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.

MORE FROM YOUNG VOICES

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.

On Monday's radio program, Glenn Beck and Stu Burguiere discussed former Starbucks CEO and progressive Howard Schultz, a lifelong Democrat who has not only been disowned by the Democrat Party but he can no longer set foot inside of a Starbucks store because of his success in business.

In this clip, Stu explained how at one time Starbucks only sold coffee in bags until Schultz, an employee at the time, convinced the company to open a Starbucks cafe.

Click here to watch the full episode.

At one point, the owners came close to closing down the cafe, but Schultz eventually managed to purchase the company and transform it into the empire that it is today.

Stu continued, describing how Schultz, a lifelong Democrat, went on to implement liberal corporate policies that earned the company a reputation for being a "beacon" of liberalism across the country.

"And now he (Schultz) can't even get into the Democrat Party," Stu said."That is craziness," Glenn replied.

Citing a "60 Minutes" interview, Glenn highlighted the journey that Schultz traveled, which started in the New York City projects and evolved, later becoming the CEO of a coffee empire.

"This guy is so American, so everything in business that we want to be, he has taken his beliefs and made it into who he is which is very liberal," Glenn explained.

Catch more of the conversation in the video below.


This article provided courtesy of TheBlaze.

This weekend, March 17, Rep. Rashida Tlaib will be speaking at (Council on American Islamic Relations) CAIR-Michigan's 19th annual "Faith-Led, Justice Driven" banquet.

Who knows what to expect. But here are some excerpts from a speech she gave last month, at CAIR-Chicago's 15th annual banquet.

RELATED: CLOSER LOOK: Who is Rep. Ilhan Omar?

You know the speech is going to be good when it begins like this:


CAIR-Chicago 15th Annual Banquet: Rashida Tlaib youtu.be


It's important to remember CAIR's ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. Think of CAIR as a spinoff of HAMAS, who its two founders originally worked for via a Hamas offshoot organization (the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP)).

A 2009 article in Politico says feds "designated CAIR a co-conspirator with the Holy Land Foundation, a group that was eventually convicted for financing terrorism."

The United Arab Emirates has designated CAIR a terrorist organization.

In 1993, CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper told a reporter for the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

I wouldn't want to create the impression that I wouldn't like the government of the United States to be Islamic sometime in the future.

In 1998, CAIR co-founder Omar Ahmad said:

Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Koran … should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth.

Notice the slight underhanded jab at Israel. It's just one of many in her speech, and is indicative of the growing anti-Semitism among Democrats, especially Tlaib and Omar.

Most of the speech, as you might expect, is a long rant about the evil Donald Trump.

I wonder if she realizes that the Birth of Jesus pre-dates her religion, and her "country." The earliest founding of Palestine is 1988, so maybe she's a little confused.

Then there's this heartwarming story about advice she received from Congressman John Dingell:

When I was a state legislator, I came in to serve on a panel with him on immigration rights, and Congressman Dingell was sitting there and he had his cane, if you knew him, he always had this cane and he held it in front of him. And I was so tired, I had driven an hour and a half to the panel discussion at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor campus. And I sit down, my hair is all messed up, and I said, 'Oh, my God, I'm so tired of this. I don't know how you've been doing it so long Congressman. They all lie.' And he looks at me and he goes. (She nods yes.) I said, 'You know who I'm talking about, these lobbyists, these special interest [groups], they're all lying to me.' … And he looks at me, and he goes, 'Young lady, there's a saying in India that if you stand still enough on a riverbank, you will watch your enemies float by dead.'

What the hell does that mean? That she wants to see her enemies dead? Who are her enemies? And how does that relate to her opening statement? How does it relate to the "oppression" her family faced at the hand of Israel?

Glenn Beck on Wednesday called out Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) for their blatantly anti-Semitic rhetoric, which has largely been excused by Democratic leadership. He noted the sharp contrast between the progressive principles the freshmen congresswomen claim to uphold and the anti-LGBTQ, anti-feminist, anti-Israel groups they align themselves with.

Later this month, both congresswomen are scheduled to speak at fundraisers for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a pro-Palestinian organization with ties to Islamic terror groups including Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Qaeda, and the Islamic State.

Rep. Tlaib will be speaking at CAIR-Michigan's 19th Annual Banquet on March 17 in Livonia, Michigan, alongside keynote speaker Omar Suleiman, a self-described student of Malcolm X with links to the Muslim Brotherhood. Suleiman has regularly espoused notably "un-progressive" ideas, such as "honor killings" for allegedly promiscuous women, mandatory Hijabs for women, death as a punishment for homosexuality, and men having the right to "sex slaves," Glenn explained.

Rep. Omar is the keynote speaker at a CAIR event on March 23 in Los Angeles and will be joined by Hassan Shibly, who claims Hezbollah and Hamas are not terrorist organizations, and Hussam Ayloush, who is known for referring to U.S. armed forces as radical terrorists.

