Friday, June 25, 2010

Illegal immigration and illegal drugs

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (R), running for re-election says that most illegal immigrants come to the country to bring illegal drugs. Her assertion is being challenged. If she is even partly correct, isn't one logical response -- if your goal is to minimize illegal immigration and get control of the border -- to regulate, tax and control the now illegal drugs?

The enormous profits of illegal drugs exceed the profits of any other kind of business that operate across the border. But Congress's prohibition policy restricts access to those profits to criminals. Because these profits are not taxed, the fiscal effects is that American taxpayers are subsidizing these crimes!

Certainly the public has a right to wonder what a post-prohibition regime of taxed and regulated drug distribution and use would look like. But as long as leading policy-makers insist on stupid slogans such as "the word legalization is not in my vocabulary," we can't seriously consider the alternatives.

Wouldn't those who say they oppose legalization actually be interested in a honest appraisal of actual legalization proposals, instead of their cartoonish vision of now illegal drug dealers still operating in alleys and abandoned buildings as legal drug dealers?

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