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The latest unemployment figures are out and ...they're about the same as last time. Five point one or two percent of Americans are unemployed. That's not as good as Clinton who had two or three percent unemployment, but it's definitely better than Carter who had double digit unemployment and double digit inflation, too. Bush is right in the middle, so that's okay, don't you think?
Ok. That unemployment rate doesn't include the people who have simply stopped looking because they've given up hope. That's a million or so, but they don't count. Oh, and prisoners. They don't count either, because they're not out looking for jobs - there are a couple million or so of them, too. It's probably a good thing that they're not out looking for jobs because they'd be looking for jobs that involved robbing and stealing, and that would definitely be a bad thing, especially since Enron tanked and took a lot of robbing and stealing jobs down the toilet with them. And all those prisoners create jobs, for police who have to find them in the first place, for prosecutors who have to prosecute them, for defense attorneys to defend them(but not too, hard, obviously), prison guards to guard them, parole officersto watch over them when they get out, halfway houses to house them, and so on.
The thing about our prisoner population is that half of the prisoners there are in for drug related offenses, and the prison population has doubled in the past ten years making us the biggest country in the world with the biggest percent of our population incarcerated. USA!USA! We're number one! What I want to know is: why are we Americans such criminals? Why are there more ne'er-do-wells here than anywhere else? Is it part and parcel of the capitalist system that our worship of greed causes us to want so much more stuff than anyone else and that is more important than the laws we make for ourselves?
Drugs, I know, are bad. They have devastating consequences for people involved with them. But why are we making the consequences even more devastating by sending addicts to prison? I guess I'm pretty Libertarian about this one and believe that what adults choose to do with their bodies should be their business as long as they're willing to accept the consequences. Other Western countries have decriminalized or legalized drugs and do you know what happened? Not much. They didn't go to Hell in a hand basket and about the same number of people who used drugs before decriminalization used them after. What did happen was these countries didn't have to spend their citizens tax money on extra police and extra prisons.
This isn't going to happen in the United States. I know that. But we did end prohibition and a great deal of lawlessness went away when alcohol, which people wanted to drink, became legal. I guarantee that would happen if we ended our drug prohibition. Actually, thankGod for prohibition, my Grandfather the bootlegger became rich and when it was repealed he had to get a legitimate business. Darn it.
Now, (I repeat) drugs are bad. Don't use them. Don't tell anyone that I told you to use them, either, because that's not my point.
Drug addiction is widely recoginized as being a disease and is alone among diseases as being the only one that is largely illegal. I think it's because people are so uncomfortable with the voluntary aspect of addiction. Despite the physiologic basis for addiction the addict still has to decide to take a drug. Of course, other diseases have a voluntary component also. Lung cancer, for example. People get lung cancer from voluntary smoking. (Mostly. Yeah, okay, people get it second hand, too). Or type two Diabetes, which is heavily influenced by obesity(ie) people voluntarily eating too much.
What I think is that we should be fair about it and make all diseases illegal. We should have a war on disease just like for the past couple of decades we've had a war on drugs. Think about how successful thewar on drugs has been! We could have that same success in banishing disease from the United States, too! Lung cancer might be the first disease we'd start with since smoking's pretty much being criminalized anyways, so it would be easy to make the result of the smoking criminal, too. Then we would go with Diabetes because they use needles and that's sort of like being a junkie, isn't it? Then we would make sweets against the law (leads to Diabetes) and especially ... chocolate.
Aha! All of you women reading this just got a cold chill up your spines, because that would almost be the end of the world for you, wouldn't it? No. I don't have any inside information on this one. They haven't passed the legislation criminalizing chocolate - yet. But what if it happened? What would you do, ladies?
I'll bet you'd get it one way or another. Right? There would be chocolate dealers up and down the country. Guaranteed. And despite the exhorbitant costs and the possibility of long prison time, you'd still do your chocolate. You'd have your daily fix. I know it. Maybe you want to think about that when it comes time to build more prisons to get all of these 'addicts'off the streets.
About the Author: Steve Sommers new book, Evil Super-Villains Need Love, Too ... and other important wisdom, is available at http://www.lulu.com/content/317958.
His novel, REXROI, is available at http://www.lulu.com/content/306670