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by Peter Moskos

January 25, 2009

Real Money

According the Harvard Economist Jeffrey Miron, legalizing drugs could inject $76.8 billion per year into the US economy. Oh well, maybe it's better to keep spending that money on courts and prisons. It's not like the economy needs a boost or anything.

Read Miron's report here.


BG said...

44.1 Billion is the dead weight cost of enforcement according to this article. 76.8B is not a valid number. The rest of that is tax revenue which is currently in the economy ( just being spent by individuals rather than the government...unless its not being spent but that's a bigger question.). If you are a stimulus fan then you might not think any of these as costs. Assuming the multiplier is high enough, they are a benefit to the economy (I would assume that in this case that the multiplier is higher). Then again, I'm not a stimulus fan and think that this money could be far better spent.

PCM said...

More money for the government is good. Especially when the status quo is that money going to criminal drug dealers.

But I see your point (even if I don't buy it). The better phrasing would be that the U.S. government would have $76.8 more each year if we legalized drugs.

If you're against a spending stimulus, you could argue against legalizing drugs on economic grounds. Using Miron's numbers, the government would be spending less money overall (since current spendings on the war on drugs are greater than projected tax revenue). That's assuming that the money is just pocketed and not spend, of course.

BG said...

agreed, mine was a technical point only. Legalizing drugs would be a general money maker