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Mark Perry

Mark Perry

Mark J. Perry is concurrently a scholar at AEI and a professor of economics and finance at the University of Michigan’s Flint campus. He is best known as the creator and editor of the popular economics blog Carpe Diem. At AEI, Perry writes about economic and financial issues for American.com and the AEIdeas blog.

Articles by Mark Perry

Thursday evening links – Publications – AEI

17 hours ago

AEI
Thursday evening links

1. Graphic of the Day I (above). Amazon and Facebook were in the news this week for “joining an exclusive club open to only the richest companies in the world: both crossed the half-a-trillion mark.” Those two companies join Apple ($785 billion as of today), Alphabet/Google ($652 billion), and Microsoft ($564 billion) in the exclusive club of companies whose market capitalization tops $500 billion. To put the size of that market cap into perspective, consider that the entire Mexican stock exchange has a current market valuation of $438 billion, Thailand’s publicly traded stocks are worth $468 billion and the Russian stock exchange has a market cap of $554 billion! Together, the five US companies in the “$500 billion” club have a combined value of nearly $3

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Despite the proven success of charter schools, both the NEA and NAACP want them stopped – Publications – AEI

22 hours ago

AEI
Despite the proven success of charter schools, both the NEA and NAACP want them stopped
From Richard Whitmire’s op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal “Charter Grads Get a Leg Up in College: The NAACP and NEA have chosen the wrong time to double down on failing traditional schools“:
The NAACP on Wednesday reported findings from its nationwide “listening tour” on charter schools, and there were no surprises: Charters must be stopped. The National Education Association, even less surprisingly, said the same thing earlier this month in Boston.
The nation’s oldest civil-rights organization and the largest teachers union worry about charters for similar reasons. Independently run charters generally don’t employ unionized teachers, and they pull students from traditional district schools to

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Take the latest ‘News IQ Quiz’ from the Pew Research Center – Publications – AEI

1 day ago

AEI
Take the latest ‘News IQ Quiz’ from the Pew Research Center
How much do you know about the news and current events?
Test your knowledge of prominent people and major events in the news by taking this 10-question quiz from the Pew Research Center. Then see how you did in comparison to a national sample of 1,002 adults, 18 years of age or older, living in the continental United States, who were interviewed by telephone between June 22-25, 2017.
You can find more information here about the quiz and the results: From Brexit to Zika: What Do Americans Know?
Note: I think you’ll find the Pew Research Center News IQ Quiz a little easier than the Carpe Diem Economic News and Data Quizzes!!
Take the latest ‘News IQ Quiz’ from the Pew Research Center
Mark Perry

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Taiwan-based Foxconn will invest $10 billion in the US and we can thank America’s trade deficit for that inflow – Publications – AEI

2 days ago

AEI
Taiwan-based Foxconn will invest $10 billion in the US and we can thank America’s trade deficit for that inflow

From today’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article “Foxconn to announce billions in investments and thousands of jobs for Wisconsin“:

MADISON – Foxconn Technology Group [a Taiwanese multinational electronics contract manufacturing company headquartered in New Taipei City, Taiwan] will announce at the White House on Wednesday its plans to invest $10 billion to build a massive display panel plant in Wisconsin that would employ thousands. “It does represent a milestone in bringing back advanced manufacturing, specifically in the electronic sector, to the United States,” a senior White House official said.
The deal will “bring jobs and billions of dollars in investments to our

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In an open letter to Drug Czar Bill Bennett in 1989, Milton Friedman made the case for decriminalizing drugs – Publications – AEI

2 days ago

AEI
In an open letter to Drug Czar Bill Bennett in 1989, Milton Friedman made the case for decriminalizing drugs

From Wikipedia:
The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988, which created the Office of National Drug Control Policy, was the product of bi-partisan support. It was co-sponsored in the House of Representatives by parties’ leaders, Tom Foley and Robert Michel, and it passed by margins of 346–11 and 87–3 in the House and Senate, respectively. Upon signing the law, Ronald Reagan said, “This bill is the product of a bipartisan effort.”
In Jauary of 1989, Bill Bennett was appointed by President George H. W. Bush to the post of Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, and he became known as America’s first “drug czar.” During a June 15, 1989, appearance on Larry King Live,

