While We Are Wringing Our Hands….

While we wait for the impact of sequestration to hit, we might ponder this: In an interview with Spiegel Online, a Harvard economist insisted that we could save an amount equal to the sequestration cuts every year  just by ending the War on Drugs.

“The prohibition of drugs is the worst solution for preventing abuse,” said Professor Jeffrey Miron. “Firstly, it brings about a black market that is corrupt and costs human lives. Secondly, it constrains people who wouldn’t abuse drugs. Thirdly, prohibiting drugs is expensive.”

I have made this point before.

The direct costs of our counterproductive drug war have been estimated at more than 60 billion dollars a year. And yet, in all the years we have pursued this war, we have not reduced the percentage of Americans using hard drugs. Instead, that sixty billion dollars a year has destroyed lives, incentivized criminal activity, increased police corruption, laid waste to several South American countries, and decimated inner city neighborhoods.

If our elected officials are really so intent upon reducing the national debt, wouldn’t it make more sense to stop spending enormous sums for a failed policy, and use at least some of the savings for treatment? Better still, we could legalize marijuana–which medical experts tell us is less dangerous than booze–and tax it.

I don’t know whether we’d save more than the sequester, but abandoning a failed, horrifically expensive program would be a far more rational approach than taking an indiscriminate, meat ax approach to the budget.


  1. We have spent over a Trillion dollars on this stupidity since 1968. In the process, we have filled our prisons to capacity and beyond, breaking up families and ruining lives. This has brought us the privatized prison system, which has created a new class of slavery and extreme corruption in government. Only those who profit from prohibition want to keep it in place.

  2. I agree. Wasteful, inefficient and needs to go. The reason it probably won’t: Too many people getting rich the way it is. The Booze & Cigarette Lobby like it. The Prison Industrial Complex folks LOVE it. Lots of Prosecutors & Defense Lawyers making money too. As long as powerful people are getting rich from this, it is hard to see it changing. I wish it would.
    Another place to find LOTS of money: quit providing FREE defense for Europe and Japan. If they WANT us there, PAY US. Otherwise, we need to bring the troops home. Europe no longer needs us to protect it from the USSR. It disolved. Lets come home.

  3. PatMcC, Germany begged the US military (bases leaders) not to leave them. They depend on the Americans to spend money in their communities so they made it so attractive to the military that they stayed. That’s the only reason why we still have bases in Germany. Some of the bases have indeed closed and it was devastating for the locals in those areas. The only thing the US is protecting over there is their local economies.

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