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for Pecos Country of West Texas

Opinion

Smokey Briggs

Sage
Views

By Smokey Briggs

Editorial/Opinion

Tuesday, July 27, 1999

SAGE VIEWS

By Smokey Briggs

 War on drugs is lost

It's time to legalize dope all of it.

The so-called war on drugs is an abject failure. Just like prohibition was 70 years ago, this war is not winnable.

What we have created is a self-sustaining black hole that eats money, equipment and lives.

We can take a long step towards filling that hole by legalizing drugs cocaine, marijuana, heroin all of them.

If any worthwhile progress had been made in the last four decades I might feel different. But it hasn't.

Drug use is worse now than ever. And we are paying a terrible price waging this war.

What we have accomplished is the creation of a separate economy fed by tax dollars from one direction and the money from the buyers from the other.

We have managed to fill our prison and judicial systems with people who are mostly a danger to themselves.

We have managed to inflate the size of government agencies involved from top to bottom from the feds to the cities and counties.

We have gotten a lot of people on all sides killed.

What motivates all of this mayhem and destruction?

Money.

Take the money out of it and the drug war will become a police action. With legalization, the money disappears.

If drugs were legal, they would be relatively cheap. Cocaine doesn't cost much to produce. It is the transportation and distribution costs that drive the price up.

And if dope is cheap and legal, the crime associated with it will virtually disappear.

There won't be anymore gun battles between law enforcement and drug dealers or between drug dealers and other dealers over sales territory and such.

Dopers won't need near as much money to support their habit.

Drug-user-related crime will dwindle. When the black-market goes away, so does most of the crime and money.

Just ask most of my boot-legging ancestors back in the hills of North Carolina. They haven't had a cash crop since prohibition ended.

Well, some of the younger ones may be running something other than shine these days.

The only counter-argument to legalization is the social harm that all these cheap, legal drugs will do.

I'm not convinced. I'm not convinced that more people are going to start using dope if it is legal.

For kids under 21, it is easier to buy a joint or a line of cocaine than it is to buy a beer. For kids under 18, it is easier to buy a joint than to buy a beer or a plug of tobacco or a cigarette.

(The Department of Defense found this out a decade ago when it was researching why young recruits were smoking so much dope.)

Buying it at the supermarket won't be any easier and could be made even tougher than buying it on the street as has been done with alcohol and tobacco.

Today, our most effective program to keep kids off drugs is education at home and school not prohibition laws.

People who don't use dope today are people who choose not to and generally, not because it is illegal, but because it is bad for you.

Legalization isn't going to turn this crowd into pot smoking crazies shoplifting potato chips to cure the munchies.

For those that are doing, and will continue doing drugs maybe we can take some of the billions and billions of dollars we're spending on enforcement and spend it on education and such.

It's worth a shot. It might even work. After 40 years of failure we need to try something new in this war.

Not fighting it may be the best solution of all.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Smokey Briggs is the editor and publisher of the Pecos Enterprise whose column apears each Tuesday. He can be e-mailed at:smokey@pecos. net

Budget surplus should come home

The Clinton administration has calculated that there will be a $3 trillion budget surplus over the next ten years.

Even when you are dealing with the federal government, when you throw "trillion" behind a number, you are dealing with a respectable amount of cash.

The big question in Washington is what to do with the money?

Give it back!

The Republican led House and Senate are working to do just that to a small degree.

The House passed a bill last week that would create an $800 billion tax break over the next 10 years.

The Senate is working on a similar bill.

The $800 billion represents about 30 percent of the projected surplus.

The plan still leaves almost 75 percent of the surplus in the government's wallet.

Even so, the president is vowing to veto any tax cut above the $250 billion mark.

Clinton claims to want to use the money to restore solvency to Social Security and Medicare, reduce the federal debt and boost defense and education spending.

Perhaps he does. But the federal government's past record of irresponsible spending does not lend credibility to this actually happening.

Why is Social Security in the hole anyway? Because the government couldn't keep it's hand out of the savings account.

Most likely, the surplus dollars will be frittered away on vote-buying, pork-barrel programs.

Unless the money is never collected exactly what will happen if the tax cut legislation becomes law.

Then the money will stay in the best savings account the government could ask for the national economy where it can do some good.
 

Letter to the Editor

American people should come first

Our Constitution is our shield of democracy to govern us as free people, "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," but some how along the way we have lost our freedom to foreign countries.

Our National leaders choose to purchase foreign commodities, letting our own people go hungry or forced out of business for big government and big corporate gains. It is disheartening that our legislative body has become deaf to the voices of the people when our national security is in jeopardy, because of our dependence on foreign oil that can and will weaken our defense. The American people should always come first.

We cannot afford to wait and do nothing. The alternative to doing nothing is, getting nothing. It is imperative that we educate the American people and ourselves of the situation at hand. Farmers, ranchers, miners, and steel workers need to ask our government to please help stop foreign dumping, because we are all drowning in imports.

Our President is the leading figure in foreign affairs; we need to remind him that American companies competing against American companies, small farmers and ranchers, and mom and pop companies are what built this country not American companies against foreign countries. We must protect our fellow workers from unfair competition that is not held accountable to the same standards as required by Americans. All that we are asking for is a fair playing field.

We believe our national security is in danger. At the beginning of 1999, we were 57% dependent on foreign oil and now we are reaching the 60% mark; this would we be a national security disaster that could result in our downfall as a great nation. The United States domestic oil industry is America's only true strength to keep our ability to defend ourselves. It has been twenty-six years since the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo was imposed upon our nation. This resulted in a national crisis causing inflation and high interest rates, which crippled the U.S. economy for a decade. In the past twenty-six years our U.S. Department of Energy still has not developed an energy policy to help stabilize oil prices and protect our domestic energy industry. We do not want thirty-dollar oil; we only wish for a stable eighteen to twenty dollars per barrel of oil with steady normal growth.

I am the owner and President of Lucky Services, Inc. in Hobbs, New Mexico. My wife Debbie and I started this business with only one well servicing pulling unit and operated from our home. At the present time, we provide eight pulling units and eleven tractor-trailer fluid hauling trucks. Over the past thirteen years, we have expanded into a company that two years ago had over seventy employees with good benefits. Now due to the current downturn in the industry, we have lost many of our families that will never return because of the constant roller coaster ride that they have experienced in the last twenty years. This represents friends and families losing their jobs, children leaving our schools, and basically the future of decent hard working Americans disappearing before our very eyes. If things do not turn around soon, I like many other businesses around the country will lose even more employees and possibly lose everything that we have worked so hard to build.

We the Concerned Citizens for Energy Policy (CCEP), united to raise public and political awareness to the devastation of our oil and gas industry, and also to point out that our domestic oil and gas industry cannot and will not survive the long-term impact of the unstable oil prices. Our industry must survive and grow, domestic producers should be protected from predatory pricing schemes that could wipe out most or maybe all of the oil and gas industry. In summary, this effort is about saving our national security, jobs, schools, our communities and our way of life. We cannot stand by and watch our way of life destroyed and our children's future erased. We need to do what is right and good for America.

Thank you,
Dewayne Taylor
Chairman/CCEP

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