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New Carpe Diem economic news and data quiz – Publications – AEI

3 days ago

AEI
New Carpe Diem economic news and data quiz

It’s time for another Carpe Diem quiz. Test your knowledge of recent economic news and data points, some featured in recent CD posts, with this new 15-question quiz below. Good luck!
Loading Carpe Diem Economic News and Data Quiz July 25, 2017

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New Carpe Diem economic news and data quiz
Mark Perry

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Quotation of the day on the superiority of Western culture and values…. – Publications – AEI

3 days ago

AEI
Quotation of the day on the superiority of Western culture and values….
…. is from George Mason economist Walter E. Williams’ latest weekly column “Western Values Are Superior“:
Intellectual elites argue that different cultures and their values are morally equivalent. That’s ludicrous. Western culture and values are superior to all others. I have a few questions for those who’d claim that such a statement is untrue or smacks of racism and Eurocentrism. Is forcible female genital mutilation, as practiced in nearly 30 sub-Saharan African and Middle Eastern countries, a morally equivalent cultural value? Slavery is practiced in Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad and Sudan; is it morally equivalent? In most of the Middle East, there are numerous limitations placed on women, such as prohibitions

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The US produces 40% more factory output today vs. 20 years ago with 5M fewer workers. Technology job theft? – Publications – AEI

4 days ago

AEI
The US produces 40% more factory output today vs. 20 years ago with 5M fewer workers. Technology job theft?

We hear all the time from Trump and others that the US has lost millions of manufacturing jobs because they’ve been outsourced overseas and “stolen” by countries like China. That’s partly true, but mostly false. The chart above shows that over the last 20 years, the real value of US manufacturing output has increased by 40% (and by $544 billion in 2009 dollars). During the same period, factory employment in the US decreased by 29% (and by 5.1 million jobs). US manufacturing output was near a record high last year at $1.91 trillion, just slightly below the 2007 level of $1.92 trillion, and will likely reach a new record high later this year.
So that’s the real story of US

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School-choice advocate Steve Jobs in 1995: ‘The unions are the worst thing that ever happened to education’ – Publications – AEI

4 days ago

AEI
School-choice advocate Steve Jobs in 1995: ‘The unions are the worst thing that ever happened to education’

During a 1995 interview (watch video above) when then 40-year-old Steve Jobs sat down with Computerworld’s Daniel Morrow for a 75-minute interview, Jobs said: “The [teachers’] unions are the worst thing that ever happened to education.” (Read more here about Steve Jobs’ views on education in Joe Kent’s article for the Foundation for Economic Education website “Steve Jobs Wanted to Break Up the Education Monopoly.”)
Exhibit A: In a speech to her union’s convention last Thursday, American Federation of Teachers (AFT) president Randi Weingarten asserted that “The real pioneers of private school choice were the white politicians who resisted school integration.” She called

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Who’d a-thunk it? There are inherent differences in how men’s and women’s brains are wired and how they work? – Publications – AEI

5 days ago

AEI
Who’d a-thunk it? There are inherent differences in how men’s and women’s brains are wired and how they work?
In Stanford Medicine’s spring issue “Sex, Gender and Medicine,” there’s a fascinating article titled “Two minds: The cognitive differences between men and women,” here’s a slice:
[In the 1990s], the neuroscience community had largely considered any observed sex-associated differences in cognition and behavior in humans to be due to the effects of cultural influences. But over the past 15 years or so, there’s been a sea change as new technologies have generated a growing pile of evidence that there are inherent differences in how men’s and women’s brains are wired and how they work.
Not how well they work, mind you. Our differences don’t mean one sex or the other is better or

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A millennial explains how post-modern liberalism and failed parenting led to the snowflake-ification of a generation – Publications – AEI

5 days ago

AEI
A millennial explains how post-modern liberalism and failed parenting led to the snowflake-ification of a generation
Writing a few weeks ago in the Detroit News, Hillsdale College student and Detroit News intern Kaylee McGhee offers an explanation for “Why Millennials Melt”:
Millennials are in a constant contest to one-up each other in showing tolerance, and when anyone or anything stands in their way, they collapse into temper tantrums.
And the truth is, none of us should be surprised. My generation is a symptom of the society past generations have built — one characterized by immediate gratification, the breakdown of a moral code and the victim mentality. It’s the wreckage of past generations’ experiments with post-modern liberalism, and millennials are trying to wade through it.

