How to Really Help the Economy: Tax Drugs

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A Harvard senior lecturer in economics wrote an article on legalizing drugs that I found pretty interesting.

The fact that alcohol prohibition was legalized during the great depression is an important lesson. But there’s a huge difference between drinking a few beers and shooting up heroine.

However, it’s fair to say that legalizing drugs has not been tried. There is a slew of questions surrounding the practicality of such a drastic change in policy, but I wholeheartedly agree that our drug policy in the united states is puritanical and draconian.

Questions I’d have:

  • What would be the deterministic health consequences? Would the toll on the psyche and well-being of society be too much if we trusted people to control themselves?
  • How can you weigh the benefits of reducing the power of drug cartels with the increase in DUI deaths and personal losses for people who will battle addiction?
  • Would this even increase the amount of abusers? People who gamble find ways to gamble, people who do drugs already find ways to do it — is it a myth that everyone would suddenly rush to do drugs?

I think the argument against legalization is based largely on precedent and less on metrics — since a lot of it is just speculation. I don’t have many doubts that we’d be able to save money and increase revenue drastically at the same time — and we could channel a small percentage of funds to education, support and rehab instead of spending so much on enforcement and incarceration.

Think about it.