Your Tax Dollars at Work

 Posted on June 13, 2007 in Uncategorized

From the "don't they have anything better to do?" file:

A crook calls up a couple of friends. "I got a lick," he says. "There's this cocaine dealer. I know where he stays. Help me jack him." The friends agree - where's the harm in jacking a dealer? But there is no dealer. The crook is a government informant, and he's prepared to swear that the plan was to rob the dealer of more than 10 kilos of cocaine (recordings of conversations between the players are ambiguous) and sell it. Out of thin air he has just created a federal cocaine distribution conspiracy for which his two "friends" are going to go down hard.

You're paying the informant for this work. You're also paying the cops who run him, and the prosecutors who will prosecute the accused, and the judges who will preside over their cases, as well as myriad other participants in the criminal "justice" system. If they don't have money to hire lawyers, you're paying their public defenders.

You're paying a huge amount of money to "fight drugs." The money goes to the participants in the system, and the people and companies that support and supply all of those groups. The "war on drugs" is a massive redistribution of wealth from the taxpayers to the players in the system.

Assume that such a redistribution of wealth might be justifiable if it provides some amount of benefit to the taxpayers. Does the war on drugs pass the test? By any metric that I know of, it fails. We have more prisons than ever before, and they're more crowded with people charged with narcotics cases than ever before. Yet - most importantly - there are more drugs available, more cheaply (according to a DEA agent I know), than there were 30 years ago when the "war on drugs" began.

A good lawyer defending people accused of drug crimes can make more money from the war on drugs than any judge, prosecutor, cop, or prison guard. Individually, we have more at stake in the war on drugs than almost anyone else. Yet ours voices, along with those of the families of people imprisoned in the "war," are the loudest voices in opposition to the "war."

Robert Guest at I Was the State has a post today entitled Put Me Out of Business - End Prohibition. He talks about how, even though he stands to lose a lot of business if drugs are legalized, legalizing drugs is the right thing to do.

Robert is right. Of course.

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