Thursday, September 13, 2012

Upcoming Documentary on America's Longest War: The War on Drugs, "A Holocaust in Slow Motion"

 
The soon-to-be-released documentary "The House I Live In" is an inside look at America's longest war, The War on Drugs, from executive producers Danny Glover, John Legend, Russell Simons. From the film's website:

"Filmed in more than twenty states, THE HOUSE I LIVE IN tells the stories of individuals at all levels of America’s War on Drugs. From the dealer to the narcotics officer, the inmate to the federal judge, the film offers a penetrating look inside America’s criminal justice system, revealing the profound human rights implications of U.S. drug policy."
 
Here are some quotes from the trailer above: 

"The Drug War is a holocaust in slow motion." 

"The Drug War is a war on all Americans." 

"You have to understand that the War on Drugs has never been about drugs."

From a review by US News:

Two years after he was elected president in 1969, Richard Nixon first used the phrase "war on drugs," in a tough speech on drug policy. Four decades and more than 40 million drug-related crimes later, the war on drugs is still simmering.

And now, just months before the presidential election, a new documentary "The House I Live In" explores the ways in which that war could be rethought. The film also implicates President Barack Obama, who promised a compassionate drug policy while running for president but requested $25.6 billion for drug enforcement in 2013—the highest yearly total ever.

A reviewer from The Boston Globe says "I'd hate to imply that it's your civic duty to see "The House I Live In" but guess what - it is."   

The movie will be in theaters on October 5.  

132 Comments:

At 9/13/2012 9:07 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

The War on Drugs, the War on Poverty and the War on Terror--all wars designed by federal agencies to last forever, to allow the seizing of taxpayer money in perpetuity.

Good luck, suckers.

 
At 9/13/2012 10:07 PM, Blogger Tom E said...

I think this war is not just simmering but is in full boil.

What a drain on economic resources. If we could take even 50% of the dollars and 50% of the people hooked on the stuff and put them to productive use...

 
At 9/14/2012 1:00 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Without the War on Drugs, drug use and social costs would be much higher.

The U.S. saved trillions of dollars over the past few decades.

Spending $1 to prevent $10 of damage is worth the price.

The War on Crime will never be won either, using a ridiculous definition of winning.

 
At 9/14/2012 5:54 AM, Blogger Joe said...

Peak Trader, that appears to be a broad claim that is not supported by any actual fact.

 
At 9/14/2012 6:06 AM, Blogger Krishnan said...

PeakTrader - War on Crime? Of course it can be won - just like the War on Drugs - just turn the country into a police state where just about every one is incarcerated or you reward snitches or give police and law enforcement unlimited power - to shoot and ask questions later - (wait, we are already there - I imagine you are just waiting for the war to be won - just a few more decades and trillions of dollars more in spending - right)

Your economics? Naah ... you can claim that spending $1 has prevented $1000 of damage - Since Nixon the US economy has expanded so Nixon must be responsible for all this economic growth because of his War on Drugs -

Obama can say "I blame Bush, but I praise Nixon for his courage in starting a war against our own people for the good of our own people" - and Obama can propose a 10 trillion dollar stimulus program to build more prisons and hire more police - Nirvana is round the corner.

 
At 9/14/2012 6:19 AM, Blogger geoih said...

Qoute from PeakTrader: "The U.S. saved trillions of dollars over the past few decades. Spending $1 to prevent $10 of damage is worth the price."

Do you have any more fantasies you'd like to throw out there to support an unsupportable position?

Your saved dollars and prevented damage are right up there with Obama's saved and created jobs. They exist only in your mind.

 
At 9/14/2012 7:16 AM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

The "War on Drugs" (aka War on Otherwise Peaceful Americans Who Use Intoxicants That Are Not Currently Approved of by the Government) is different than a War on Crime: Most crimes (murder, rape, robbery, fraud, etc.) have victims, whereas there are usually no victims when people are at home, peacefully smoking weeds that they grew in their backyard.

Drug use/abuse should be treated as a health issue, not as a criminal issue. We don't put alcoholics in cages for abusing alcohol, and we shouldn't do the same for people abusing meth or heroin.

 
At 9/14/2012 7:47 AM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Without the War on Drugs, drug use and social costs would be much higher.

Forgive me, but I do not understand this "social costs of drug use outweigh social cost of prohibition" argument.

The social cost of this war spans nations. Tens of thousands are dead in Mexico. Who knows how many are dead in America, Columbia, and Afghanistan? In the US alone, millions (if not billions) are spent incarcerating individuals who pose no threat to society. That is money that could be spent in other ways: education, rehab, roads, defense, health care, take your pick! Every dollar spend here is a dollar that cannot be spent elsewhere.

I was once a major proponent of prohibition. I fought against the marijuana decriminalization law in Massachusetts. But as I learned more and more, the more I realize we are simply making the problem worse. The costs of tens of thousands of dead innocents around the world does not justify prohibition to me. If anything, it argues against it.

 
At 9/14/2012 7:47 AM, Blogger Moe said...

Cojoined in this is the prison business - not bad when you can get the Govt to guarantee 90% occupency for 20 years!

What a business

 
At 9/14/2012 8:09 AM, Blogger Joe said...

Here is an interesting article speaking to Moe's point regarding the role of special interests in the debate:

http://www.republicreport.org/2012/marijuana-lobby-illegal/

 
At 9/14/2012 9:18 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

i saw this movie last year at sundance.

i agree with his arguments, but it's a rambling, incoherent movie full of anecdotes that misses many of the salient arguments.

i was suspect that it won the documentary prize due to subject matter, not quality.

 
At 9/14/2012 9:28 AM, Blogger IT STANDS TO REASON said...

The problem is that marijuana is classified as a "drug" with the likes of highly addictive and life threatening substances such as oxycontin, xanax, meth, etc.

Those who sell oxy and xanax to addicts and young people are in essence death merchants and the destroyers of individuals and families. They should go to jail.

The drug issue is too complex to simplify into a libertarian meme. "All or none" approaches/solutions are usually misguided and with all due respect, show a lack of intellectual rigor,

I apologize for the curt words, but I am dealing with the direct destruction of a family member who, yes would benefit enormously from better health care options, but who would not have gotten into the situation he is in but for the death merchants, both the pharmaceutical companies that fraudulently brought death products to market and the doctors and street sellers who ensure ample supplies of these addictive drugs are available on the street.

MJP, I encourage you to do some extensive reading of the history of oxycontin and the destruction it has wrought.

I understand your libertanian leanings and likely your personal preferences for which I have no objection. But please place yourself in the shoes of someone who has strong predispositions to addictive behaviors who is then offered highly addictive substances early in their lives and who subsequently undergoes extensive brain rewiring around such addictive compounds to the point where they may never be able to function normally in society and may in fact become wards of the state in perpetuity. As in SSDI forever.

The problem is serious. It is widespread. It explains to some degree why young males today are failing at ever increasing rates. It is far too serious of an issue to allow us to fall back into the comfortable and simple solutions of ideological libertarian positions. Yes, if you and I must pay permanent SSDI for these broken addicts, then quite possibly their actions are hurting the rest of us as well as themselves. Most definitely the dealers are hurting all of us.

Again I apologize for my curt comments. It is the aspergers in me (or maybe without the pergers, yuk yuk)

 
At 9/14/2012 9:30 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

peak-

you trot that claim out over an over, but do not have a shred of evidence to support it and ignore the fact that it's an irrelevant argument anyway.

first off, use might well drop among the young.

second, countries like portugal and holland saw drops in use after decriminalization and have far lower usage rates that the us.

third, the gains in safety alone would likely outweigh any additional use as would decreased use of things like alcohol, which is far more dangerous than most drugs.

but ultimately, none of this matters if you believe in liberty. you are assuming your premise that drug use is an evil and taking the choice away from individuals by forcing your values upon them.

we could reduce the social costs of obesity by banning sugary food, soda, and all desserts. are you in favor of that?

why not ban alcohol and cigarettes too?

your position is totally inconsistent and dictatorial.

you know that sugar is ok and smokes are fine, but that pot is bad so you seek to force all others to agree with you rather than allowing free choice.

no one is going to make you from acid, but steve jobs claims a great deal of inspiration from it. why make him a criminal? who did he hurt?

all you definitions are based on assumption that YOU know best.

