Thursday, February 16, 2012

Change Can Wait

With the current debt situation, the Obama administration has been searching for ways to alleviate the financial crisis. Earlier this week, the Obama administration released its Fiscal Year 2013 National Drug Control Budget. Despite the federal debt problem and current budget deficits, the administration increased federal anti-drug funding by 1.6%, spending nearly $26 billion on federal anti-drug programs.

The proposed budget does not seem to make any changes from previous years, especially when you examine its 40:60 ratio for treatment and prevention versus supply reduction. The 40:60 ratio has been in place for many years and this proposed budget only slightly shifts the ratio, allocating 41.2% for treatment and prevention and 58.2% for law enforcement.

Bill Piper stated that, “This is very much the same drug budget we’ve been seeing for years. The Obama drug budget is the Bush drug budget, which was the Clinton drug budget. Little has changed.”

Sean Dunagan, a former DEA intelligence analyst, agreed with Bill Piper claiming, “It’s really just more of the same.”

Honestly, I believe that we should be disappointed with the Obama administration. He promised change by claiming to bring intelligence to the White House. Obama is both a University of Chicago law professor and a Harvard graduate, and said that these roots would affect how the White House would be run. However, this proposed drug budget illuminates how he is the same president that the United States continues to elect. There will be no change of drug policy as long as Obama is still in office, and we will continue to waste billions of dollars annually on a failed war on drugs. This money could be allocated in many other more beneficiary ways, but instead it will be used detrimentally.

In my opinion there are two reasons as to why Obama would propose this budget. The first reason is that it is an election year and changing the budget is an extremely risky move, a move that may cost him thousands of voters. The other reason is that the war on drugs is not a failed endeavor. In fact, it is very beneficiary for other governmental processes. For example, both the Justice Department and DEA will receive funding increases. Ultimately, the budget proposal is beneficial for some; unfortunately, it does not benefit the public at large. Regardless, I wish Obama would grow a pair and follow through with his promise of change. Yet even if he does not, Obama will likely have my vote because the Republican opposition is vastly more frightening.

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