Should Conservatives Support Drug Legalisation?

Tim Andrews, writing in Quadrant Online, argues that conservatives should support an end to drug prohibition:

A conservative seeks to be grounded in reality… the drug laws aren’t working and more damage net is being done by their continuation on the books than would be done by withdrawing them from the books”.  –William F. Buckley

With last week’s news that Australia is leading the world in illicit drug consumption, every conservative should heed the words of conservative icon William F. Buckely and admit the war on drugs is over, and drugs won. Despite a bipartisan consensus costing billions of taxpayer dollars a year, illicit drugs remain easily available, cheap, and potent. Meanwhile, 100,000 people are arrested each year and 40% of Australians are de facto criminals.

Conservatives frequently attack the left for not taking into account the opportunity cost of their actions – for “not thinking beyond stage one” – yet the drug war is a prime example of this. Even those unswayed by classical liberal arguments for individual choice must come to accept that prohibition has not only failed, but has leveled a terrible toll, not just on the economy but on society.

It was estimated that in 2008 Australian governments spent a staggering $4.7 billion on the war on drugs , which this week’s figures show has resulted in little more than clogging up courts and prisons. At a time of both federal and state budget emergencies, this is a vanity we just can’t afford. With 87% of Cannabis arrest targeting mere consumers , and with over 10% of sentenced prisoners incarcerated for drug related offences, prohibition redirects limited police resources away from real crime.

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Academic: Teaching English To Aboriginals Akin To Stolen Generation

A PROMINENT literacy acad­emic responsible for training Eng­lish teachers has challenged the need for Aboriginal children in remote communities to learn Eng­lish and the assumption that their reading and writing skills need fixing.

Stewart Riddle, education lecturer in literacies and English curriculum at the University of Southern Queensland, has questioned whether raising indigenous literacy levels across Australia “is inherently a good thing, in and of itself”, likening it to the assimil­ation policies that led to the Stol­en Generations.

via Aboriginal leaders reject call to halt English lessons | The Australian.

Income Contingent Loans preferable to Paid Parental Leave?

Via the CIS:

Australia spends just under $1.4 billion (2012–13) on statutory Paid Parental Leave (PPL) to provide more than 130,000 parents with up to 18 weeks of parental leave paid at the full-time minimum wage.

The Abbott government proposes to pay primary carers at their pre-birth wages up to a cap of $100,000 for up to 26 weeks. This policy would dramatically increase government outlays on statutory PPL by over $3 billion by 2016–17.

This report describes how an Income Contingent Loans (ICL) scheme could be used to provide wage replacement paid parental leave for Australian parents. This scheme would provide the same social benefits that the current statutory PPL provides and meet the gender equity objectives of the Coalition’s proposal.

In contrast to the current and proposed statutory PPL policy, a PPL loans scheme would align the costs of PPL payments with those who benefit from them.

The proposed PPL loans scheme is modelled using representative data on Australian families with young children from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey and the distributional implications compared with current and proposed PPL policy.

Click here to download the report: Publications – Fairer Paid Parental Leave.

The Left Was Wrong about Unemployment Insurance

Over the past several years, I’ve repeatedly argued that you get more unemployment when the government pays people to be unemployed. But I’m not just relying on theory. I’ve cited both anecdotes and empirical research to bolster my case.

You won’t be surprised to learn that many politicians have a different perspective. They say it is compassionate to provide unemployment insurance benefits. And they say it is cruel and heartless to put a time limit on those payments.And if you believe Nancy Pelosi, unemployment handouts actually are good for the economy!

You might think this is one of these never-to-be-resolved Washington debates, but we actually have two natural experiments over the past year that show one side was right and the other side was wrong.

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Whites forbidden from owning land in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has renewed his onslaught against white farmers saying they would no longer be allowed to own land in the country.

The 90 year-old old leader, who launched a violent land reform programme in 2,000 that displaced the majority of the 4,000 white commercial farmers, on Wednesday said Zimbabwe was no country for white farmers.

via White farmers must not own land in Zimbabwe, declares Mugabe – Africa – nation.co.ke.