$1 to save $10? more like $10 to do harm and take away liberty. the effects of the war on drugs are not positive. it puts MORE drugs in the hands of kids. it make them far less safe and drives people toward more dangerous stuff. it reduced the desire to seek treatment and racks up huge bills to incarcerate people who have not violated the rights of anyone and then wrecks their lives with an ex-felon stigma.

so where is the good?

you are applying a standard here you would not accept on other aspects of your life. it's pure tyranny peak, even if you think it's "for their own good". lots of despots say that. that's exactly how the taliban justify imposing sharia on the unwilling.

 
At 9/14/2012 9:32 AM, Blogger Don Culo said...

If we end the "war on Drugs" are unemployment rate will go through the roof.

Where will prison employess, court employees, police, DEA employees, prison contractors and drug dealers work?

 
At 9/14/2012 9:41 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

it stands to reason-

that's an invalid argument based on logical fallacy.

sure, some drugs can cause harm. so can just about anyhting.

look at all the gun crime. knife crime. consider injuries from skatebaords, automotive deaths, sports injuries, the obesity epidemic, diet drive type 2 diabetes etc.

the list goes on forever.

look at the damage alcohol does. ever seen a serious alcoholic? that's real addiction. stop taking oxy, it just hurts for a bit, stop drinking, you can die of the DTs. look at cigarettes.

do you support banning anyhting that can do harm?

what's the generally applicable standard here?

your "who pays" argument is even worse.

we are paying now. the problem already exists. if you don't want to pay for drug treatment, great. me either. so legalize it, tax it, and let the users pay for treatment themselves. this had the further massive financial windfall of reducing $20k a year per inmate incarceration costs, the dea, etc etc.

if saving money and doling out costs to those who create them is your goal, then legalization is the clearly superior strategy. overall costs would likely drop by 75% and such costs as remained would be paid by users, not the public at large.

the effects on crime around distribution would be massive as well. does your neighborhood have beer pushers? whiskey dealers fighting over corners with handguns? i doubt it. but it likely once did when we made alcohol illegal. the lesson there is pretty clear.

you seem to be having a knee jerk response that "somehting bad happened we must legislate". bad things are always going to happen. that's the nature of a free society. that is not a valid reason to take away freedom.

drugs were legal for far more of US history than not. somehow, we did not all descend into reefer madness. perhaps this is not as dangerous and more self regulating that you folks are making out.

 
At 9/14/2012 9:43 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

don-

"
Where will prison employess, court employees, police, DEA employees, prison contractors and drug dealers work?"

lol.

maybe we can just pay them to dig holes and fill them back in. it would be a more constructive use of their time.

 
At 9/14/2012 9:45 AM, Blogger Moe said...

The War on Drugs (imo) is being fought in similar fashion to the way Pharmaceutical companies fight ailments. Don't treat the cause - treat the symptoms! It's a much better business model as it keeps you in business ad infinitum.

 
At 9/14/2012 9:49 AM, Blogger Pulverized Concepts said...

The "War on Drugs" is a pretty good argument against democracy as it's practiced in the US.

 
At 9/14/2012 10:30 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

pc-

agreed. pure democracy is just a particularly nasty for of tyranny.

liberty comes from rights. they must have primacy over democracy or you get interested driven tyranny and mob rule.

i find it interesting that so many of the people who bellow "democracy" when they want to limit what recreational chemicals can be used then scream "rights" is anyone tries to shut them up. so, we must be free to speak, but not free to determine what to ingest be it the large soda i can no longer buy in new york or magic mushrooms?

this seems backwards to me. what more personal choice is there than what to eat/drink/ingest? it need not affect anyone but you.

 
At 9/14/2012 10:42 AM, Blogger juandos said...

War on drugs?

Maybe a bad idea...

O.K. what's the alternative to stopping these sorts of crime?

 
At 9/14/2012 11:50 AM, Blogger Methinks said...

I don't know, Juandos, but meth is already illegal and that didn't stop this woman killing these kids.

In other news, people abuse and kill their children (and other people) stone cold sober.

It seems we cannot find 100% effective ways to prevent evil things from happening. But, we can sure pay a heavy price to pretend that we can!

 
At 9/14/2012 12:22 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

geoih asks:

"Qoute from PeakTrader: "The U.S. saved trillions of dollars over the past few decades. Spending $1 to prevent $10 of damage is worth the price."

Do you have any more fantasies you'd like to throw out there to support an unsupportable position?
"

Yes, how about this one:

"The demand curve for labor slopes upward."

 
At 9/14/2012 12:26 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"If we end the "war on Drugs" are unemployment rate will go through the roof." -- Don Culo

That should be "our", not "are".

If you're going to spend all your time hating on "whitey", could you at least try to do it coherently?

 
At 9/14/2012 12:40 PM, Blogger Moe said...

I think the average American will understand Don's comment

Link

 
At 9/14/2012 12:40 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

juandos

"War on drugs?

Maybe a bad idea...

O.K. what's the alternative to stopping these sorts of crime?
"

The tongue-in-cheek answer is to ban handguns (assuming a handgun was used).

That is the same as the argument to ban meth.

The real answer is that you can't prevent these types of horrible tragedies. sadly, people will implode on occasion whether or not they are helped by drugs or guns.

 
At 9/14/2012 12:40 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Ron H., that's a favourite of Peak's. Ah....dear old Peak.....

 
At 9/14/2012 12:43 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Ban hand guns, Ron? No way. Ban having children. That way, you can't kill children even if you have guns and meth.

See? We make the big bucks here at Methinks Inc. because we come up with real, workable, shovel ready solutions like these. And sell them to the government.

 
At 9/14/2012 1:22 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"The "War on Drugs" (aka War on Otherwise Peaceful Americans Who Use Intoxicants That Are Not Currently Approved of by the Government) is different than a War on Crime: Most crimes (murder, rape, robbery, fraud, etc.) have victims, whereas there are usually no victims when people are at home, peacefully smoking weeds that they grew in their backyard." -- Dr. Perry


Half of the men arrested in 10 U.S. cities test positive for some type of illegal drug, a federal study found. Not only do the findings show "a clear link between drugs and crime," they also highlight the need to provide drug treatment, says Gil Kerlikowske, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, which will make the data public Thursday. ...

In 2008 researchers interviewed and obtained urine samples from 3,924 men arrested in 10 metropolitan areas: Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Denver, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, New York, Portland, Ore., Sacramento and Washington, D.C. In Chicago, 87% tested positive for drug use and in Sacramento, 78% tested positive. Many of the men — 40% in Chicago and 29% in Sacramento — tested positive for more than one drug. -- Study finds half of men arrested test positive for drugs , USA Today

 
At 9/14/2012 1:23 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"The philosophic argument is that, in a free society, adults should be permitted to do whatever they please, always provided that they are prepared to take the consequences of their own choices and that they cause no direct harm to others. The locus classicus for this point of view is John Stuart Mill’s famous essay On Liberty: “The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of the community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others,” Mill wrote. “His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant.” This radical individualism allows society no part whatever in shaping, determining, or enforcing a moral code: in short, we have nothing in common but our contractual agreement not to interfere with one another as we go about seeking our private pleasures ... Mill came to see the limitations of his own principle as a guide for policy and to deny that all pleasures were of equal significance for human existence. It was better, he said, to be Socrates discontented than a fool satisfied."

