Wednesday, May 23, 2012

obama's drug war "economist" lies, lies, and lies some more...,

reason | What’s the quickest way for the Obama administration to convince progressives that the war on drugs is over, even though it’s not?

Step 1: Say that the drug war is over.

Step 2: Convince the largest and most powerful progressive think tank in America to agree with you, invite you to their headquarters, praise you for having “transformed” drug policy in the United States, and pitch you softball questions.

Step 3: Repeat step 1.

This is how you placate liberal hearts and minds after three years of broken drug war promises, and it’s exactly what Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske and the Center for American Progress did this morning.

The spin started the moment CAP President Neera Tanden opened her mouth to introduce Kerlikowske.

“For decades, the United States treated drug abuse as a moral failure and fought it with arrests and incarceration,” Tanden said. “Instead of building treatment centers, we built jails. As a result, the U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world, at a dear cost to federal and state budgets at a time when those budgets are very constrained. The human costs are more tragic still, to the families and communities who have not got the support they need to overcome substance abuse.”

Note that Tanden spoke in the past tense, as if the United States were no longer fighting the drug war with arrests and incarceration. Note that she assessed untreated addiction to be the most notable “human cost” of the drug war, as opposed to unjust incarceration, broken families, lost job opportunities, seized assets, and/or death. Note that these were simply the opening remarks of an hour-long event.

But Tanden didn’t just reframe the debate in order to avoid discussing the Obama administration’s commitment to prohibition. She also told a few whoppers, such as this one: “We welcome the...shifts in funding that have seen more money spent in the last three years on drug education and treatment than on law enforcement.”

Obama’s budget proposal for 2013 allocates almost 60 percent of the drug control budget to enforcement. Previous budgets have allocated even more. Tanden may be misinformed, bad at math, a liar, or all of the above. Regardless, she is wrong.

Upon taking the podium, Kerlikowske matched Tanden in intellectual dishonesty, and then raised her one. Full video viewable at C-SPAN.