News for December 2009

Decriminalize Prostitution, Drugs, and Gambling: No Joke, Mr. President

President Obama might have laughed off the question at a Pennsylvania Jobs Town Hall, but legalizing prostitution, drugs, and gambling makes sense both in terms of personal rights and economic growth.

The fact is that these things go on anyway, untaxed. That is a major source of government revenue lost every year. On top of that, because all these industries are forced underground, criminal gangs get involved and violence enters the picture where it certainly shouldn’t have to. Leading, of course, to the government instead spending endless money fighting the crime that arises and a “War on Drugs” that can’t be won.

Never mind the fact that nothing involving two consenting adults, or the ingestion of a substance by personal choice should really be illegal.

Why is it that we are so far from making these changes that our so-called “liberal” president can literally just laugh off the question?

Of course these things aren’t going to become legalized overnight. But decriminalization would be a first great step. We could learn a lot from Portugal’s 2001 decriminalization of all drugs, for example. Seven years later the data is in, and the policy has been a “resounding success”.

What really killed me was President Obama praising the student who asked the question for “doing exactly what you’re supposed to be doing,” in college by “thinking in new ways about things.”

Well yes, Mr. President, exactly. Something that shouldn’t end in college. Something we need to see more of in this country’s social policies across the board. You campaigned on the concept of change. Isn’t it about time we saw some?

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