"The idea that freedom is merely the ability to act upon one’s whims is surely very thin and hardly begins to capture the complexities of human existence; a man whose appetite is his law strikes us not as liberated but enslaved. And when such a narrowly conceived freedom is made the touchstone of public policy, a dissolution of society is bound to follow. No culture that makes publicly sanctioned self-indulgence its highest good can long survive: a radical egotism is bound to ensue, in which any limitations upon personal behavior are experienced as infringements of basic rights. Distinctions between the important and the trivial, between the freedom to criticize received ideas and the freedom to take LSD, are precisely the standards that keep societies from barbarism."

-- Theodore Dalrymple, City Journal

 
At 9/14/2012 1:30 PM, Blogger Ken said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 9/14/2012 1:34 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

A Medicaid patient with drug and alcohol problems costs $5,000 to $15,000 a year more in health-care costs than one without such problems. Most Medicaid hospital patients readmitted within 30 days are those with drug and alcohol problems. Do states, crushed financially by Medicaid costs, want to increase the number of Medicaid patients abusing and addicted to drugs and alcohol?

The notion that taxing sales of marijuana and drugs like cocaine and heroin will provide a windfall for our public coffers is also illusory. For every $1 of taxes collected from the sale of tobacco and alcohol, we incur $9 in state and federal health-care, criminal justice and social-service costs. These costs will skyrocket if legalization becomes the norm, draining our public coffers at an even more alarming rate. -- WSJ

 
At 9/14/2012 1:34 PM, Blogger Ken said...

Che,

In 2008 researchers interviewed and obtained urine samples from 3,924 men arrested

For what were they arrested? Was it drug use, possession, or distribution? If so, this is like saying look at the bad effects of X. After we outlawed X and enforced the policies of that prohibition, we arrested people for X. No kidding.

Study finds half of men arrested test positive for drugs , USA Today

I wonder what percentage of men arrested drove a car that day.

Additionally, since a majority of Americans have tried drugs and are not criminals, this type of logic is severely lacking. Additionally, there is a significant proportion of the population who habitually use drugs, but are not criminals (other than for possession and some times distribution). One of the places I worked over half routinely used weed, at least once a week, and about a third of those used coke at least monthly. Guess what? They still managed to show up to work on time, put in an honest 8, pay their bills, and generally live a responsible life.

As the saying goes correlation is not causation.

Even if there were greater addiction rates among criminals, this in no way is really convincing that drugs caused criminal activity. Has it ever occurred to you that if a person consistently makes poor choices (crime), he will consistently make poor choices about a lot of things (habitual drug use).

 
At 9/14/2012 1:42 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Che, all that shows is that drug use is common despite laws against it. At best that's all it shows.

The intent is to get people to draw causal relationships, but that only works on the dumb.

Fortunately for the scare mongers, there's no shortage of stupid in the population. And moral codes? Cannot and should not be enforced by a police state.

People will find ways to become intoxicated if they want to be intoxicated whether it's by drinking alcohol, sniffing glue or making designer concoctions. Empowering the state to prevent this a.)doesn't work and b.)presents us with much more severe negative externalities.

 
At 9/14/2012 1:50 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"In other news, people abuse and kill their children (and other people) stone cold sober"...

Well methinks maybe so but all I can tell you is anecdotal...

I can tell you though that if you check even your local police department statistics you will find that an overwhelming number of those committing the abuse were impaired by alcohol or drugs...

The real holocaust here are the victims and future victims though I'll be the first to admit that economics of the war on drugs is at best 'iffy'...

Guess what the other 'grand scam' is regarding dropping the war on drugs...

Those so called 'private recovery' outfits which is just another involuntary form of wealth transfer either with private health insurance preiums costs or local and state taxation to fund these places...

 
At 9/14/2012 1:55 PM, Blogger Pulverized Concepts said...

A Medicaid patient with drug and alcohol problems costs $5,000 to $15,000 a year more in health-care costs than one without such problems.

-------------------------------------Hey, if the patient can afford those costs, what do I care?

 
At 9/14/2012 1:55 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Additionally, since a majority of Americans have tried drugs and are not criminals, this type of logic is severely lacking"...

ken I think another look at the arithmetic is necessary...

It only takes one or two percent of those who try drugs to start abusing them before the costs become increasingly scewed...

O.K. the war on drugs can be shown to be billions of dollars wasted - great argument from and economics veiwpoint - no doubt about it...

What's the althernative? Serious question...

 
At 9/14/2012 1:57 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"... since a majority of Americans have tried drugs and are not criminals, this type of logic is severely lacking. Additionally, there is a significant proportion of the population who habitually use drugs, but are not criminals." -- Ken

I'm not arguing these points. I simply find the notion that drug use does not play a major part in anti-social and criminal behavior, and that all drug users are simply minding their own business within the confines of their homes to be both naive and misleading. The logic that suggests that if were to just legalize all drugs everything would "sunshine and rainbows" is what is severely lacking.

"Has it ever occurred to you that if a person consistently makes poor choices (crime), he will consistently make poor choices about a lot of things (habitual drug use)." -- Ken

Yes, it has. Has it ever occurred to you that minor children sometimes make poor decisions due to lack of experience and that it is these minor children who are most often preyed upon by drug dealers?

I'll make a deal with you. As an adult, you use whatever you like. And as a parent, I will have the right to put a bullet into the head of the first asshole who attempts to sell my minor child an addictive drug.

 
At 9/14/2012 2:05 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"The origins of federal drug laws were a response to disastrous drug and violence epidemics when virtually every family had access to opiate- and cocaine-based remedies around the end of the 19th century. Drugs were available without penalty. Addiction was rampant, with an estimated 250,000 opiate addicts in the U.S. population of 76 million. Or if you really think that prohibition causes the problem, remember that ancient China was brought to its knees by easy access to opium ... Bobby Kennedy was leading organized-crime strike forces against extremely dangerous mafia families, decades after the end of Prohibition. Just as ending Prohibition did not destroy organized crime in the U.S., legalizing drugs will not break the terrorist criminal groups in Mexico. In fact, the real pattern of violence from the mafia families in the U.S. to the cartels in Colombia suggests it is when they are threatened and destabilized that violence skyrockets. It is the violence focused on the threat of violent takeover by rival criminal groups ..." -- WSJ

 
At 9/14/2012 2:06 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Yeah, Juandos, I'm not a huge believer in treatment programs. The success rate is very bad and the only way to get off the juice is to just stop.

I was reading something a long time ago about drug use among Vietnam vets and something like 80% or 90% of them just stopped using when they came home because they just didn't bother seeking it out. No rehab or anything.

 
At 9/14/2012 2:15 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

The criminal justice system has been transformed over the past 15 years. Adult and juvenile drug courts are now common in most states. Nationwide there are more than 2,000 drug courts pushing low-level offenders to get treatment when drug use brings them into the criminal justice system. Child welfare and family courts also push drug treatment -- many endangerment and neglect cases involve an adult with a substance abuse problem. The criminal justice system has become the most powerful force in the country supporting addiction treatment, exactly the opposite of the critics' depiction.

Intervention is spreading in the health-care system with the prospect that screening for substance abuse will become as common as checking blood pressure for hypertension. In addition, we have legally and successfully instituted random drug screening programs in schools that are as promising as systems in place in the military and many workplaces. The rate of positive tests in the workplace are lower today than they have been since comprehensive national reporting began -- 3.8% of workers tested positive for drugs in 2007, down from 13.6% in 1988. -- WSJ


We have learned to apply public health tools that have been proven effective against other diseases. We have learned that addiction is a treatable disease. We are increasing the pathways to treatment -- through routine health care, the workplace, places of worship and schools. Drug courts leading to referral for treatment by the criminal justice system are now the major pathway through which the dependent are getting the help they need. Do we want to end all this by taking the courts out of the equation? Supervised, court-sanctioned treatment works best. Legalization robs us of this tool. -- WSJ


 
At 9/14/2012 2:32 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Sweet Lord. Bombarded by ceaselss appeal to authority.

