Mike Gravel

Mike Gravel on Drugs

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Wags used to joke about a Ron Paul-Mike Gravel unity ticket. They're both old, they're both odd, they're both hated in their parties—they could rent out Ken Kesey's bus and convert into their own Straight Talk Express!

Well, here's Gravel sounding alternately super-libertarian and semi-coherent.

If they can iron out the "spend taxpayer money on rehabilitating drug addicts" bit, Paul and Gravel could make some noise.

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  1. Isn’t there some ‘unity 08’ movement? Paul-Gravel? Gravel-Paul? Either way, I’d choose it over Rudy McRomney or any of the Big 3 Dems any day. Better yet than Gravel would be to have a Richardson-Paul. Sure, I have some problems with Gov. Richardson, but that would actually be a more serious ticket.

  2. Don’t agree with lots of Gravel’s agenda, but he’s mostly talking sense here, and seems to be speaking what he honestly feels == which, in politics, pretty much guarantees low single digit support. Sigh. In a better, alternative universe, we’d enjoy the Gravel / Paul general election debate.

  3. If they can iron out the “spend taxpayer money on rehabilitating drug addicts” bit

    Gravel is making pleasant noises here, until you realize it’s just another tentacle of his single payer health care monster.

  4. “Richardson-Paul”

    But could a Texan and a New Mexican get along?

    Would Paul have to provide some sort of reparations for the 1861 invasion of New Mexico by the Texas Brigade under Shelby?

  5. Mike Gravel on Drugs

    Maybe in the next debate (Rep or Dem) if someone could put MJ in the air conditioner….

  6. Just one question…

    Pack of Marijuana?

  7. I gotta ask the libertoids: Does spending tax money on rehabbing drug addicts( and probably failing a lot) offend your sensibilities to the same degree as spending tax money of fighting a drug war (and probably failing alot and killing a bunch of people)?

    The first is going to be cheaper than the second, but even dollar for dollar, is it an even-money outrage?

  8. if the tax money used came from taxes on the drug products themselves, then no problem, it’s more like a user fee.

  9. if the tax money used came from taxes on the drug products themselves, then no problem, it’s more like a user fee.

    I’m a libertarian Lite at best, but that’s my feeling too. I don’t like sin taxes as a rule, but I would have no objection to taxing marijuana (or heroin, cocaine, etc.) as well as alcohol and cigarettes as long as the revenue was used solely to mitigate any direct results of legal drug (over-)use. However, even if they decided to use the taxes to fund whatever idiotic projects they come up with (the way I think cigarette taxes work), it would still be a minor outrage compared to the War on Drugs. In principle any damage people do to themselves is their own problem, but in practice, I don’t think it’s possible to fully escape the social consequences of *any* kind of drug abuse, even when legalization drops prices. I’d rather pay for rehabilitation than have some junkie steal my computers or musical instruments.

    If pot were legalized tomorrow, the government could institute a 500% tax and it would probably still be cheaper than current street prices. Or so my friends tell me.

  10. I gotta ask the libertoids: Does spending tax money on rehabbing drug addicts( and probably failing a lot) offend your sensibilities to the same degree as spending tax money of fighting a drug war (and probably failing alot and killing a bunch of people)?

    The first is going to be cheaper than the second, but even dollar for dollar, is it an even-money outrage?

    Spending tax money to rehabilitate people is orders of magnitude less evil than the drug war (especially if it was funded from taxes on the drug). It is not that Libertarians support it ideologically… It is that pragmaticly, if politicians were to actually adopt this policy, it would be such a huge pro-Libertarian move that we would be shooting ourselves in the foot by opposing it just because it isn’t 100% ideologically pure.

    That being said, I worry that if the drugs were taxed, the taxes might be made so-high as to not really change anything. If legal drugs cost 50+ times the price of illegal drugs, it would not solve the drug problem. Legal drugs would need to be comparible in price to the illegal stuff.

    For example, I have heard that high cigarette taxes actually increase the consumption of weed. I don’t know if that is true, but I can see how it would be true.

  11. “For example, I have heard that high cigarette taxes actually increase the consumption of weed. I don’t know if that is true, but I can see how it would be true.”

    why?

    that honestly doesn’t make any sense to me. (two different products, effects, etc)

  12. They’re both smokes, why wouldn’t they compete against each other to some degree? Even what’s inhaled from each is mostly the same on a weight basis. Of the remaining consituents, they’re largely psychoactive in both cases.

  13. They’re both smokes, why wouldn’t they compete against each other to some degree? Even what’s inhaled from each is mostly the same on a weight basis. Of the remaining consituents, they’re largely psychoactive in both cases.

  14. Nat: You are correct about tobacco taxes. Federal tobacco excise taxes (as well as alcohol taxes) go into the government’s general fund, as did luxury taxes when they were still in effect.

    Some other excise taxes act more like “user fees”, with funds from plane tickets funding FAA’s air traffic control system, and gas and diesel taxes being used to play carrot-and-stick with the states build and maintain highways.

    dhex and Robert: Mankiw’s intro microeconomics textbook actually includes a summary of a study on tobacco and marijuana cross-price elasticity. Unfortunately, my copy’s at work, and I can’t remember what the verdict was.

    There are pretty intuitive arguments as to why they might be substitutes or compliments. On the one hand, they’re both smoky ways to satisfy an oral fixation, or way to piss off your parents and defy authority. On the other hand, alcohol and coffee (for instance) are beverages with different effects and that doesn’t mean they “compete” with one another. In fact, they’re often enjoyed in conjunction, or one is used to ameliorate the effects of the other. And inasmuch as smoking both cigarettes and pot will doubly piss off your parents, their complimentarity has a certain synergetic effect.

    So I’m having an especially hard time remembering whether pot and cigarettes were substitutes, compliments, or neither according to the study. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that they were substitutes, because I recall feeling a certain libertarian elation at the idea of tobacco-tax-raisers being rewarded with more pot smoking teenagers. But I may be wrong.

  15. you know when i saw that gravel subscribes to reason, i wondered what percentage of the articles he thought more or less hit the mark. i say this because alot of people tend to agree with libertarian-leaning essays and then end up disagreeing with libertarian policies because, well, they’re “libertarian”. i just wonder if hes one of those people that agree with specific arguments for limited governemnt but then dismiss broader calls for an open market based on the meme that free market economics are hocus pocus or ‘not realistic’ (based on one of the handful of generic arguments against it). what keeps surprising me is that youd think these people would eventually put 2 and 2 together. but for some reason they tend to remain blissfully unaware of what they themselves actually believe.

  16. An example of a media figure who is not a libertarian ideologue and disclaims the ideology, yet winds up taking the libertarian side on all issues of public controversy on which he declaims, is medical advisor Dr. Dean Edell.

  17. For instance, he says he has no theoretic objection to socialized medicine, but he opposes every actual example that comes up.

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