To Cut the Deficit, End the Drug War

Republicans in Congress are taking heat for passing a $400 billion budget deal, which critics on the left point out will balloon the nation’s deficits. Luckily, there’s an easy way for the GOP to reclaim its mantle of fiscal responsibility. Ending the war on drugs would raise revenue without raising taxes, cut a bloated government program, and cut the deficit by over $80 billion per year.

Abolishing the war on drugs could raise revenue by empowering Americans to work, broadening the tax base. In 2015, 469,545 people were imprisoned in the United States for drug offenses. That’s almost half a million Americans who are rotting in prison instead of being allowed to work and pay taxes. If a mechanic is caught with marijuana in his pocket and goes to prison, he could spend years languishing in a cell instead of working. His community loses out on his labor. Taxpayers lose too, because prison transforms a hardworking man into a net drain on government budgets.

Even once convicts do their time and are released, their earnings suffer. According to Pew, a nonprofit think tank, people who have been incarcerated earn 40 percent less than they would if they had never gone to prison, even controlling for other factors.

Inmates lose skills in prison; that mechanic is languishing behind bars, not fixing cars. And employers are often wary of hiring criminals, even non-violent ones. Many employers ask prospective employees if they’ve ever been incarcerated, and those who answer yes rarely get called back. If the mechanic has to work at Walmart when he gets out because his former employer won’t hire convicts, he’ll plummet from middle-class to destitute. A drug conviction can haunt citizens for the rest of their lives, permanently capping their income and ruining their ability to provide for their families.

Ending the drug war could ignite a boom in the middle class.

Ending the drug war could ignite a boom in the middle class, because hundreds of thousands of Americans would no longer be trapped in low-income jobs by their criminal history.

Some of those locked up by the war on drugs are entrepreneurs. Dealing drugs isn’t too unlike running a small company, with overhead and clients and the need to differentiate yourself in a crowded market. If we stop locking up these men and women, the nonviolent ones will be free to start new companies and develop new products. Rapper and business mogul Jay Z got his start dealing. How many would-be moguls like Jay Z, who were unlucky enough to be caught by police, are behind bars instead of starting new record labels and creating wealth?

By freeing people to work and start businesses, legalization could broaden the tax base and cut the deficit, while improving the fortunes of destitute Americans who would no longer rot in a cell.

The drug war could also broaden our tax base another way. Legalized drugs would bring in plenty of tax revenue, because drug dealing is big business. Americans spend $100 billion per year on illegal drugs, according to the White House Office of Drug Control Policy. Right now, most of that money funds gangs and organized crime.

But legalizing drugs could help the United States pay down our enormous debt instead of padding gangers’ pockets. Economists Katherine Waldock and Jeffrey Miron examine the idea of legalizing drugs nationwide and taxing them like alcohol and tobacco, with a 50 percent sin tax. Even accounting for the fact that such a high tax would reduce demand, the authors estimate it could bring in $46.7 billion in tax revenue per year.

The war on drugs is one of the country’s most expensive programs.

Legalization will also show that the GOP is serious about cutting government spending. The war on drugs is one of the country’s most expensive programs. It employs bureaucrats, police, judges, lawyers and prison guards. It requires building expensive new prisons. Prison alone costs an average of $30,000 per inmate, between medical care, feeding, housing and guarding the inmates.

According to research by Waldock and Miron, our current drug policy costs federal, state, and local governments a combined $41.3 billion per year.

Even that understates the true cost, because the drug war pushes thousands of Americans onto the welfare rolls by imprisoning parents. According to a study by the National Institute of Health, families with an incarcerated parent are twice as likely to use food stamps and 1.5 times as likely to use Medicaid or SCHIP (State Children’s Health Insurance Program), versus families with free parents. If a mother is thrown in prison for a few grams of crack, her husband and kids will need some way to fill the gaping hole in their finances to keep eating. Nobody wants to be trapped on welfare, but when a breadwinner’s income suddenly vanishes, her family may not feel like they have a choice.

The drug war also creates intergenerational poverty, which means slower economic growth and bigger deficits down the line. In Daedalus, a leading social sciences journal published by MIT, criminologists noted children with incarcerated parents are more likely than their peers to end up in poverty and on welfare. Conservatives have long recognized that a strong family is important to help children grow up right --- what should we expect when we lock up hundreds of thousands of parents?

The drug war, like most government programs, is unlikely to end on its own --- no matter how much it costs. If Drug Enforcement Administration bureaucrats ever actually won the war, they would lose funding and their jobs. By contrast, the worse the problem gets, the more money they can demand, because epidemics require enormous resources to fight. That's one reason the drug war's been completely ineffective, with 66 percent more Americans using drugs in 2010 than in 1970. If conservatives want to restore fiscal discipline to Washington, they need to stop giving this expensive program a pass.

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Julian Adorney is a Young Voices Advocate. His work has been featured in National Review, Playboy, The Federalist, The Hill, and Lawrence Reed’s bestselling economic anthology Excuse Me, Professor.

TRUMP: The twilight hour of socialism has arrived

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The other day, at Florida International University in Miami, facing large American and Venezuelan flags, President Trump gave a rousing speech in Miami, including this line, the "twilight hour of socialism has arrived."

Trump went on to say:

Socialism is about one thing only—power for the ruling class. They want the power to decide who wins and who loses, who's up and who's down…and even who lives and who dies.

He then repeated a phrase that helped define his State of the Union address this year:

America will never be a socialist country.