 
At 9/14/2012 2:39 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

The second false argument for legalization is that drug laws have filled our prisons with low-level, non-violent offenders. The prison population has increased substantially over the past 30 years, but the population on probation is much larger and has grown almost as fast. The portion of the prison population associated with drug offenses has been declining, not growing. The number of diversion programs for substance abusers who commit crimes has grown to such an extent that the criminal justice system is now the single largest reason Americans enter drug treatment. Despite constant misrepresentation of who is in prison and why, the criminal justice system has steadily and effectively focused on violent and repeat offenders. The unfortunate fact is that there are too many people in prison because there are too many criminals. With the rare exceptions that can be expected from human institutions, the criminal justice system is not convicting the innocent. ...

Legalization advocates usually claim that alcohol prohibition caused organized crime in the United States and its repeal ended the threat. This is widely believed and utterly false. Criminal organizations existed before and after prohibition. Violent criminal organizations exist until they are destroyed by institutions of justice, by each other, or by authoritarian measures fueled by popular fear. No honest criminal justice official or family in this hemisphere will be safer tomorrow if drugs are legalized​—​and the serious among them know it. -- The Weekly Standard

 
At 9/14/2012 2:41 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"Sweet Lord. Bombarded by ceaselss appeal to authority." -- Methinks

Perhaps, but it's preferable to endless unsupported gibberish.

 
At 9/14/2012 2:45 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

It might be, but most of the stuff you've posted is too sad to be better. The United States has such a high prison population because we have more criminals than any other country? What was it you said about unsupported gibberish?

 
At 9/14/2012 2:53 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"The United States has such a high prison population because we have more criminals than any other country?" -- Methinks

Actually, he wrote: "there are too many people in prison because there are too many criminals", not "we have more criminals than any other country".

I would suggest that the primary reason that we have higher incarceration rates than other countries is because we are wealthier and can afford to incarcerate.

 
At 9/14/2012 3:01 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 9/14/2012 3:03 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"... most of the stuff you've posted is too sad to be better." -- Methinks

Ah yes, declining drug usages rates among young people; refocusing law enforcement efforts on drug treatment for low level offenders; fewer people testing positive for drug usage at the workplace, etc. - I can hardly hold back the tears.

 
At 9/14/2012 3:03 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

The Soviet Union was not as wealthy and incarcerated lots and lots of people. It doesn't cost much to lock people up. Other countries just do it without all the perks we provide.

Che, I can't believe you're making that argument. The wealthier we get the more people we throw in the slammer? I hope Obama impoverishes the country faster then. But which is it? Do we have too many criminals or we're just rich enough to lock up a large percentage of the population?

We have the highest incarceration rate in the world. By saying we have too many criminals, this guy is implying that we have more than any other country.


 
At 9/14/2012 3:09 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

declining self reported use of an illegal substance. I'm sure that's very reliable - especially in light of the information in the first article you posted. I happen to be among the extreme minority that never tried drugs, but I didn't make my decision based on the legality of them.

Drug treatment has a very low success rate. Choosing to focus on the best of the worst (and only because it's done on pain of incarceration) doesn't change that.

If fewer people are testing positive at work, it's not because drugs are illegal. When drugs were legal, they didn't have drug testing at work, so higher usage rates happened when drugs were already illegal and any decline cannot be attributed to making drugs illegal.

Sad.

Know what we didn't have before drugs were illegal? Violent drug cartels and cops busting down doors, shooting anything that moves.

 
At 9/14/2012 3:19 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"The Soviet Union was not as wealthy and incarcerated lots and lots of people. It doesn't cost much to lock people up. Other countries just do it without all the perks we provide." -- Methinks

You mean "perks" like fair and open trails and standards for the treatment of those incarcerated?


"Do we have too many criminals or we're just rich enough to lock up a large percentage of the population?" -- Methinks

The CRIMINAL population, quit trying to conflate the two. Is that technique something that they taught you in those Soviet schools?


"I hope Obama impoverishes the country faster then." -- Methinks

If you live in California you will not have to wait since the impoverishment of the state is about to result in the freeing of tens of thousands of convicted felons. Not to worry, I'm sure that they were all wrongly convicted by the state.




 
At 9/14/2012 3:20 PM, Blogger ondra said...

"Without the War on Drugs, drug use and social costs would be much higher."

Unlikely - demand for drugs is quite inelastic (otherwise the higher cost of drugs would be extremely effective in curbing drug use).

How do you know?

 
At 9/14/2012 3:22 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

The CRIMINAL population, quit trying to conflate the two.

I see that you're definitely a proud graduate of the American public school system.

 
At 9/14/2012 3:23 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

BTW, Che, the Soviet Union also locked up only criminals. The Soviet state just criminalized different things. See how that works?

 
At 9/14/2012 3:33 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Morganovich says: "peak-you trot that claim out over an over, but do not have a shred of evidence to support it..."

I can understand some of the pro-legalization attitudes from the enormous drug propaganda and strong emotional feelings.

However, you should know better, because I've shown you extensive data many times before. Yet, you still have your head in the sand or worse.

You need to come clean for once in your life.

 
At 9/14/2012 3:33 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"Drug treatment has a very low success rate." -- Methinks

This may, or may not have been true in the past, which is why governments adjust:

"In 2003 the Oregon Legislature mandated that rehabilitation programs receiving state funds use evidence-based practices — techniques that have proved effective in studies. The law, phased in over several years, was aimed at improving services so that addicts like Angella would not be doomed to a lifetime of rehab, repeating the same kinds of counseling that had failed them in the past — or landing in worse trouble. “You can get through a lot of programs just by faking it,” said Jennifer Hatton, 25, of Myrtle Creek, Ore., a longtime drinker and drug user who quit two years ago, but only after going to jail and facing the prospect of losing her children. “That’s what did it for me — my kids — and I wish it didn’t have to come to that.”

When practiced faithfully, evidence-based therapies give users their best chance to break a habit. Among the therapies are prescription drugs like naltrexone, for alcohol dependence, and buprenorphine, for addiction to narcotics, which studies find can help people kick their habits." -- NYT


"Losing her children ..."? Hmmm, children? And here I thought that drug usage was a victimless crime.

 
At 9/14/2012 3:35 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Ron says: "The demand curve for labor slopes upward."

You don't have to keep proving you have no comprehension of economics beyond a two-dimensional partial equilibrium model.

 
At 9/14/2012 3:38 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"BTW, Che, the Soviet Union also locked up only criminals. The Soviet state just criminalized different things. See how that works?" -- Methinks

Yes, apparently we are just like the former Soviet Union. It makes one wonder why anyone, let alone millions of people, would want to risk their lives to come here.

 
At 9/14/2012 3:42 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

So, the answer is "no", you don't see how that works.

mmmmkay.....

It's Friday night. Time to go home an pour myself a perfectly legal drink.

 
At 9/14/2012 3:44 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Social costs of drug abuse include lost productivity, traffic & work accidents, health problems & drug treatment, mental illness, unemployment, crime, domestic violence, child abuse, and other social services.

Just the lost productivity would be well over $100 billion a year:

The Economics of Drug Legalization - 1995

"Already, drug addicts cost the country roughly $33 billion dollars a year in lost productivity and job-related accidents, according to a study conducted in 1987 by the Research Triangle Institute of Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.

If legalized, addiction rates would increase and the cost would rise to between $140 billion and $210 billion a year.

And who will pay for lost productivity and job-related accidents? Consumers will, of course, in the final costs of the produced goods."

 
At 9/14/2012 3:55 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Awe, Peak. It's kinda cute when you think complicated bullshit arguments pass for economics.

 
At 9/14/2012 3:58 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"I see that you're definitely a proud graduate of the American public school system ... blah, blah, blah" -- Methinks

We do not lock-up a large percent of the population. It may, or may not be larger than other countries for a variety of reasons including resources. We do, however, incarcerate a large percent of the CRIMINAL population which would include parolees. Further, from 1997 to 2004 the proportion of drug offenders to total prisoners in State prison populations has held steady at 21%. The idea that our jails are filled with non-violent drug users is just nonsense.

