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El Chapo Convicted! Yay! Drug War is Over! Right?


After a 3-month-long trial in federal district court in New York City, famous Mexican drug kingpin Joaquín Guzmán Loera, more commonly known as El Chapo, has been convicted. Yay! After decades of drug warfare on the part of the feds, the drug war is finally over. Victory!


Well, if you believe that, I've got a really nice bridge in Brooklyn I'd like to sell you. Despite the estimated $50 million in federal taxpayer money to conduct this trial, the federal drug war will continue, in large part because there are too many federal judges, federal prosecutors, and drug agents who have become dependent on the drug war, not only through salaries but also through asset-forfeiture seizures and even bribes. There are just too many people whose livelihood depends on the drug-war racket.

We also mustn't forget about all the federal taxpayer money that will be spent on incarcerating El Chapo for the rest of his life. That cost will certainly total in the millions of dollars.

Let's see now. The federal government is now in debt to the tune of $22 trillion dollars. It is already spending a trillion dollars more than it is bringing with taxes. That means that $22 trillion debt will be $23 trillion next year.

Yes, I know exactly what those federal judges, federal prosecutors, court clerks, and drug-war law-enforcement agents would say: "Jacob, that $50 million is just a drop in the overall federal budget. Leave our drug-war dole alone!" But isn't that what every defender of "small" federal programs says? Along with the big programs (i.e., Social Security, Medicare, the national-security establishment), all those "little" ones add up, especially because no one is willing to abolish them because they are each considered only a "a drop in the bucket."

What drug-war proponents might also say is, "Jacob, El Chapo smuggled tons of drugs into the United States, murdered countless people in the process, and paid bribes to Mexican politicians and bureaucrats. What else could U.S. officials do but prosecute him, even if it did cost U.S taxpayers $50 million?"

There are two answers to that question:

1. The advocates of drug laws are morally responsible for those murders and bribes. That's because drug laws bring drug dealers like El Chapo into existence, along with all the violence and corruption that come with such dealers.

That is, if there was no drug war, there would be no El Chapo dealing drugs. Instead, there would be reputable companies, including pharmacies, that would be selling drugs to any adult who wanted to purchase them. They would be reasonably priced, must as booze is. Competition would be through advertising and product quality. Sellers would have the incentive to sell high-quality drugs because they wouldn't want to get sued for causing someone's death. Through their purchases, consumers would decide who stays in business and who doesn't.

That's how a free market works. It produces high quality goods and its process brings peace and harmony to society.

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