"Mistrust those in whom the urge to punish is strong." Friedrich Nietzche

"Any and all non-violent, non-coercive, non-larcenous, consensual adult behavior that does not physically harm other people or their property or directly and immediately endangers same, that does not disturb the peace or create a public nuisance, and that is done in private, especially on private property, is the inalienable right of all adults. In a truly free and liberty-loving society, ruled by a secular government, no laws should be passed to prohibit such behavior. Any laws now existing that are contrary to the above definition of inalienable rights are violations of the rights of adults and should be made null and void." D. M. Mitchell (from The Myth of Inalienable Rights, at: http://dowehaverights.blogspot.com/)

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

100 Billion Dollars!

There is a quotation attributed to Senator Everett Dirkson (1896-1969), but it has not been proven that he said it first, or ever said it at all. Still, it's a really good quip: "A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking about real money."

Well, just how much is a billion dollars. I mean, how can the average person get a grasp on that number. If you could spend 1,000 dollars a day, it would take you one million days to spend one billion dollars. One million days, divided by the number of days per year (365)would be 2,739.7 years.

In 1994, in the New York Times Magazine, Max Frankel wrote an article, "O.K., Call It War," about the so-called war on drugs. In that article he claimed that the total amount of money being spent on the so-called war on drugs(SCWOD), at all levels, federal, state, and local, was 100 billion dollars a year. At a 1,000 dollars a day, it would take you 273,970 years to spend that much money.

If the government is going to take money from us it should not be using it to violate our rights, which the SCWOD does by preventing otherwise peaceful, honest citizens from using recreational drugs other than alcohol and tobacco (which are much, much more harmful overall to individuals and society). Nor should it be using the money to help terrorist organizations, violent drug cartels, and violent street gangs. Without the SCWOD, government regulated and sold drugs would be inexpensive (and a tax source as well) and all those nasty, violent people would have to either go out of business or start robbing banks. And finally, the government should use that money to actually do some good in this nation rather than fight the SCWOD decade after decade with no tangible results whatsoever. (Well, actually, it has been said that without the SCWOD neither crack cocaine nor "ice" would have been created, so I guess the SCWOD has had some results.)

But what could the government do with that 100 billion dollars if not wasting it on the SCWOD? How many people in the United States can't afford health insurance? Forty million? Fifty million? If the government isn't going to stop wasting that money on the SCWOD (not likely), and if it won't give the taxpayers a tax break (even less likely), then why not tell the government to use that money to provide health insurance for those forty to fifty million people. It wouldn't be top-of-the-line health insurance, to be sure, but it could be good basic health care. And the upside for all those government workers who would be out of a job if there was no SCWOD, is that they could be kept on as worker bees in a bigger and better bureaucracy. (I bet Hilary Clinton would like that.)

What do you say gang, should we march on Washington demanding reason and justice and basic health care for the masses and the end of a stupid, wasteful, unending, and rights-violating "war"? Could we do it? Could we make a difference? . . . Nah. I don't think so. It would be too much trouble and probably wouldn't work anyway. So, okay, forget I said anything. I'll just pop open another can of beer. And, hey? Scrubs is on again. To your health . . . gulp, gulp, gulp!

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