St. Kitts, thrown around by you and other as a fantasy destination, has the third highest incarceration rate in the world. Go figure.

 
At 9/14/2012 4:08 PM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

Federal prisoners incarcerated for drug offenses represent almost half of all federal prisoners (47.8%), which is almost 93,000 individuals.

 
At 9/14/2012 4:19 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Methinks

"See? We make the big bucks here at Methinks Inc. because we come up with real, workable, shovel ready solutions like these. And sell them to the government."

All of us are lucky beyond measure to have the benefit of your wisdom on this topic. :)

However.

You solution doesn't prevent harm to those like the third victim in this case, a "husband".

I suspect you have a personal bias against banning husbands, because you have one you are rather fond of, and aren't willing to protect him from your own potential murderous rage. :)

 
At 9/14/2012 4:29 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"Federal prisoners incarcerated for drug offenses represent almost half of all federal prisoners (47.8%), which is almost 93,000 individuals." -- Dr. Perry

Federal prisoners. 93,000 individuals - Out of a population of 330+ million people!




 
At 9/14/2012 4:36 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

And some of those federal prisoners are not American citizens. They are citizens of countries that have agreements with the U.S. with regard to the prosecution of high level drug dealers.

 
At 9/14/2012 4:51 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

">You don't have to keep proving you have no comprehension of economics beyond a two-dimensional partial equilibrium model."

Peak, it's not my claim, it's yours. My favorite two-dimensional partial equilibrium model works well for every good and service in the known universe, but you think labor is something different.

In fact I don't even need a model, I only need to look around me and observe how people react to changes in price.

I especially note that few are willing spend $10 for something that will only produce $5.

 
At 9/14/2012 4:52 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Ron H.,

No children, no spouses, no problem!

Government is here to solve your problems. You like?

Che,

Wait....so we're now not only the world's policeman, you're claiming we're the world's prison too? No wonder our tax rates are so high and our spending is out of control. I'm tired of paying for it. Unless they're violent, let 'em out.

 
At 9/14/2012 5:07 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"Wait....so we're now not only the world's policeman, you're claiming we're the world's prison too? No wonder our tax rates are so high and our spending is out of control. I'm tired of paying for it. Unless they're violent, let 'em out." -- Methinks

They have been extradited and tried for violation of U.S. law. Which brings to light another little fact:

"The court affirmed the judgment of a three-judge federal court that ordered the Golden State to release up to 46,000 of the state’s 140,000 inmates (population 37.7 million) ... An estimated 19,000 of California’s convicts are illegal aliens, who cost the state approximately a billion dollars a year to incarcerate. ... the report estimates that “300,000 to 450,000 criminal aliens who are eligible for removal are detained each year at federal, state and local correctional facilities ... record numbers of illegal-alien convicts are being deported, including 195,000 last year alone.” -- Washington Times

If we could get these assholes to do their robbing, raping, murdering and drug dealing at home, it would go a long way towards ending this "U.S. is the largest jailer" nonsense.


 
At 9/14/2012 5:08 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Ron says: "My favorite two-dimensional partial equilibrium model works well."

If you don't believe me, maybe you'll believe Wikipedia:

Minimum Wage

"The argument that minimum wages decrease employment is based on a simple supply and demand model of the labor market. A number of economists (for example Pierangelo Garegnani, Robert L. Vienneau, and Arrigo Opocher & Ian Steedman), building on the work of Piero Sraffa, argue that that model, even given all its assumptions, is logically incoherent.

Michael Anyadike-Danes and Wyne Godley argue, based on simulation results, that little of the empirical work done with the textbook model constitutes a potentially falsifying test, and, consequently, empirical evidence hardly exists for that model.

Graham White argues, partially on the basis of Sraffianism, that the policy of increased labor market flexibility, including the reduction of minimum wages, does not have an "intellectually coherent" argument in economic theory.

Gary Fields...argues that the standard "textbook model" for the minimum wage is "ambiguous", and that the standard theoretical arguments incorrectly measure only a one-sector market.

An alternate view of the labor market has low-wage labor markets characterized as monopsonistic competition wherein buyers (employers) have significantly more market power than do sellers (workers)...Such a case is a type of market failure and results in workers being paid less than their marginal value.

Under the monopsonistic assumption, an appropriately set minimum wage could increase both wages and employment, with the optimal level being equal to the marginal productivity of labor."

 
At 9/14/2012 5:11 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Ron says: "In fact I don't even need a model, I only need to look around me and observe how people react to changes in price."

You look, but don't see. I stated before:

A rise in the minimum wage can increase real economic growth.

The higher wage attracts better workers, with higher reservation wages, to increase productivity.

Minimum wage workers have high marginal propensities to consume. So, a higher minimum wage increases consumption.

Only a portion of the higher minimum wage may be passed along in higher prices, because portions will be absorbed by "excess" wages of other workers and "excess" profits.

Weak or poorly managed firms will lose business or fail. However, stronger or better managed firms will gain their business, and also gain from the increased demand.

 
At 9/14/2012 5:14 PM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

A rise in the minimum wage can increase real economic growth.

I don't believe that there is any economic theory or empirical evidence to support that claim. On the other hand, there is tons of economic theory and evidence to suggest exactly the opposite.

 
At 9/14/2012 5:15 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Peak, either you're trying to be clever or.... worse.

 
At 9/14/2012 5:20 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Minimum Wage Increases Promote Jobs: Study
05/25/11

"Even though some economists have argued that paying workers more tends to discourage hiring, wage increases actually leave employment unaffected or even improved, argues the study, authored by Arindrajit Dube of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, T. William Lester of UNC Chapel Hill and Michael Reich of UC Berkeley.

"We actually found absolutely no evidence of any kind of disemployment effect -- in other words, jobs being killed -- when the minimum wage went up," Dube said on the Real News Network. "The answers were somewhat surprising.""

 
At 9/14/2012 5:25 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

An Increased Minimum Wage Is Good Policy Even During Hard Times
June 7, 2011

"University of California, Berkeley, economist David Card and Princeton economist Alan Krueger’s seminal study of the effect of the New Jersey 1992 minimum wage increase comparing fast food industry employment in New Jersey and Pennsylvania found no negative employment effect.

In fact, it found stronger employment growth in New Jersey.

Similarly, Lawrence F. Katz, a Harvard economist, and Alan Krueger studied fast food employment in Texas from 1990 to 1991 and found that employment slightly increased when the minimum wage was raised."

 
At 9/14/2012 5:30 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"The inverse relationship between quantity demanded and price is the core proposition in economic science, which embodies the presupposition that human choice behavior is sufficiently rational to allow predictions to be made. Just as no physicist would claim that "water runs uphill," no self-respecting economist would claim that increases in the minimum wage increase employment. Such a claim, if seriously advanced, becomes equivalent to a denial that there is even minimal scientific content in economics, and that, in consequence, economists can do nothing but write as advocates for ideological interests. Fortunately, only a handful of economists are willing to throw over the teaching of two centuries; we have not yet become a bevy of camp-following whores." -- James M. Buchanan, 1986 Nobel laureate in economics, writing in the Wall Street Journal on April 25, 1996


"This paper provides an overview, based on a large body of existing research, of evidence on the effects of federal and especially state minimum wage increases ... The evidence from a large body of existing research suggests that minimum wage increases do more harm than good. Minimum wages reduce employment of young and less-skilled workers. Minimum wages deliver no net benefits to poor or low-income families, and if anything make them worse off, increasing poverty. Finally, there is some evidence that minimum wages have longer-run adverse effects, lowering the acquisition of skills and therefore lowering wages and earnings even beyond the age when individuals are most directly affected by a higher minimum." -- The Show Me Institute

 
At 9/14/2012 5:33 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"The Card-Krueger studies are flawed and cannot justify going against the accumulated evidence from the many past and present studies that find sizable negative effects of higher minimums on employment." -- 1992 Nobel laureate in economics, Gary S. Becker writing in Businessweek

 
At 9/14/2012 5:34 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

I'm convinced, Peak. You've found the elusive Giffen Good. It's labour. Who knew?

