President Obama has, at least twice, very publicly called for an end to “government programs that don’t work.” We should use the money, he says reasonably enough, to support the programs that do work. So far he hasn’t issued any specific hit list, probably to avoid, for as long as possible, treading on any influential toes. But sooner or later he will have to name names. May I suggest the first candidate for the dustbin of history—the War on Drugs?
See http://www.drugsense.org/wodclock.htm for the latest stats on what the WoD has cost us. Yes, it’s a wildly partisan website, but the stats sound realistic. See also http://www.huffingtonpost.com/norm-stamper/ending-the-war-on-drugs-t_b_170267.html for a more temperate view.
Or just talk to some of my clients. One of whom says he is the only self-employed small businessman he knows who is not losing money. Another is currently in jail because he prefers to medicate his mental health issues with a cheap readily available illegal substance that makes him feel better, rather than a horrendously expensive legal one that makes him feel worse.
Marijuana is now reputedly the largest cash crop in many states. And it isn’t being taxed. How dumb is that?
Medical students over the last ten years or so have been instructed to take pain seriously, as the “5th vital sign,” and to treat it effectively. At the same time, earlier generations of doctors are still being monitored and occasionally prosecuted by the DEA for taking such advice seriously. Old canards about the dire likelihood of addiction from adequate pain medication, and the possibility of death being hastened by respiratory depression resulting from the use of analgesics, have been refuted by recent research. But the DEA apparently has not heard the good news yet. How dumb is that?
Here’s a government program that not only doesn’t work, it performs negative work on the body politic. It creates corruption and violence, destroys families, and creates an infinitely deep rathole in which to deposit public and private monies. It’s okay, Mr. President, you’re safely elected now. Scrap the War on Drugs. Now.