Wednesday, March 24, 2010

American delegation flies to Mexico City to address cartel violence crisis. Leaves without ideas. Drops IOU for $310 million.

A "most formidable team" of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen, Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair, Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske, and Counterterrorism Chief Brennan went to Mexico City Tuesday to address the drug prohibition violence that has swept over Mexico since early 2008. (Washington Post coverage here.)

The formidable team recognized that American demand is central to the problem and offered Mexico another $310 million for FY 2011.

But the best way to reduce demand in the U.S. is to provide treatment to hardcore heroin and cocaine addicts who consume the lion's share of those drugs. American treatment is of two types -- for the rich or well-insured who can afford it, or for the poor, which is usually unattractive, inconvenient, and inadequate. Yet the Administration is asking for a mere $137 million more for treatment in FY 2011.

Another way to reduce the demand for Mexican drugs -- specifically marijuana -- is to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana in the U.S. This would have almost no negative effects on America. But the tax revenues and enforcement savings would be in the range of $10 to 14 billion annually according to Professor Jeffrey Miron. That could pay for enough drug treatment to beat down U.S. demand for hard drugs. Together, those two measures would hammer the Mexican traffickers' revenue stream, and reduce the violence.

But one can only imagine that blank stares inside the plane carrying the "most formidable team" to Mexico when Hillary Clinton asked, "Anybody got any new ideas?" Just think Michael Douglas in the movie, "Traffic."

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1 comment:

strayan said...

This whole treatment drive is bullshit. The large majority of drug users (including and especially tobacco and alcohol consumers) quit without needing any 'treatment' whatsoever. Most people can go it alone and should be encouraged to do so.