It's even more awesome when you simply don't pay any attention to WHO is employed and how that changes and hours worked and how that changes. Who cares, right? Those lower skilled people don't count.

I know from my own personal experience that the less valuable an employee is relative to how much I'm paying him, the more inclined I am to keep him on the payroll.

 
At 9/14/2012 5:37 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

I know, I know, appeals to authority.

 
At 9/14/2012 5:38 PM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

Even a bogus claim that increased wages have no employment effects, is not the same as saying NO negative effects.

In the face of a minimum wage increase of 10%, I could cut all of my unskilled workers' hours by 20%, force them to pay for uniforms, eliminate employee discounts, end company parties/picnics, reduce any other non-monetary benefits/compensation, etc. and make all of my employees worse off, with NO effect on "employment."

 
At 9/14/2012 5:42 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Methinks, a subsistence wage is more attractive than a slave wage.




 
At 9/14/2012 5:51 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

If you add up all the basic living expenses, you'll get a subsistence wage.

 
At 9/14/2012 5:52 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

However, I'll add, government has raised the cost of living substantially.

 
At 9/14/2012 6:18 PM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

>>> Without the War on Drugs, drug use and social costs would be much higher.

The solution to this is in peer pressure, not criminal prosecution.

Back in the mid 80s, the local cops made a serious effort to interdict all the marijuana flowing in, out, and around the local college town I live in... They actually were pretty successful.

What happened?

I had friends at the time who smoked grass regularly. Rarely, if ever, did they do coke.

The cops only interdicted weed, they did nothing to stop coke (smaller, lighter, more value to the ounce -- much tougher to stop).

So my friends switched to doing coke instead of weed.

People that want to self-medicate are going to do so. PERIOD. The only forces that can discourage this at all are social, peer-pressure based forces.

P.S., I saw actual t-shirts being worn (NOT by my friends or anyone associated with them): "I survived the great xxx pot famine, summer, 1985"

NO ONE who wants to do drugs RESPECTS THESE LAWS.

The only thing they do is undermine the Rule of Law, by teaching people that The Law is something imposed by others, not something that is Right and Just and Good.

Probably the ONLY reason they still exist is because of the almost total ignorance of the citizenry of the role of The Jury in judging such laws.

FIJA

 
At 9/14/2012 6:59 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

However, I'll add, government has raised the cost of living substantially.

Hmmm....no. that didn't redeem you.

I don't give a damn how much it costs someone to "subsist". The only thing I care about as an employer is how valuable that employee is to me. If I'm forced to pay more than he's worth, then I simply don't employ him. See how that works?

And nice try with the slavery but, but wage rate does not define slavery. Perhaps you should look up that word in the dictionary.

 
At 9/14/2012 7:14 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

I should back up....I would likely just fire an employee, but minimum wage is irrelevant in my business. Also, even though the price of highly skilled labour in the financial industry is down, trader headcount continues to decline in on all trading floors as expensive human traders are replaced with much less expensive algorithms and one algo can replace several traders. Peak says that if we raised the price of human labour even more, we'd be more likely to hire more traders. Makes sense if you're drunk and high on coke. But, my experience is with highly skilled labour.

So, what Mark Perry said.

There are a million ways to lower employee compensation without lowering money wage. All raising the minimum wage does is stroke the overgrown egos of pompous economists.

 
At 9/14/2012 7:43 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

How did we go from drugs to minimum wage?

Might as well go for a troika:

Illegal Immigrants!

Discuss

 
At 9/14/2012 8:01 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Jon

"How did we go from drugs to minimum wage?"

LOL

Did you leave the thread for 10 minutes?

 
At 9/14/2012 8:32 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

It emerged, JM! :)

 
At 9/14/2012 8:35 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Peak

"If you don't believe me, maybe you'll believe Wikipedia:"

As you are a highly decorated and world renowned economist I somehow expected expected something more than Wikipedia.

"The argument that minimum wages decrease employment is based on a simple supply and demand model of the labor market. A number of economists (for example Pierangelo Garegnani, Robert L. Vienneau, and Arrigo Opocher & Ian Steedman), building on the work of Piero Sraffa, argue that that model, even given all its assumptions, is logically incoherent."

It must be comforting to know you are not alone in being wrong. Sraffra? Give me a break.

Is there *any* other input to production with an upward sloping demand curve?

 
At 9/14/2012 8:40 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Did you leave the thread for 10 minutes?

I did. I had to drive home from work (15 minutes)

 
At 9/14/2012 8:42 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Peak

"Under the monopsonistic assumption, an appropriately set minimum wage could increase both wages and employment, with the optimal level being equal to the marginal productivity of labor."

(1) There is nothing monopsonistic about demand for labor. There is active competition for workers.

(2)Who should determine the marginal productivity of labor if not those buying and selling it?

 
At 9/14/2012 8:52 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Peak

""University of California, Berkeley, economist David Card and Princeton economist Alan Krueger’s seminal study of the effect of the New Jersey 1992 minimum wage increase comparing fast food industry employment in New Jersey and Pennsylvania found no negative employment effect.
"

I can't believe you would again drag out that completely discredited Card and Krueger study.

There is no response possible.

 
At 9/14/2012 8:57 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Peak

"Only a portion of the higher minimum wage may be passed along in higher prices, because portions will be absorbed by "excess" wages of other workers and "excess" profits."

Who, exactly, can determine when a wage or profit is "excess"?

Nevermind, I suppose it's the same people who can determine the marginal productivity of an individual worker without knowing anything about either the worker or the job.

 
At 9/14/2012 9:07 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Peak

"If you add up all the basic living expenses, you'll get a subsistence wage."

And just what is that amount? Is it the same for everyone everywhere? Is it per person or per household? Who should you ask. I'll bet 10 million people would give you 10 million different answers.

 
At 9/14/2012 9:12 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Methinks, a subsistence wage is more attractive than a slave wage."

What - other than the obvious element of choice - is the difference?

Basic food, shelter, clothing, perhaps medical care...

 
At 9/14/2012 9:17 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Jon

"I did. I had to drive home from work (15 minutes)"

Your loss. Don't you have a smart phone you can use while driving? :)

 
At 9/14/2012 9:59 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Don't you have a smart phone you can use while driving? :)

You ever drive New Hampshire back roads? if you don't have damn tourists on cell phones, you have cows! Even in the capital city!

 
At 9/15/2012 1:29 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 9/15/2012 1:47 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"You ever drive New Hampshire back roads? if you don't have damn tourists on cell phones, you have cows! Even in the capital city!"


Cows have cell phones in NH? Who knew?

I was kidding about using a cell phone while while driving, of course, but one must set their own priorities. Which is more important - safety or keeping track of a thread at CD?

 
At 9/15/2012 7:12 AM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Which is more important - safety or keeping track of a thread at CD?

Well obviously Carpe Diem. Unfortunately, the cops don't agree. The Man is always trying to bring me down!

 
At 9/15/2012 10:19 AM, Blogger ondra said...

PeakTrader,

"The Economics of Drug Legalization - 1995 "

Are yuo serious? That is not even a study,that is just funded opinion of somebody of US department of justice. The funny thing is they do not even discuss: - how much would consumption rise (especially considering demand inelasticity), how much productivity is lost by having so many people encarcerated, what are the costs of widespread corruption, what are the costs of people being addicted to significantly worse substance than they would be if drugs were legalized...

And then they just "claim" that legalization is a loss. Very high level of arguments, indeed.

 
At 9/15/2012 10:42 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

"Social costs of drug abuse include lost productivity, traffic & work accidents, health problems & drug treatment, mental illness, unemployment, crime, domestic violence, child abuse, and other social services.

