At 2 p.m. today, the NBER will release the monthly Treasury update of debt relative to credit. (Here’s a spoiler: It won’t be anything we didn’t see a month ago. We’re up to our ears in debt.) Meanwhile, Congress is rushing back into emergency session for a quick fix to stave off default as our spending continues to increasingly exceed our income. At a time when every politician is casting blame about the rapidly ballooning national debt and the continual political struggle surrounding raising the debt limit, it’s worth our while to examine the larger picture: Whose fault, really, is the precarious condition of our national finances?
It’s tempting for partisans to each blame the other party; it’s easily done, too, as government waste has become proverbial and inefficiency is automatically assumed without the bother of proving it. It’s equally simple for a certain class of people to throw up their hands and blame all politicians, as though they themselves would do better if they were in charge. But even a little brief reflection will show that, while these are satisfying accusations, they can’t possibly have much merit.
There’s a slogan: A.C.A.B., or “All Cops Are Bastards”. The premise is, if you’re a good person you don’t join the side of the oppressor. You don’t don jackboots and riot gear. You don’t swing the club, and you don’t launch tear gas.
It’s a good slogan; effective, it’s viscerally appealing. It speaks to us where we live.
And yet it’s wrong. Not completely, as you’ll see, but fundamentally. (more…)
Heroin and its analogues can be deadly. Heroin overdoses have more than tripled over the past couple of decades. The supply has ballooned; the price has plummeted. And, since 2013, dangerous synthetics have hit the streets in truly vast quantities. These are facts, beyond dispute.
Despite this, it has become apparent to me that there is in fact no such thing as an “Opioid Epidemic”. Despite massive reporting and editorializing on the subject, hearings in Congress, and now even a potential military deployment (more…)
The “War On Drugs” has failed, and we lost. We’ve spent billions of dollars annually and trillions overall, and we’ve accomplished two things: We’ve increased the street price of drugs, enriching the cartels in the process, and we’ve imprisoned millions of our own citizens, hopelessly overburdening the criminal justice system by so doing.
We have completely failed to eradicate drug use.
Some of you think I’m nuts already, and that’s fine. I’ll provide a bit of history next and you can decide afterward if the facts justify my statements. (more…)