Fittingly, Fox News posted an article yesterday exposing the overlooked evils of Che dangers of socialism that all too often disappear behind a flashy design on a t-shirt.

  1. Guevara said he killed people without regard to guilt or innocence. In an interview, Guevara said, "in times of excessive tension we cannot proceed weakly. At the Sierra Maestra, we executed many people by firing squad without knowing if they were fully guilty. At times, the Revolution cannot stop to conduct much investigation; it has the obligation to triumph."
  2. Humberto Fontova, author of "Exposing the Real Che Guevara," told Fox that Guevara created system that put gay people in labor camps. "The regime that Che Guevara co-founded is the only one in modern history in the Western Hemisphere to have herded gays into forced labor camps."
  3. Guevara opposed a free press: "In 1959, leftist journalist José Pardo Llada reported that Guevara told him: 'We must eliminate all newspapers; we cannot make a revolution with free press. Newspapers are instruments of the oligarchy.'"
  4. Guevara made racist statements: Guevara went on to write: "the black is indolent and a dreamer; spending his meager wage on frivolity or drink; the European has a tradition of work and saving."

These are just some of the many historical examples of the failure of socialism. President Trump is right. If the frivolities of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Saunders catch on and spread, we could have an unbelievable problem on our hands.

Poor Jussie: His narrative is falling apart completely

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Here's how the media works now: Find a story that confirms their narrative, run it constantly and relentlessly. When the real story comes out, minimize exposure of the correction. Repeat.

We're seeing this pattern play out over and over again.

RELATED: John Ziegler isn't buying what Jussie Smollett's selling either

Here are some of the knee-jerk reactions that the media had to this Jessie Smollett hoax, from Insider Edition, CNN, E! News, Headline News, CNBC, TMZ, to name a few:


Montage: Watch the Media Uncritically Accept Another Outlandish 'Hate Crime' youtu.be


And those are just the reactions on TV. It was just as bad, at times worse, in print and online. I'll give you one special example, however. Because, you know the situation is bad when TMZ is connecting the dots and seeing through this guy's story:

The sources say there were red flags from the get go. Cops were extremely suspicious when Jussie took them out to the area where he said he was attacked and pointed to an obscure camera saying how happy he was that the attack was on video. Turns out the camera was pointing in the wrong direction. Cops thought it was weird he knew the location of that camera. And there's this. We're told investigators didn't believe the 2 alleged attackers screamed 'This is MAGA country' because 'Not a single Trump supporter watches 'Empire.''

Here's the man himself, in an interview just days after the alleged beating…I'm sorry, the alleged "modern day lynching." Here he is in an interview with ABC News, complaining about people making up stuff:



Strong words, spoken by a man who, allegedly, created the whole narrative to begin with.

This compromise is an abomination

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Three decades ago, "The Art of the Deal" made Donald Trump a household name. A lot has happened since then. But you can trace many of Trump's actions back to that book.

Art of the Deal:

In the end, you're measured not by how much you undertake but by what you finally accomplish.

People laughed when he announced that he was running for President. And I mean that literally. Remember the 2011 White House Correspondents' Dinner when Obama roasted Trump, viciously, mocking the very idea that Trump could ever be President. Now, he's President.

You can't con people, at least not for long. You can create excitement, you can do wonderful promotion and get all kinds of press, and you can throw in a little hyperbole. But if you don't deliver the goods, people will eventually catch on.

This empire-building is a mark of Trump.

RELATED: 'Arrogant fool' Jim Acosta exposed MSM's dishonest border agenda — again.

The most recent example is the border wall. Yesterday, congress reached a compromise on funding for the border wall. Weeks of tense back-and-forth built up to that moment. At times, it seemed like neither side would budge. Trump stuck to his guns, the government shut down, Trump refused to budge, then, miraculously, the lights came back on again. The result was a compromise. Or at least that's how it appeared.

But really, Trump got what he wanted -- exactly what he wanted. He used the techniques he wrote about in The Art of the Deal:

My style of deal-making is quite simple and straightforward. I aim very high, and then I just keep pushing and pushing and pushing to get what I'm after.

From the start, he demanded $5.7 billion for construction of a border wall. It was a months' long tug-of-war that eventually resulted in yesterday's legislation, which would dedicate $1.4 billion. It would appear that that was what he was after all along. Moments before the vote, he did some last-minute pushing. A national emergency declaration, and suddenly the number is $8 billion.

Art of the Deal:

People think I'm a gambler. I've never gambled in my life. To me, a gambler is someone who plays slot machines. I prefer to own slot machines. It's a very good business being the house.

In a rare show of bipartisanship, Senate passed the legislation 83-16, and the House followed with 300-128. Today, Trump will sign the bill.

It's not even fair to call that a deal, really. A deal is what happens when you go to a car dealership, fully ready to buy a car, and the salesman says the right things. What Trump did is more like a car dealer selling an entire row of cars to someone who doesn't even have a licence. When Trump started, Democrats wouldn't even consider a wall, let alone pay for it.

Art of the Deal:

The final key to the way I promote is bravado. I play to people's fantasies. People may not always think big themselves, but they can still get very excited by those who do. That's why a little hyperbole never hurts. People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular. I call it truthful hyperbole. It's an innocent form of exaggeration—and a very effective form of promotion.

He started the wall on a chant, "Build the wall!" until he got what he wanted. He maneuvered like Don Draper, selling people something that they didn't even know they wanted, and convincing them that it is exactly what they've always needed.