Just the lost productivity would be well over $100 billion a year:"

you make this silly argument as if it means anything. underpinning it are several false assumptions.

1. that we are not experiencing these costs anyway or that some new set of laws and enforcement are going to make a dent.

2. that this even remotely approaches the losses from alcohol etc.

3. that it is somehow your job to tell me how productive to be. do you watch TV? i'll bet you do lots of things that are not productive with your leisure time. can i make them illegal to get you to produce more? does that feel like a free society to you?

4. that there is no substitution. so, if one cannot smoke pot, maybe you drink beer instead. does that increase productivity and reduce violence? i doubt it.

5. you leave out the costs of enforcement, incarceration etc as well as the massive amount of gang related crime that illegal drugs creates. remember prohibition and the mob? this is no different.

6. that this is a cost benefit issue at all. it isn't. it's a rights issue. i'm sure you do lots of things that have no social benefit. do you ever eat fried food? surely you agree that there is no reason to do so and that it is bad for your health relative to other food. so why do it? it harms society by increasing all sorts of health risks. you do it because you enjoy it and it's your life. that's how freedom works. drugs are no different. you simply cannot see that just because YOU do not like a choice does not mean that others agree and worse, you feel entitled to take away their liberty and force your choices upon them when they have harmed no one.

hey, get high and commit a crime, you should get charged just like anyone else whether they be drunk or sober. but to claim, a priori, that you will commit crimes if you use drugs counter to freedom, due process, and the presumption of innocence. owning a gun makes you far more likely to shoot someone too. owning a knife makes you more likely to stab someone or to cut yourself. that is no reason to ban such things.

your argument is inconsistent and based on a morally reactionary position, not any sort of principles consistent with liberty.

 
At 9/15/2012 11:33 AM, Blogger Methinks said...

Well said, Morganovich.

 
At 9/15/2012 4:13 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Another politically-biased make-believe rant by Morganovich and supported by his side-kick Methinks.

If more drug addicts was a net benefit for society, I'd be all for it.

 
At 9/15/2012 5:27 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Peak

"Another politically-biased make-believe rant by Morganovich and supported by his side-kick Methinks."

I too support morganovich's comment even though I haven't yet earned my official sidekick badge.

 
At 9/15/2012 7:16 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

I proudly wear mine.

 
At 9/15/2012 7:53 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Ron says: "I too support morganovich's comment."

That strengthens my case.

 
At 9/15/2012 8:24 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Peak

"That strengthens my case."

LOL

You don't have a case. Only a collection of baseless assertions that sound emotionally appealing.

 
At 9/15/2012 8:54 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Ron says: "You don't have a case. Only a collection of baseless assertions that sound emotionally appealing."

That's a remarkably accurate description of your position.

All my statements are supported by actual data.

 
At 9/15/2012 11:20 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

data mining and confusing correlation and cause isn't really much of a support, Peak. Maybe at Sam's Anything Goes Statistics Kolledge you clearly graduated from, but what you have there is not science.

 
At 9/16/2012 1:02 AM, Blogger ondra said...

"All my statements are supported by actual data."

They are not. They are just opinions of authors of this document:
http://druglibrary.net/schaffer/debate/myths/myths5.htm

Drug Legalization: Myths and Misconceptions
by The US Dept. of Justice

And they don't discuss what morganovich said - e.g. it is very likely that in case of legalization, some (maybe quite a lot) of the current drug-addicts would switch to safer alternatives. They don't discuss how they came to the numbers of lower productivity (which is a question of itself, why would such a thing be relevant at all), they don't discuss how they came to the numbers etc.

The funniest thing is that when you search for "The Economics of Drug Legalization 1995", the first study that comes has an abstract that says:

Some
simulations of the legalization of marijuana and cocaine, using reasonable parameter values,
show that an increase in drug use usually results, but that the lower levels of per unit social
harm in legal, as opposed to illegal, drug markets ensures that, in many cases, social welfare
rises following legalization. Optimal drug policy is heavily dependent on the relationship
between drug use and externalities, the inclusion of the consumer surplus from drug
consumption in social welfare, and the functional form of the demand curve. A better
understanding of these would seem necessary before any unequivocal statement about the
advantages of legalization can be made.


Interesting - and you claim to have a definitive answer from a document that didn't even study such things?

 
At 9/16/2012 1:27 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Peak

"That's a remarkably accurate description of your position.

All my statements are supported by actual data.
"

It's a rights issue, Peak, the rest is secondary.

 
At 9/16/2012 1:35 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Ondra says: "it is very likely that in case of legalization, some (maybe quite a lot) of the current drug-addicts would switch to safer alternatives."

And Ron says: "Only a collection of baseless assertions that sound emotionally appealing."

Ron agrees with you.

Gateway Drug

"The Journal of the American Medical Association reported, based on a study of 300 sets of twins, that marijuana-using twins were four times more likely than their siblings to use cocaine and crack cocaine, and five times more likely to use hallucinogens such as LSD."

******

Examining the Impact of Marijuana Legalization on Marijuana Consumption
Insights from the Economics Literature

"From this review it is clear that total consumption will rise in response to legalization due to increases in the number of new users, increases in the number of regular and heavy users, and probable increases in the duration in which marijuana is consumed for average users."

******

U.S. Illegal Drug Use Down Substantially from 1970s
17 April 2012

"The Obama administration is working to reduce the demand for illegal drugs inside the United States.

Drug use in the United States “has dropped substantially over the past thirty years,” thanks to local, state and federal government efforts, as well as international cooperation.

“The rate of Americans using illicit drugs today is roughly one-third the rate it was in the late '70s.

More recently, there has been a 40 percent drop in current cocaine use and meth use has dropped by half.”"

******

Teen Drug and Alcohol Use on the Rise Again - Health - Families.com

"Both alcohol and marijuana use are up from 2008. Prior to 2009, drug and alcohol use rates had been on a steady decline since 1988."

 
At 9/16/2012 1:40 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Peak

"All my statements are supported by actual data."

Huh?

Your source "The Economics of Drug Legalization 1995" not only doesn't rely on actual data -

"Some simulations of the legalization of marijuana and cocaine, using reasonable parameter values...."

- but doesn't conclude what you claim.

"...show that an increase in drug use usually results, but that the lower levels of per unit social
harm in legal, as opposed to illegal, drug markets ensures that, in many cases, social welfare
rises following legalization.
"

Models aren't evidence, Peak. You will have to do better than that.

 
At 9/16/2012 1:58 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Chapter Four: The Economics of Drug Legalization

"It should be stated initially that most people misconceive the amount of resources expended under the status quo for drug control.

The FY 1994 federal budget allocates $7.51 billion for drug control (supply reduction) which includes criminal justice, interdiction, international programs and intelligence. State and local governments spend even more, $12.6 billion a year.

If we legalized drugs on the assumption that by taxing them we could raise large amounts of revenue, we would be sadly mistaken.

First, as discussed in Chapter Two, any such taxation scheme would perpetuate a criminal black market. Consequently, we would still have to spend money funding police, courts and the like to fight this problem.

Second, if alcohol is any indication, we simply would not make that much money by taxing drugs. The total revenue collected from alcohol taxes at the federal, state, and local levels amounts to about $13.1 billion a year," a paltry sum compared to the social costs associated with alcohol consumption."

 
At 9/16/2012 3:15 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Ron says: "It's a rights issue, Peak, the rest is secondary."

It's not a right:

Controlled Substances Act of 1970

Passed U.S. House 392-16
Passed U.S. Senate 97-2

Similary, you don't have the right to pollute unabated.

 
At 9/16/2012 9:01 AM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

"If more drug addicts was a net benefit for society, I'd be all for it."

That's not the best way to frame the issue. Here's a better one:

What are net costs of; a) U.S. drug prohibition (including 15,000 murders in Mexico, jailing people for victimless crimes, the opportunity cost of jailing people for victimless crimes, the cost of law enforcement, the diversion of law enforcement to drug enforcement and away from crimes with victims, the cost of jailing people for victimless crimes, etc.) compared to b) the net costs of drug de-criminalization (possible increase in drug use initially, etc).

