Thursday, March 24, 2005

The War on People in Philadelphia

DanielUA over at YoungPhillyPolitics has a great post regarding the misguided "War on Drugs" and asset forfeiture. Besides pointing out the insane, immoral, and unconstitutional practice of seizure of property "involved" in a drug deal as the tyranny that it is, he also offers plausible reasoning on why it may not even serve as the great revenue stream that the abusive governments think it is:

But, lets forget basic moral questions for a second, and think about the public policy ramifications. We have a City with many struggling neighborhoods, that have abandoned homes, unstable populations, a plethora of mortgage foreclosures, and all the problems that stem from those issues. And within that context, we have the DA, the locally elected DA, helping to push these neighborhoods further into decline by taking long time residents out of their homes?

In the end, of course, the whole thing must actually cost Philadelphia money. Forget the real, but still somewhat abstract monetary effect that a Sheriff Sale has on a neighborhood (some estimates have been that it knocks $15,000 off of the property value of its neighboring homes). Forget the psychic cost to a population that sees a longstanding neighborhood resident forced out of her home by officials elected to represent the interests of Philadelphia residents. How about some very basic costs? Where, for example, do you think people are going to go when this happens? How about a homeless shelter ($$$)? How about public housing ($$$)? Can this really be justified?

Of course, these questions have never been asked. As with most of our drug policy, it is based on kneejerk reaction rather than legitimate cause and effect analysis. We've been persuing this War on Drugs for my entire lifetime, with no discernable positive effect. Isn't it time to reevaluate our tactics?


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