Rand Paul: Not Anti-Drug War

Image

Source

There was a conservative guy I knew, who, when I brought up gay marriage, he would always try and dodge the question by saying “it should be decided by the states.” I then brought up my cousin, who is in a committed relationship with a woman from Spain. Were they a straight couple, her immigration status would be fairly clear cut-they get married and she would get a green card and a path to citizenship. However, while she did eventually get a green card, it was a long and tenuous process that involved them living on the other side of the country for years. This conservative never gave me an answer as to whether or not my cousin’s family should get the same treatment as a straight couple would.

I bring this up because the common consensus is “Rand Paul wants to end the drug war.” His stance over allowing decriminalization was brought up in his speech to Howard University as an example of minority outreach. A common libertarian line used against Obama and the Democrats is they want to end the Drug War, which has been overwhelmingly harmful to minority communities, while the Democrats want to keep it going. However, that’s only part of the story.

There are two big flaws in the Rand Paul plan to decriminalize drugs. The first is Senator Paul is calling merely for an end to federal involvement in the drug war. In his world, states would be allowed to make their own decisions.

While he has called for a more compassion with regards to drug sentencing, leaving it to states would create a whole mess of trouble. It doesn’t seem particularly fair if California and New York become Amsterdam while Paul’s own Kentucky keeps drugs illegal. It also would raise some questions-what would the standard be for regulating and taxing narcotics? What about moving them across state lines? Suppose a flight from San Francisco to New York made an emergency landing in a state where drugs are illegal, would passengers who brought drugs be arrested? Could the state’s Air National Guard scramble fighter jets to bring down the plane? The reason we have a national government is to sort these things out.

The second issue goes to the reason he got into so much trouble in 2010-his belief about government regulation of the private sector. If you remember, he got into trouble for claiming the Civil Rights Act shouldn’t have infringed on private businesses that discriminated. So, even if drugs were legal in all 50 states, what about companies who forbade drug use outside of work? What if all the companies in the US got together and fired anyone who smoked weed outside of work? What if they only fired black or Hispanic employees who did this but not white ones? What if they chose to use it as a firing offense on libertarians but not liberals? Paul has stated he doesn’t want the federal government interfering with business practices. It doesn’t seem particularly liberating if you can’t get a job merely because you smoke weed.

If Paul wants to work with other lawmakers to deal with our absurd War On Drugs, I’m all for it. However, it should be noted if you think marijuana is a substance less harmful than alcohol and should be taxed and regulated as such while more harmful narcotics should be dealt with as a health issue and not a criminal one, Paul is not on the same page-like everything else, he just doesn’t want the federal government involved.

David Brooks Is Wrong On So Many Levels

Image

via The Atlantic

I have to say, David Brooks’s column today is a doozie even by Brooks’s standards. He goes after the Progressive Caucus’s budget. I guess that’s progress-there was a time when he would ignore those hippies.

His biggest beef is with taxes. He tries to claim all these big important economists are saying horrible things about taxes, usual Republican stuff. However, one part stood out to me-

Edward Prescott, a winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in economics, found that, in the 1950s when their taxes were low, Europeans worked more hours per capita than Americans. Then their taxes went up, reducing the incentives to work and increasing the incentives to relax. Over the next decades, Europe saw a nearly 30 percent decline in work hours.

Right now, Greeks work longer hours than Americans and Italians and Spaniards work a comparable time to us. A little over a year ago, David Brooks hearted Germany. Yet, by that same chart I posted, Germans are a lazy, lazy people.

The final passage is just a spiteful swipe at the Progressive Caucus-

The progressive budget in the House seems to have been written by people hermetically sealed in the house of government. They work in government. They represent public-sector workers. 

So, Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and the rest of the Republicans in Congress don’t collect a check from taxpayers? Also, Keith Ellison, the Congressman pushing this budget, represents less than 4500 federal employees. Ryan represents over 6000 federal employees. Cantor represents over 11,500.

Low taxes are the drug of choice for Republicans and Brooks is a high-functioning addict. He can act respectable and come across as reasonable. However, when this core belief is threatened, he turns into a cheap AM radio pundit…