Sunday, January 29, 2012

Economic Insanity from Gingrich on Marijuana Use: Life imprisonment With No Parole; Who Benefits from War on Drugs? Big-Brother Expansionist Ideas: Gingrich Proposes "Free Radios" for Everyone in Cuba!

Anyone wondering what kind of economically-illiterate, big-brother expansionist ideas Newt Gingrich might embrace as president can find the answer in several recent articles regarding his positions on marijuana usage, food stamps, drug testing, and surprisingly even "free radios".

Please consider Gary Johnson hammers Newt for ?hypocrisy? on executing marijuana users
Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson went on offense against Newt Gingrich Monday, attacking the former House speaker?s proposal to execute marijuana users as hypocritical, considering the GOP contender has himself admitted to smoking pot.

Johnson is currently seeking the Libertarian Party nomination for president, and is a proponent of legalizing the drug.

?Ideas are important, especially in a presidential campaign,? said Johnson. ?But some of Speaker Gingrich?s ideas over the years are nothing short of scary. Under his legislation, anyone coming home to the U.S. and caught carrying enough marijuana (2 oz.) to distribute would be sentenced to life imprisonment with no parole ? or if caught twice, would be sentenced to death.?

Gingrich defended the legislation, the Drug Importer Death Penalty Act of 1996, in November as a way to get tough on Mexican drug cartels.
Newt: Give the death penalty to drug cartel leaders

Next up, please consider Newt: Give the death penalty to drug cartel leaders
Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich says he supports using the death penalty as punishment for leaders of drug cartels who bring drugs into America.

Gingrich made the comments when asked in an interview with Yahoo! News if he still stands by a bill he introduced in Congress in 1996 allowing those convicted of smuggling drugs to be put to death.

?I think if you are, for example, the leader of a cartel, sure,? Gingrich told reporter Chris Moody. ?Look at the level of violence and the level of violence that they?ve done to society.?

Elaborating, he said: ?You can either be in the Ron Paul tradition and say there?s nothing wrong with heroine and cocaine or you can be in the tradition that says, ?These kind of addictive drugs are terrible, they deprive you of full citizenship and they lead you to a dependency which is antithetical to being an American.??
Gingrich Lies About Paul's Position on Drug Usage

For starters Gingrich purposely lied about Paul's position. Ron Paul never said "there's nothing wrong with drug usage". Indeed he has stated over and over he does not favor their use.

What Paul has said, is he does not believe government should prosecute those who take drugs. I don't either. Legalizing drugs would take the profit out of them, stop countless robberies by addicts seeking to get drugs, and lower their overall usage.

Primary and Secondary Beneficiaries of Gingrich's Expanded War on Drugs

The primary beneficiaries of Gingrich's expanded war on drugs would be the gang-bangers, drug lords, and smugglers from Mexico. Higher costs and reduced supplies mean more profits for those who succeed at smuggling.

The war on drugs can never succeed here. Unlike Singapore, the US is not going to put to death everyone who sells marijuana. Nor should we in the first place. It is not the government's role to interfere in the personal lives of citizens.

The secondary beneficiary of Gingrich's proposal would be prison guards and union leaders.

Indeed it is the unions who were behind California's inane strike-three law. Californian's pay out the nose and unions have benefited massively by the economically inept and morally corrupt ideas Gingrich espouses for the entire nation.

Yahoo News Interview with Gingrich

Finally please consider Newt Gingrich on drug laws, entitlements and campaigning: The Yahoo News interview
Three Republican presidential candidates have shown an openness to handing over control of drugs and medical marijuana to the states. Would you continue the current federal policy making marijuana illegal in all cases or give the states more control?
I would continue current federal policy, largely because of the confusing signal that steps towards legalization sends to harder drugs.

I think the California experience is that medical marijuana becomes a joke. It becomes marijuana for any use. You find local doctors who will prescribe it for anybody that walks in.

Why shouldn't the states have control over this? Why should this be a federal issue?
Because I think you guarantee that people will cross state lines if it becomes a state-by-state exemption.

I don't have a comprehensive view. My general belief is that we ought to be much more aggressive about drug policy. And that we should recognize that the Mexican cartels are funded by Americans.

Expand on what you mean by "aggressive."
In my mind it means having steeper economic penalties and it means having a willingness to do more drug testing.

In 1996, you introduced a bill that would have given the death penalty to drug smugglers. Do you still stand by that?
I think if you are, for example, the leader of a cartel, sure. Look at the level of violence they've done to society. You can either be in the Ron Paul tradition and say there's nothing wrong with heroin and cocaine or you can be in the tradition that says, 'These kind of addictive drugs are terrible, they deprive you of full citizenship and they lead you to a dependency which is antithetical to being an American.' If you're serious about the latter view, then we need to think through a strategy that makes it radically less likely that we're going to have drugs in this country.

