Mike Riggs on 3 Accounting Tricks the Obama Administration Uses to Hide the Cost of the Drug War


"Since day one, President Obama has led the way in reforming our Nation's drug policies by, among other things, addressing drug use and its consequences as a public health problem," reads a statement posted on We the People, the petition site started by the, er, Obama administration. If you've been the victim of a federal raid—one in which, say, your two-year-old was yanked out if his crib—or worked at one of the 500 California medical pot dispensaries the DEA and the IRS have shut down in the last year, you're probably rolling your eyes right now.

No way, no how, has Obama ended the war on drugs. So why does the drug czar insist that he has? Magical thinking helps, writes Associate Editor Mike Riggs, but so does magical accounting. Washington's drug warriors have relied for decades on wacky stats and context-free claims to justify banning some drugs while rubber-stamping the sale of others. Fuzzy campaign promises aside, the Obama administration is no different. Here are three accounting tricks federal agencies under Obama continue to use to justify the war on drugs and hide its true costs.