(correspondence with an advocate of legalization)
I'm glad you're with us in hoping that the ballot measure to stop enforcing the prostitution laws in San Francisco passes.
Thank you! I for one intend to work hard to try and make it happen.
Even if you don't see decriminalization as ideal, it's obviously an improvement on the status quo. I would say the same about your preferred solution of legalization and work to pass a measure toward that end, if such were on the table. I'll happily take the biggest step that the chains on my feet will allow at any given time, provided it's in the direction of freedom. In the meantime, I do appreciate the conversation and exchange of ideas. It never hurts to discuss the issues and clarify our understanding of what's going on, as well as to envision the kinds of changes we'd *really* like to see happen in a more perfect society.
About prostitution, you wrote, "To me it just defies economic logic for something to basically be allowed that exchanges that much money and not be taxed." In that spirit, I have a modest proposal I'd like to offer for your consideration.
When I hear the words "defies economic logic," what comes to mind for me are things like a billion dollars wasted on unusable trailer homes (see http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/16/AR2006021602033.html), $17 billion a year (see
http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99/n667/a01.html) spent fighting the "War on Drugs" (We can see how effective that has been -- there was less of a drug problem in the United States in the 1800s when the Feds spent $0 trying to control what people put into their own
bodies!) and $30 billion in spending that the Pentagon can't even account for (see http://www.ilsr.org/columns/1995/26Sep95.html).
But everybody's heard these kinds of stories; a list could go on for days. After a while you don't really think about them any
more: "Says here the Feds wasted or lost another billion dollars on --" "Yeah, yeah, what else is new?" As one Washington wag put it, "a billion dollars here, a billion dollars there, after a while you're talking real money." Somewhat less noticed because it's less easily measured is the enormous waste resulting from the bulk of the bureaucratic behemoth being such that one part of it often simply doesn't have a fucking clue what the other parts are doing, any more than a 480-pound man can see his shoes. In the redundancy department, for instance, a research paper from the Heritage Institute (http://www.heritage.org/research/budget/bg1840.cfm) found that there are...
342 economic development programs;
130 programs serving the disabled;
130 programs serving at-risk youth;
90 early childhood development programs;
75 programs funding international education, cultural, and training exchange activities;
72 federal programs dedicated to assuring safe water; 50 homeless assistance programs;
45 federal agencies conducting federal crimi nal investigations; 40 separate employment and training pro grams;
28 rural development programs;
27 teen pregnancy programs;
26 small, extraneous K–12 school grant pro grams;
23 agencies providing aid to the former Soviet republics;
19 programs fighting substance abuse;
17 rural water and waste-water programs in eight agencies;
17 trade agencies monitoring 400 interna tional trade agreements;
12 food safety agencies;
11 principal statistics agencies; and
4 overlapping land management agencies.
...of course this is from a report that was published in 2005. I assume there are even more overlapping and duplicative programs that belong on that list now, since the federal budget has grown by nearly 30 percent during the last three years (see http:// en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_federal_budget). Politicians are always telling us how we the people are the most valuable resource.
It's no wonder they think this, the way they're ripping us off! The amount of money that goes through government's hands every year is staggering. In San Francisco alone the annual government budget is over $6 billion. At the federal level it's over *$3 trillion*.
Meanwhile, we the people are severely and chronically underfunded.
The demands on our resources continue to rise, and our revenue streams have not kept pace. The woefully inadequate dollars we do take in are rapidly losing their value, as a result of government continually printing and borrowing so many of them and failing to insure them with anything intrinsically valuable like gold. For all the talk about the pain of rising gas prices, an ounce of gold buys about the same amount of gas today that it did seven years ago (see
commodities-47041507). Gas only *seems* so much more expensive because the dollars we use to buy it are worth 34 percent less than they were in 2001 (see http://www.financialarmageddon.com/2007/11/
better-than-the.html). That's Uncle Sam being your pimp!
Is any of this beginning to "defy economic logic?" Or do you still think it makes sense for government to take even more money in taxes from a group of socially marginalized and long criminalized and discriminated-against group of workers, namely prostitutes -- I mean, since it's doing such a good job with the trillions of dollars it already has?
Isn't it about time for government to start giving back to the community? After all, where would it be without us? We supply almost all its employees (well OK, with some notable exceptions like the top employees of the Bush administration and most members of Congress; I think they crawled out from under a rock somewhere), and almost all its revenues. The Feds wouldn't even get tariffs on imported goods if people weren't spending money and providing the incentive for overseas producers to want to sell their stuff here. We even supply the voters that allow their operation to continue functioning in a semi-legitimate manner. What if they held an election and nobody showed up? Government has so little legitimacy of its own that pretty much everything it does, it does in our name.
Kind of like that sappy Bryan Adams song, only far creepier. No government is an island, and the U.S. government has only gotten as wealthy and powerful as it is because it exists in a large, wealthy country. It has us in the private sector to thank for its privileged status. If it relocated to Rwanda or El Salvador, there's no way it could sustain its current standard of living, so it's only fair that its wealth be redistributed to those on whose backs it has gotten rich and powerful. How much money does one multi-trillionaire government really need anyway, when millions of the people it exploits for their labor can barely afford basic health care?
Three trillion dollars a year. It defies economic logic for something to be allowed that exchanges that much money and not be taxed! Instead of the federal government collecting taxes *from* the people, it should start paying taxes *to* the people. These unrepentant criminals really don't deserve any leniency whatsoever, but I'm willing to be generous and let them pay in kind. For instance they can probably cover at least a couple months worth of the taxes they owe just by returning all the scissors, nail clippers, toothpaste, bottled water, mascara, lighters, firearms and so on that they've stolen from us at airports over the past few years (see http://www.christinecolumbus.com/airportsecurity2.asp). Assuming all that stuff isn't slowly degrading in a landfill or rusting away in an improperly waterproofed TSA warehouse somewhere, and hasn't been "misplaced" like so many other items in their inventory (nukes, anyone?). When airport confiscations are tapped out as a revenue source, they can start paying in land, like the over 90% of Nevada that's owned by the federal government (see http://plsurvey.com/ index.php?/archives/55-guid.html). Of course they've run up a huge debt, but that's no excuse not to fork over assets -- just ask any "deadbeat dad" who's pleaded insolvency before a government judge.
Yes, sooner or later even the tangible assets of the most bloated organization in the world will run out, and I doubt anyone will want all those old file cabinets anyway, but we can still use restitution to guarantee that they continue to pay their fair share.
Just take Tax Freedom Day (see http://www.taxfoundation.org/
taxfreedomday/) and turn it around, so that every politician and bureaucrat who supported bigger government has to spend until April
23 or so each year working for us. Not figuratively like they claim to do now, mind you. Literally. Since the Feds like their cars so much (see http://www.newsnet5.com/automotive/17050613/detail.html),
perhaps I'll let the restitution-paying bureaucrat who is assigned to me work off my share of his tax burden by driving me around on calls.
Would anyone mind if I request a former vice cop as a driver?
Anyway, I hope this has been illuminating to you or anybody else who might be wondering why a sex worker like myself would prefer decriminalization (just leave us alone) over legalization (tax, regulate, and control the shit out of us) under the system we have now.
Love & Liberty,
((( starchild )))