If you frame the issue that way, I don't think it would possible to prove or claim that the net costs of prohibition are less than the net costs of de-criminalization. That is, the net costs to society of drug prohibition are much, much greater than would be the net costs of de-criminalization.

For example, there is no way that the cost to society of possible increased use of drugs under de-criminalization would ever offset the benefit of not having 15,000 more murders from drug prohibition.

 
At 9/16/2012 9:10 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

The assumption seems to be legalizing drugs will turn criminals into angels.

 
At 9/16/2012 10:05 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

We know high crime neighborhoods tend to be poor and have liquor stores on almost every block.

Why promote criminal activity, e.g. murder, rape, robbery, etc.

 
At 9/16/2012 10:29 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Drug use and crime declined substantially over the past few decades:

US crime rate at lowest point in decades.
January 9, 2012

The last time the crime rate for serious crime – murder, rape, robbery, assault – fell to these levels, gasoline cost 29 cents a gallon and the average income for a working American was $5,807. That was 1963.

In the past 20 years, for instance, the murder rate in the United States has dropped by almost half...Meanwhile, robberies were down 10 percent in 2010 from the year before and 8 percent in 2009.

The declines are not just a blip, say criminologists. Rather, they are the result of a host of changes that have fundamentally reversed the high-crime trends of the 1980s.

James Alan Fox, a criminologist at Northeastern University in Boston. "We are indeed a safer nation than 20 years ago."

He and others give four main reasons for the decline:

*Increased incarceration, including longer sentences, that keeps more criminals off the streets.

*Improved law enforcement strategies, including advances in computer analysis and innovative technology.

*The waning of the crack cocaine epidemic that soared from 1984 to 1990, which made cocaine cheaply available in cities across the US.

*The graying of America characterized by the fastest-growing segment of the US population – baby boomers – passing the age of 50.

 
At 9/16/2012 12:01 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

The assumption seems to be legalizing drugs will turn criminals into angels.

The only one assuming that here is that straw man you built.

We know high crime neighborhoods tend to be poor and have liquor stores on almost every block.

Oh...how cute. Another random musing.

Why promote criminal activity, e.g. murder, rape, robbery, etc.

I don't know why you're promoting those things. That's for you to explain.

It's you who prices these people out of the labour market with your minimum wage. It's you who confines them to the government holding pens in the ghetto euphemistically referred to as "public schools" from which they cannot move without moving house. Crime and liquor is all they have left.

But you think these people are engaged in dangerous criminal activity because they're just natural born criminals. These neighbourhoods are also overwhelmingly black. So, I guess you thesis is that blacks are just hopeless criminals who can't help raping women and drinking themselves into a stupor and that they wouldn't prefer to live a better life if you removed that jackboot of yours from their throats.



 
At 9/16/2012 1:52 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Peak

"Controlled Substances Act of 1970

Passed U.S. House 392-16
Passed U.S. Senate 97-2
"

Government assigns us our rights? Who knew?

Here's another example:

Peak Trader Control Act of 2012. Peak Trader may not express his opinions in public.

Passed U.S. House 392-16
Passed U.S. Senate 97-2

Are you OK with that one? Do you think legislation determines your rights?

 
At 9/16/2012 1:55 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"If you don't believe me, maybe you'll believe Wikipedia"...

pt!

Now that is sliding over the edge...

What's next? Believe Paul Krugman?

Maybe Barry Sotero?

 
At 9/16/2012 4:29 PM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

Thanks, Methinks, just posted that story on Twitter, thanks for the tip.

 
At 9/16/2012 4:45 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Thanks, Methinks, just posted that story on Twitter, thanks for the tip"...

Try the real deal instead...

Do you think legalizing or at the very least decriminalizing drugs will cause an abatement of that sort of sociopathic behavior?

Maybe you're right and it might...

Then again maybe drugs being illegal opened up some sort of Pandora's box...

Personally I'm not optimistic...

 
At 9/16/2012 5:05 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

juandos

"Try the real deal instead...

Do you think legalizing or at the very least decriminalizing drugs will cause an abatement of that sort of sociopathic behavior?
"

Is there any indication this involved drugs? Legalization of drugs won't stop lynchings like this.

 
At 9/16/2012 5:33 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Mark, I would say "my pleasure", but it's never a pleasure to stumble upon a story of mass murder.

 
At 9/16/2012 5:50 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Juandos,

This has nothing to do with sociopathic behaviour. Excluding myself and my husband (who didn't arrive in this country until he was an adult), I don't know a single person who has NEVER tried illegal drugs of any kind.

The criminalization of drugs didn't stop them. And it doesn't stop the ones who live perfectly productive lives and continue to use on occasion - much the same way they occasionally also have an alcoholic drink. The laws clearly don't stop anyone becoming addicted and we don't seem to be as worried about alcoholics for some reason.

What the criminalization of drugs did do was create a flourishing black market where instead of the rule of law might makes right. Because supply is severely constrained by "The Law", prices are high enough for suppliers to take the risk. Since providers can't settle disputes in court, they take matters into their own hands and engage in violent conflicts with each other. Most of them are not sociopaths, but to remain alive, they have to think like a psychopath. But as long as we're on the subject - the drug was is an excellent way to CREATE sociopaths.

In the name of protecting us from the criminal elements of its own creation, the police state grows and becomes a pretext for state crimes against innocent people who have nothing to do with drugs.

Far more innocent people are suffering than would suffer if we ended the drug war - even if the number of addicts doubled (which I doubt as drugs are pretty readily available). And I'm not sure that an increase in the number of addicts would be worse since they won't be forced into the underworld and people who are legitimately in pain and prescribed medicine will not be harassed by police and their homes looted if these "distinguished medical professionals" in SWAT gear decide that the person is being over-prescribed. A pretext for civil asset forfeiture (on the rise) would be eliminated.

I don't like to be in an altered state and there is nobody in the world who thinks drugs are a bigger waste of time than me, but enough already. We've had enough. The price of stopping others from doing things we don't personally approve of is too high.

 
At 9/16/2012 6:26 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"This has nothing to do with sociopathic behaviour"...

I'm sorry methinks but you're wrong...

This behavior down in Mexico is not new and did not develop or accelerate since the drug war rolled into town courtesy of President Nixon...

I'd been hearing about and seeing it first hand since I was nine years old in 1960...

I grew up on the border and sadly if one read enough Mexican newspapers one could easily come to the conclusion that the whole country nutz...

I don't imagine Mexico worse than anywhere else, apparently their problem is lousy PR people...

 
At 9/17/2012 3:19 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"I don't imagine Mexico worse than anywhere else, apparently their problem is lousy PR people..."

That's for sure "Borderland Beat" certainly doesn't help polish up Mexico's image.

 
At 9/18/2012 2:22 AM, Blogger ondra said...

"The Journal of the American Medical Association reported, based on a study of 300 sets of twins, that marijuana-using twins were four times more likely than their siblings to use cocaine and crack cocaine, and five times more likely to use hallucinogens such as LSD."

"From this review it is clear that total consumption will rise in response to legalization due to increases in the number of new users"

First I didn't claim that total consumption won't rise. I claim, that it won't rise much because of the numbers we know - which is that the demand is inelastic. Can you counter that claim?

Second, if you dare infer the claim from the correlation, could you please repeat the statistics lesson: correlation is not causation?

 
At 9/18/2012 2:25 AM, Blogger ondra said...

Peak, just to put in more detail:
- people drinking beer are X times more likely to drink whisky than people who don't drink beer
- alas, legalization of alcohol will make total consumption rise and people switch to strong alcohol

As far as I know, legalization of alcohol didn't have much effect on the consumption of alcohol, mainly because people switched from 'hard alcohol' to 'soft alcohol'...

Thus the correlation you suggest doesn't prove the point you are trying to make.

 

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