Should We Legalize Marijuana?

This debate is not new. For and against lobbyist have peppered our nation’s capital with their agenda to either criminalize marijuana as it stands or to legalize this drug once and for all. For many citizens, this debate is a matter of expediency and common sense. Let’s examine a few of the major issues.

Driven by the Drug War, the United States prison population is six to ten times that of most other industrialized nations. The United States is second only to Russia in its rate of incarceration per 100,000 people. In 2000, more than 734,000 people were arrested in this country for marijuana-related offenses alone. Thus, one way to aid in the prison crisis in this country is to De-criminalize marijuana and thus alleviate the federal government and state governments from enduring this tremendous expense and drain on the government treasuries.

The overwhelming majority of those charged with marijuana offenses were for simple possession and smoking marijuana. The remaining 12% of marijuana charges were for sale, manufacturing or growing marijuana. Thus, 88% of normally law abiding citizens were incarcerated for simply using this drug. Like most American’s, people who smoke marijuana also pay their taxes, love and support their families, and work hard to better their life for themselves and their children.

Marijuana smokers do not harm other people, they simply are doing something many people feel is unhealthy. Much like smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol, this activity may be self-destructive but it should not be criminal. The facts are listed below as to the annual deaths caused by drugs:
• Tobacco. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 400,000
• Alcohol .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100,000
• All legal drugs . . . . . . . . . 20,000
• All illegal drugs . . . . . . . . 15,000
• Caffeine . . . . . . . . . … . . . 2,000
• Aspirin . . . . . . . . . .. .. . . . 500
• Marijuana . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
These facts speak for themselves. It is time for common sense to prevail and to legalize marijuana.

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Spending Limits on Presidential Candidates

This blog is about a naive proposal. Common sense and politics make strange bedfellows. The moment we inject a common sense approach to any political issue, there are five other sides waiting to override what seems obvious to the casual observer. We are currently going through the agonizing process of choosing our next president of the United States. It seems like this process has been going on for years, but we are still half a year away from the voting process. Is there any way to make this process more palatable to the average American? Is it possible to insure the best man wins and not just the richest man? How can we make the election process a more accurate reflection of American values and mores?

It is the contention of the author that setting a spending cap on political advertising would facilitate the answer to all the above questions and allow for a more fair, balanced and effective election process. If each candidate had a set amount of money to spend, it would not be a race to raise the most money, but would be a tru political debate. If spending caps were enforced, each candidate would have to spend the majority of their respective funds on differentiating themselves from the other candidates. Thios would not allow the funds necessary to simply demean the other candidates, but it would force each candidate to husband their funds in such a way as to highlight their own platforms.

We simply cannot afford to have an elitist government where only the wealthiest candidates can even afford to run for our highest office. It would stop the race from being a contest of the most efficient money raiser to becoming a true contest based on the tenants of each candidate. Set limits to advertising would allow for far more equality of our candidates and open up the race to our best qualified people as opposed to our wealthiest.

How many of us are completely turned off but negative adds being constantly run on television and radio ads? Most of us feel bombarded by the influx of negative information on every facet of a candidates life. Wouldn’t it be better to avoid this pitfall and simply focus on the job at hand? Setting up spending caps would alleviate this grave defect in our election process.

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Where is the Common Sense in Politics?

I have wondered all my life where the common sense is when it comes to politics. It is always coming down to right, left, or down the middle. Our nations politicians and the majority of Americans are intelligent. Okay, some of you might disagree with my last statement, but we are all allowed to have opinions. Anyways, it always comes down to picking a side and going along with the beliefs of that side. Are any of you sick of picking sides? I can’t imagine I am alone. I lean more towards the conservative side of the aisle, but there are certain elements of that philosophy that I don’t agree with. I really don’t think there is a one size fits all belief system. If you just wrote down your personal thoughts about various political topics I bet it wouldn’t match up 100 percent in either parties direction.

One topic I will use for example is taxes. I am a teacher and I am not rich by any means, but I believe everyone should pay the same tax rate. I truly believe it is unfair for anyone to pay more or less than their fair share. If the tax rate is 25%, then I think everyone should have to pay 25%. This goes against the beliefs of many Democrats because many feel that the rich should foot the bill and pay a higher tax rate. I disagree because I see it as punishing someone for being more successful. Isn’t that the American dream? The American dream shouldn’t be about paying higher taxes. The rich in the end will pay more because they make more, but it is fair if everyone pays the same rate on the dollar. According to the Washington Post, 46% of American Tax payers will pay no federal income tax. Is that fair? I don’t think so. I work hard just like everyone else and I don’t think I should pay for 46% of America.

My opinion also goes against the views of some Republicans. Some republicans would like to shield some of the wealthier from paying income taxes by leaving open tax loopholes. I would like to see the loopholes closed and make the tax code as simple as possible. if you make a dollar, you pay a quarter or what ever the rate would be. This would also help eliminate several IRS jobs and save us a little money on our national debt.

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