lottery players are the bottom soci-economic rug of society.
Sometimes, the lottery proceeds is marketed as a contribution to lift people and give them opportunities. Thus, the brand name “education” lottery.
But, approximately half of the lottery proceeds go to administration. That is more inefficient than any government I know anywhere. The remainder provides tax relief for some of the very people who should be paying more taxes, as the lottery, in reality, is a very brutal regressive tax.
Occasionally, something provokes a sharp clash of faiths, such as the moving of footballer Tim Tebow to the New York area.
Tebow thinks football is just a game. It is to be played or watched, and afterward to go home and forget. Yet, to be played and enjoyed competitively. But, football is not a way of life. It has no sustenance, and it’s overall worth in our modern society, is vastly overvalued. Tebow, although good at what he does, just does not take football so serious, as do many other people.
Tebow says his primary purpose in life is to share his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I could add with a lost and exceedingly wicked world. His faith is a faith of permanence. This permanence is a cause of true and lasting value.
Conversely, the clash with Tebow from the secular world involves people whose life satisfaction and desires revolve around various pleasures, including football. They awake with this game on their mind; remains in their mind on and off during the day, and still there when they retire at night. This is especially true of some of the more rabid spectators. In the broad sense you could call this faith, as it has faith characteristics. A secular faith of superficially that begins empty and remains empty.
To suggest sports and pleasure might not be so important could be, at least irreverent, and maybe sacrilegious in some venues.
With Tebow, on the heels of the Asian basketball player, Jeremy Lin, also a devout Christian; maybe the New York media will recognize there are other faiths. Yes, true and lasting faiths.
Legitimate government entries into the private lives of individuals involve healing and teaching. Maybe it is no irony that these two noble endeavors have become two of the nations largest and most penetrating “shakedowns”.
It is professed on most public stages, that our ills can be resolved by more proficient and enlightened education. If we fail to compete economically with the emerging countries it must be due to failures at the schoolhouse, etc. So, we must make new investments in teacher pay and brick and mortar. Never mind, we have been doing this plan for decades without any remarkable and overall improvement outcome. As an example, our nation is plagued with crimes and corruption, that many feel could be overcome by higher education standards. Yet, some of our most celebrated criminals are very well educated in most ways we evaluate learning.
No, education is not a panacea for our ills. But, directing our problems toward the schoolhouse is palatable for politicians. Politicians can spend money, ostensibly, for advancing education and get re-elected while waiting for the results of their policy. Thus, we have the grand illusion that more money for education can fix anything. There are other places to look for resolutions to the ills of education and society, but we dare not look there.
Likewise, the healing arts and healing sciences have enjoyed a rate of growth that exceeds most everything else. Health Care, is now at near 18% of GNP. And, projected (CBO) to be 25% in 2025.
These big increases in per capita costs have not made big changes in mortality. Mortality rates have inched up some, with the event of medical spending habits in the last few decades. Mortality rates didn’t budge in the first ten years of Medicare(1965-75). Yet, many countries, throughout the world, have greater life expectancy than Americans, which is now at 78 years. Same with infant morality. We are well behind the leaders.
Meanwhile the consumers, be it the third party payers or individuals, are being grossly overcharged for most any medical purchase.
Pharmaceuticals hail the miracle drugs that can dupe some people when they are advertised on the national media. Incidentally, we are one of the two countries in the world where promoting drugs this way is permitted.
The medical field suffers from a lack of competition or any other form of discipline. So, it is natural for costs to expand. The Affordable Care Act(ACA), might have laudable features, but offers too few solutions to runaway costs which everyone agrees is unsustainable. Everyone is making too much money ; the doctors, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and especially insurance companies. These interests are monopolistic ! The free market has little or no influence on these powerful interest groups. In some states one insurance company writes 80% or more of the private policies.
It is also estimated that combined Medicaid and Medicare fraud could be in the 100 billion a year range. Apparently, the honor system is not working so well.
It is not right that healing should be a rogue business, but that is where it is landed !
What are President Obama’s biggest mistakes ? There may be a number to choose from that history will provide, but some salient and heavy mistakes are as follows :
1. Extending the Bush tax cuts.
2. Not adopting and running with the Simpson-Bowles recommendations on debt.
3. Asking Israel to abide by the pre-1967 boundaries.
4. Repeal of the no ask- no tell policy.
5. Pushing through a comprehensive health bill, that required making concessions to the dominant players in medical service.
I wouldn’t be surprised if President Obama himself would agree with me on some of these.