January 2011

Unlocking common sense

by Pitt Griffin on January 29, 2011 · 0 comments

in Politics

Pat Robertson and Newt Gingrich have seen the light. Pat Robertson announced on his 700 Club:

“I’m not exactly for the use of drugs, don’t get me wrong, but I just believe that criminalizing marijuana, criminalizing the possession of a few ounces of pot, that kinda thing, it’s just — it’s costing us a fortune and it’s ruining young people,”

Gingrich in an article ‘Saving money, Saving lives’ for the ‘American Enterprise Institute’ 1/7/11 commends “several states” for “intelligently reducing their prison populations”. This is quite a different philosophy from that expressed in his 1994 ‘Contract with America’. As part of that legislative exuberance the Congress passed the “Violent Criminal Incarceration Act”. Not just violent criminals were to be locked up, money was set aside to

“…build, expand, and operate temporary or permanent correctional facilities, including facilities on military bases and boot camp facilities, for the confinement of convicted nonviolent offenders…”

Gingrich used to know what was going to happen in the criminal justice system – “domination by secular Left-liberal judges will change America”. But now he is inviting Liberals to join with Conservatives to design a response to crime that isn’t ‘lock ‘em up and throw away the key’.

So why is now enthusiastically embracing the liberal position he has spent years thumbing his nose at? Answer – money.

It is a good thing that we have reasoned responses to crimes not just knee-jerk retribution.  It makes far more sense as a society that we turn non-habitual, non-violent offenders into productive taxpaying citizens rather than convicts.

(Make no mistake. I advocate that habitual or violent or major offenders should be jailed).

But while I am glad that Robertson and Gingrich have abandoned their antediluvian philosophy and seen a great light, I regret that it took money to finally show them the inefficiency and recklessness of the ‘one-size-fits-all’ strategy of incarceration to combat crime. To show that jail breeds recidivism.  

The shame is that if Gingrich had put his 1994 credibility behind an enlightened approach then, rather than waiting 16 years to speak out, imagine how much taxpayer money we would have saved, how much more tax we would have collected, how many more productive people would have been created.

Better late than never.


Really 1/28/11

January 28, 2011

Mother knows best Bristol Palin’s speech on ‘abstinence’ at Washington University was cancelled due to protests over her ‘lack of expertise’. I think that this is unfair as I am sure that she realizes that if she had abstained she wouldn’t be an unmarried mother – at eighteen. Love – Palin Style The National Enquirer […]

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Slashing and burning

January 28, 2011

The Tea Party is honest about cutting the Federal Budget. It insists that the Defense budget be included. The Republican politicians, on the other hand, have made a long list budget items to be slashed – but defense is not one of them. Is this surprising? At first blush it would seem that the Defense budget […]

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Really 1/26/11

January 26, 2011

Value for money The Government can’t run a business. Take education – we spend more than any other country for second rate results. It should be left to the private sector – like health care. There we spend more than any other country for second rate results. ‘Where’s the beef’ Redux Taco Bell is huffily […]

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Who put the me in gimme?

January 24, 2011

The ‘me generation’ came to maturity in the sixties and seventies; it is now in charge. Free of the Great Depression and the war that molded their parents, they ‘turned on, tuned in, dropped out’ and brought hedonism to a head. Kennedy had requested “ask not what your country can do for you – ask […]

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Trust me – I’ll do the right thing.

January 23, 2011

There are some for whom regulation is the kiss of death for American business. Just let business alone, they say, and it will regulate itself and be productive and the tide will raise all boats and we will have full employment and the sun will be shinier. Anti-regulation fervor can’t understand why snow mobiles don’t […]

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Really? 1/22/11

January 22, 2011

Off and running The Election is on 11/6/12. Today Mitt Romney won the New Hampshire straw poll. It is better not to leave campaigns to the last moment We’ll need a ‘modest proposal’ One federal program the Republicans want to cut to save money is Title X – a program that provides contraceptives to poor […]

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Lies, damn lies and opinion column numbers

January 21, 2011

Regulation costs business $1.75 trillion blares Phil Kerpen in ‘The Washington Times’, which, he claims amounts to $10,500 per small business employee, per year. Damn scary stuff. I wish he had given a source for his information, or at least a little more detail, because this sounds not only dire, but a huge opportunity. But […]

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Budget minimalism

January 20, 2011

The Republican Study Committee (RSC) has unveiled its recommended spending cuts. Among the multi-billion dollar cuts is a $318 million savings, generated by repealing Title X Family Planning. While I appreciate every little bit of economy, I suggest that it is counter-productive. Births, especially to poor women, are going to increase, in turn increasing the money spent on health care, […]

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