War on Drugs
You may have heard in recent days that the poverty rate in the United States jumped as a result of the recent recession. No doubt this will be used to justify more increases in spending, though Washington hasn’t needed a recession to increase spending on anti-poverty programs.
This chart from the Heritage Foundation shows spending for the individual programs and how much they have increased over the last 10 years. Note that while spending for welfare programs is at a record high, it has been a record levels since the “compassionate conservative” presidency of George W. Bush.
Despite all of this spending, the poverty rate has not only not changed, it has gone up, and since the passage of Great Society programs, which include Medicare and Medicaid, the trillions of dollars spent in the War on Poverty have been as effective as government crusades against some social ill, such as the War on Drugs, has been…a failure.
“You raise the taxes, people pack up and leave, you f**king retards. You guys don’t understand that concept?” - Adam Carolla
Reason TV recently sat down with Adam Carolla, a comedian, former co-host of The Man Show and host of The Adam Carolla Show, to discuss taxes, how big government has destroyed Los Angeles and Hollywood, individual liberty, drug laws and much more.
There is some language, but it’s hilarious.
It’s been a long time since I last interviewed Dan Carlin, host of the Hardcore History and Common Sense podcasts. That doesn’t mean that he’s stopped being interesting, however. In this installment, I asked his unique, historically based perspective on China, Iraq, the United States military and marijuana.
In your Hardcore History podcast Death Throes of the Republic, you say that there were “perverse incentives” in place that kept Rome in a state of warfare. Having worked in Washington D.C., I have to wonder if the same is true of here. What do you say?
I think that’s going to be a pretty accurate statement in any society where warmaking becomes a regular feature of the system. Once you develop a major societal infrastructure to support such a military establishment, you begin to build up a vast array of interests (both in supplying and providing for such an entity, but also for ways to employ it that would benefit someone). These interests have a way of bending and warping the nation-state’s priorities and interests. I think that is something that is one of the lessons the writers of Classical Antiquity try to pass on to us. The people who founded the United States read those authors and understood those lessons, and tried to heed the warnings of the Greek and Roman writers and keep those “perverse incentives” under control by limiting the growth of a large standing army and by counseling an avoidance of things like “ entangling alliances” that could drag you into someone else’s wars.
While most of the posts on marijuana here tend to be United States focussed, this article from the British Daily Mail provides a glimpse into how the problem of prohibition is universal:
Criminal gangs are now producing so much cannabis in Britain’s suburban streets that there is a ‘market for export’.
Police say the gangs have taken over cinemas, houses, pubs, banks and shops left empty because of the recession.
Almost 7,000 cannabis factories were discovered last year - more than double the
number found two years ago.
Incredibly, a report by chief constables says the gangs are growing so much cannabis
that – for the first time – there is enough to start selling the drug overseas.
During a global economic crisis, what on earth is the logic of spending exorbitant amounts to squash an industry with such massive demand? Despite freeing up our prisons and cutting spend, legalization could even be the key to prosperity.
(CNN) — Former Mexican President Vicente Fox has come out in favor of legalizing drugs in an attempt to disrupt the illegal markets that have turned parts of Mexico into battlegrounds.
In a proposal published over the weekend on his website, Fox argued that drug addiction and drug-related violence should be treated as distinct and separate challenges.
“So, drug consumption is the responsibility of the person who consumes; of the family who is responsible for educating; and of the education system and the socioeconomic context,” wrote Fox, who was president from 2000 to 2006. “What we have to do is legalize the production, the sale and the distribution.”
For those who have watched the policy consequences unfold, the need for legalization cannot seem any more precient.
Calderon said he has taken note of the idea of legally regulating drugs in the past.
“It’s a fundamental debate in which I think, first of all, you must allow a democratic plurality (of opinions),” he said. “You have to analyze carefully the pros and cons and the key arguments on both sides.”
Really interesting polling data from Rasmussen:
Americans are evenly divided over whether marijuana should be legalized in the United States, but most expect it to happen within the next decade.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Adults nationally shows 43% believe marijuana should be legalized. But 42% think it should remain an illegal drug. Another 15% are not sure.
That is a very, very slim win for marijuana legalization and, since it’s at the national scale, may be more representative of an urban-rural divide than people who’ve actually thought about the issue. The United States has been beset with decades of anti-drug propaganda that reinforced the notion of prohibition as a natural necessity to keep kids from becoming drug-addled dropouts.
The way to win over those who aren’t pot enthusiasts is to demonstrate that recreational drugs are something beyond the capacity of the state and which will only lead to bloated prisons, wrecked lives and a disturbing level of lethal police raids.
I suspect there’s quite a few people like that in Southern California, which needs to be converted if poll numbers are to be improved on Proposition 19 by November:
Voters are poised to reject a ballot measure to legalize adults’ recreational use of marijuana in California and another that would suspend the state’s landmark greenhouse gas reduction law, according to a Field Poll of to be released today.
As the debate over the extention of the Bush tax cuts heats up, with Obama Administration officials foolishly saying that their expiration will have no impact on a fragile economy, Dan Mitchell points out that the working class, lower and middle income earners, will be causualities of the War on the Rich:
Unfortunately, the Obama Administration’s approach is to look at tax policy only through the prism of class warfare. This means that some tax cuts can be extended, but only if there is no direct benefit to anybody making more than $200,000 or $250,000 per year. The folks at the White House apparently don’t understand, however, that higher direct costs on the “rich” will translate into higher indirect costs on the rest of us. Higher tax rates on work, saving, investment, and entrepreneurship will slow economic growth. And, because of compounding, even small changes in the long-run growth rate can have a significant impact on living standards within one or two decades. This is one of the reasons why high-tax European welfare states have lost ground in recent decades compared to the United States.