Watch the clip below for more:


This article provided courtesy of TheBlaze.

The roots of AOC

Wikimedia Commons

It wasn't too long ago that Blanca thought it was all over.

Born in Puerto Rico, Blanca lived in New York most of her life. Recently, a reporter from the Daily Mail sent a reporter to interview Blanca. When the reporter arrived, Blanca was calmly sculpting wood in the front yard of her modest, 860-square-foot home down the street from a cemetery. Occasionally, a drug deal takes place out front, and the house is crumbling in parts, but Blanca has been fixing it up since she moved in a couple years ago, and this is home.

Reading the article, you can feel the writer's surprise, you can feel an unsuspecting writer being wrapped in Blanca's story.

RELATED: We are all now dumber for what Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had to say

By day, Blanca works for the Lake County School District as a clerical assistant.

This is a story about mothers.

Blanca is a woman who makes lasagna for visiting relatives and watches over her 78-year-old mother, "who suffers from pulmonary fibrosis and often breathes oxygen from a concentrator, and a loud rescue mutt named Tammy."

This is a story about daughters.

Because Blanca always believed in her daughter. Believed her daughter would be important. And, regardless of your opinion on her daughter—and, believe me, you have an opinion about her daughter, because everybody has an opinion about her daughter—there's no denying the wholesomeness of this story, so hear me out.

"Her dad and I were preparing for Alexandria's birth and still picking names," Blanca told the reporter. "And he came up with 'Alexandria.' I thought about it for a while and I said: 'Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. That sounds very powerful. That'll be her name.'"

Yes, that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the infamous millennial Democratic Socialist who represents New York's 14th district (covering the Bronx and Queens) in the House of Representatives.

And her mother is Blanca Ocasio-Cortez.

Blanca married Sergio Ocasio in Puerto Rico, then moved to New York. She knew very little English, but she learned. She worked the jobs nobody else wanted. She mopped floors at night, she drove school buses, she answered phones, took orders.

In 1989, she gave birth to her first child, a girl, in The Bronx, New York City. Two years later, she gave birth to a boy.

Until Alexandria was five, the family lived in a one-bedroom condo in the Parkchester neighborhood of the Bronx.

Theirs was an American struggle.

Theirs was an American struggle. Sergio worked hard until he had his own business, and the small family pooled together their resources and took out a mortgage, and moved into "a small single-family house with a yard in nearby Yorktown Heights."

"We had a great life there," Blanca said. "Alexandria was very social, so she always had a bunch of girls over. She took over the shed in the backyard. She cleaned it up, put up curtains and photos and made it look nice, and that was like a clubhouse for her and her friends."

Blanca talks about her daughter the way any good mother does, recalling that her daughter was always talkative.

"When I took her to her pre-K interview, she didn't let me talk much. She was going on and on about knowing the alphabet and being able to count."

In 2008, while Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was a sophomore at Boston University, her father, Blanca's husband, died of lung cancer.

Overnight, Blanca had to become the breadwinner.

I was cleaning houses in the morning and working as a secretary at a hospital in the afternoon... it was still difficult making ends meet. At one point, I was skipping mortgage payments and we almost lost the house.

This is a story about a single mother who raised her family after her husband died of lung cancer.

As the Daily Mail notes:

Sergio's death put the family into a tailspin. He had no life insurance, two years of health care bills due and the money his business brought in dried out. Blanca recalls she faced foreclosure not just once, but twice.

"It was scary," Blanca told the reporter. "I had to take medicine I was so scared. I had to stop paying for the mortgage for almost a year. I was expecting someone knocking on the door to kick me out at any time. There were even real estate people coming around to take photos of the house for when it was going to be auctioned. The worst is that I only had $50,000 left to pay on the loan."

Funny enough, it was the bank, not the welfare office or the local church that helped her.

Blanca worked from 6am until 11pm.

And I prayed and prayed, and things worked out. After the children graduated from college, I figured it was time for me to move to Florida.

These days, Blanca lives in Eustis, Florida, a lakefront community of about 16,000 people near Orlando. She moved here just before Christmas in 2016. She'd been paying $10,000 a year in real estate taxes in New York. Now, she pays $600 a year.

When she first got here, the world, her world was much different. Her daughter was a bartender in New York and hadn't filed paperwork to become a Representative.

Really, though, this is a story about what it means to live in America.

"I love privacy and calm," Blanca said. "I don't like the limelight for myself and my family. But it seems that God played quite a joke on me with this politics stuff."

The Daily Mail sent reporter Jose Lambiet, presumably to do a hatchet job. The story is tempting: taxes are so severe in New York that even the mother of the wild-eyed Democratic Socialist representing that area can't even afford to live there. Really, though, this is a story about what it means to live in America.

And while liberal media has paraded the story around with that smug look on their faces, so have conservative outlets, and in both cases they've missed the real story. The human story. The story of all of us. Because Blanca is an American, same as you and me.