Sunday, April 12, 2009

Libertarianism Coming (like it or not)

Budgets for "Law Enforcement" nationwide will simply not be sufficient to pay people to investigate, arrest, try, imprison, supervise, etc... as many people as the "Justice Complex" had in the past. We are going to have to make some decisions on how we want to spend our Law Enforcement dollars.

Do we want the "Sham Wow" guy, or Eliot Spitzer, arrested for soliciting prostitution?  Or do we want to spend our limited resources on violent crime?  Will we be able to afford the expense of arresting a grown man for possessing a single marijuana cigarette?

(Several years ago a broker working for me was arrested for the possession of a single marijuana cigarette during a traffic stop.  As a matter of fact, his 8 year old daughter was, at the time of the arrest, at our office playing on a computer waiting for her father to return from his appointment.  So, for the price of a singe marijuana cigarette, society lost the services of my office while we scrambled to get in touch with a family member to care for the daughter while our erstwhile "pothead" spent the night in jail, the services of the police officer who spent, by my estimation, 20 hours on the incident, the judge's time, the court reporter, bailiff, jail workers, etc... I could go on a LONG TIME - you get the idea.  Taxpayers probably got stuck with a $5,000 to $10,000 bill - all to end up dismissing the case...  But the Legal Profession (LOLOLOLOL) was happy - the incident cost our "perp" $5k in legal fees.

Did I mention that the officer drew his weapon during the arrest?  Does anybody think that marijuana is worse for an individual than having a gun pointed at that individual?  Does anybody else see the potential liability involved in this policy?  Would you want someone to point a gun at your child for the offense of carrying some plant residue?)

The sad fact is, we have spent hugely on Law Enforcement, and have created the "gift that keeps on giving" to the budget's of Law Enforcement.  Our Drug Laws.  The U.S. has the largest percentage of its population in prison in HISTORY - the Soviet GULAG system PALES in comparison - and the repercussions were never remotely considered:  Where 90 days in a local jail might have sufficed for a non violent offense our society went for the "tough on crime" sell, and handed down 7 to 15 years of hard time.  Now, we have created an educated, well connected criminal who also suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and have sentenced any of his children that were dependent on him for support into a life of destitution and crime.  BRILLIANT.

(Note to the political LEFT:

Anytime you enact a "Law" or a "Regulation", by necessity, you create a need for "Enforcement".  You know, those nice folks in every society that are willing to dress up in scary costumes and then sic their attack dogs go on:

Civil Rights Marchers

Abu Graib Residents

Auschwitz Victims

Of course, the pee brained members of the "Enforcement"community, when called on the carpet, demure and say they "were just following orders".)

America, through well intentioned but seriously flawed social policy has created a huge underclass that is very much addicted to MASSIVE social programs that subsidized a lifestyle of shirking personal responsibility but provided the free time to indulge in anti-social behavior. THAT is the legacy we have created.  When searching for the ROOT cause of crime - and the Law Enforcement Budget that we can no longer afford - the Law of Unintended Consequences once again rears its ugly head.

Like it or not, the money simply isn't there to continue things as they were.  As Kuntsler is so fond of saying: "We'll have to make other arrangements."



bureaucrat said...

On the subject of energy, which we always are threatening to veer off of with the social policy stuff ... has anyone noticed that pump prices are up a bit? That RBOB gasoline futures are up a bit? That crude oil is up a bit? Is it economic or supply/demand? Near term, I think it is economic .. too much oil and nat. gas in storage to be supply ...

On the subject of the post, I have the same love/hate relationship with law enforcement as Jeffers (I complain a lot but expect a cop car outside my house when the robbers are breaking in). Professional law enforcement will adjust to budgetary changes. I can speak to what my branch in the Fed. govt. has done with less money for the last 20 years: our staffing went from 90 to 30, our contracting out went way up (therefore I doubt we had much budgetary savings), all the top managers found ways to get graded as GS-15s ($150,000/year) instead of lowly GS-13s ($110,000/year), and all the clerks, secretaries and low-level people were never replaced. Govt. in its many forms will adapt. :)

Greg T. Jeffers said...


I am with you in that I expect police protection... but like ALL organizations, a Law Enforcement organizatin quickly becomes overwhelmed with organizational politics and cease to operate for the benefit of those it was intended for to the level also intended and instead begins to serve the members of the organization.

This is true of hospitals, law enforcement, schools, the military, etc...

A HUGE part of government expenditures are on the above mentioned organizational structures... and these budgets simply will not be able to function as they most recently had - they will be force to choose... to perform triage... to actually do a COST/BENEFIT analysis.

WE NEED police protection and order. Is that what we have been getting? I think not, and being a numbers guy I can see clearly the budgetary restraints coming (IMHO ☺)

sharon said...

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