Places like Singapore have been the most successful at doing that. They've been very draconian. And they have communicated with great intention that they intend to stop drugs from coming into their country.

In 1981, you introduced a bill that would allow marijuana to be used for medical purposes. What has changed?
What has changed was the number of parents I met with who said they did not want their children to get the signal from the government that it was acceptable behavior and that they were prepared to say as a matter of value that it was better to send a clear signal on no drug use at the risk of inconveniencing some people, than it was to be compassionate toward a small group at the risk of telling a much larger group that it was okay to use the drug.

It's a change of information. Within a year of my original support of that bill I withdrew it.

Ron Paul and Barney Frank have introduced a similar bill almost every year since.
You have to admit, Ron Paul has a coherent position. It's not mine, but it's internally logical.

Speaking of Ron Paul, at the last debate, he said that the war on drugs has been an utter failure. We've spent billions of dollars since President Nixon and we still have rising levels of drug use. Should we continue down the same path given the amount of money we've spent? How can we reform our approach?

I think that we need to consider taking more explicit steps to make it expensive to be a drug user. It could be through testing before you get any kind of federal aid. Unemployment compensation, food stamps, you name it.

It has always struck me that if you're serious about trying to stop drug use, then you need to find a way to have a fairly easy approach to it and you need to find a way to be pretty aggressive about insisting--I don't think actually locking up users is a very good thing. I think finding ways to sanction them and to give them medical help and to get them to detox is a more logical long-term policy.
Sometime in the next year we'll have a comprehensive proposal on drugs and it will be designed to say that we want to minimize drug use in America and we're very serious about it.

Since we are in Florida, can you provide an idea of how your administration would handle relations with Cuba?
I think we need a very aggressive model. I describe it as a Cuban Spring. If you have a U.S. government that says Assad should go, why aren't they aggressively saying Castro should go?

Would you open up trade relations with Cuba as president?
It's probably not part of it, but I think you would look at under what circumstance would you change and could you offer the Cuban people. For example, immediately after a free election, all the embargoes would drop as of that day. You could have the carrot of saying, the second there's a free election, we should do everything we can to help the Cuban economy flourish.

President Obama has opened more air travel to the island. Would you shut down those flights?
No, but I would very aggressively move towards maximizing dissent inside Cuba. Mostly covert, and also just subsidies. Go back and look what we did in Poland for example when we aggressively supported Solidarity.

What kinds of items would you subsidize?
You might try to find a way to give virtually every Cuban a free radio. You might want to try to find a way to maximize your ability to broadcast into Cuba so that you have a continuous alternative model of information.
Free Radio Insanity

I do not care whether Gingrich is speaking figuratively or literally, the idea of free radios is complete nonsense.

Exactly would the founders of the constitution think about giving free radios to everyone in another nation?

I will tell you what they would think. They would think just as I do, that the proposal is economic insanity as well as foolish intervention into the affairs of other nations. 

Icing on the Nutcake

If you are seeking icing on the nutcake then check out Gingrich's statement on Ron Paul regarding drug usage: "You have to admit, Ron Paul has a coherent position. It's not mine, but it's internally logical."

Ron Paul has a logical position. Gingrich doesn't. The war on drugs has been a miserable failure. Gingrich wants to make it an even bigger failure, and a very costly one at that too.

Has Gingrich figured out the cost of arresting and imprisoning everyone who  sells drugs? The answer is obviously not.

Three Questions for Gingrich

  1. How much will it cost to administer drug tests to everyone getting a government subsidy?
  2. How much more chipping away at states' rights does Gingrich want?
  3. How can this proponent of big government even call himself a Republican?

Mish Food Stamp Proposal

When it comes to food stamps I have a far better set of ideas than drug testing.

  • Do not let those on food stamps buy frozen pizza, potato chips, snacks of any kind, soft drinks, etc.
  • Explicitly limit food stamp users to generic (store brand vs. name brand) dried beans, rice, peanut butter, pasta, canned vegetables, canned soup, soda crackers, fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, frozen (not bottled) juice, poultry, ground beef, chuck steak, bread, cheese, powdered milk, eggs, margarine, and general baking goods (flour, sugar, spices).
  • Calculate a healthy diet based on current prices, number in the family, ages of recipients, and base food stamps allotments on that diet.

My proposal will not only lower the cost of the food stamp program, healthy diets would lower Medicaid and Medicare costs as well. Moreover my proposal would give people a strong incentive to get off the food stamp program without intrusive, costly big-brother ideas like drug testing which cannot possibly work for the simple reason that anyone who fails will steal to get food rather than starve. Also note that Gingrich's proposal would harm innocent kids on the program. My idea would help them nutritionally.

Given that Gingrich himself admits "Ron Paul has a coherent, logical position" pray tell why can't we try it?

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
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