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The world as 100 people over the last 200 years, a period of the largest gains in global living standards ever – Publications – AEI

5 days ago

AEI
The world as 100 people over the last 200 years, a period of the largest gains in global living standards ever

The charts above are from Max Roser at Our World in Data:
To make it easier for myself and for you to understand the transformation in living conditions that we have achieved I made a summarizing visualisation in which I imagine this 200 year history as the history of a group of 100 people to see how the lives of them would have changed if they lived through this transformative period of the modern world.
Summary:
1. In 1820, 90% of the world population lived in extreme poverty vs. only 10% today.
2. In 1820, 83% of the world population had not attained any education vs. only 14% today.
3. In 1820, 88% of the world population was illiterate vs. only 15% today.
4. In 1820, 99%

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Kevin Williamson on why ‘Buy American’ has little meaning in today’s world of globalized supply chains – Publications – AEI

5 days ago

AEI
Kevin Williamson on why ‘Buy American’ has little meaning in today’s world of globalized supply chains
Some excerpts from the always excellent and insightful Kevin Williamson, writing in National Review — “‘Made in America.’ So What?“:

One of the great enduring stupidities of modern economic life is the belief that buying American is somehow beneficial to the United States as a whole. A related daft notion, very popular among our progressive friends horrified at the chauvinism of “Buy American” campaigns, is that buying local helps your local community and economy. This stuff has been studied and studied and studied, and the short version is that buy-American/buy-local efforts amount to approximately squat. It makes sense if you think about it: You can buy a bag of green beans from

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Matt Ridley on how true communism/collectivism is created by the market, and by buying and selling, not by the state – Publications – AEI

6 days ago

AEI
Matt Ridley on how true communism/collectivism is created by the market, and by buying and selling, not by the state
….. is from Matt Ridley’s 2017 Keith Joseph Memorial Lecture to the Centre for Policy Studies titled “Free Markets are Revolutionary, Liberating, and Democratic“:
Things like the English language, made by humankind, but not planned, ordered, constructed or ruled. There is no government, Supreme Court or police force of the English language yet we all obey its laws of vocabulary, grammar, and syntax. Likewise, the internet is something that evolves; it is not and was not designed, planned or managed.
It is my contention that this concept of spontaneous order is the central idea of the enlightenment, brought to a pinnacle nine years later by Adam Smith with his invisible

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Chart of the day: US oil production could hit a new all-time record high by September – Publications – AEI

8 days ago

AEI
Chart of the day: US oil production could hit a new all-time record high by September

According to new data released yesterday by the Energy Information Administration, US crude oil production last week increased to 9.43 million barrels per day, the highest output in two years going back to July 2015. There have only been ten previous weeks, all during the May to July 2015 period, that US crude oil production was higher than last week. At the current rate of production increases, US oil output could surpass the previous all-time record high of 9.61 million barrels per day (set in June 2015) by mid-September of this year. Further increases could bring US oil production above 10 million barrels per day by February of next year.
Peak what?
Carpe oleum.
Chart of the day: US oil production

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Video of the day: The Factual Feminist – Publications – AEI

8 days ago

AEI
Video of the day: The Factual Feminist

During an interview with NPR’s Lulu Garcia-Navarro on June 25th, 2017, tennis great John McEnroe said that tennis great Serena Williams would rank about “700 in the world” if she played against men. The outcry on social media and in the press was swift, harsh, and omnipresent. But was it deserved? Christina Hoff Sommers, AEI Resident Scholar and Factual Feminist, serves up her analysis above in the latest release in the popular video series The Factual Feminist.
 
Video of the day: The Factual Feminist
Mark Perry

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Second quarterly spelling/punctuation/grammar rant on the misuse of it’s for its (and other apostrophe abuses) – Publications – AEI

10 days ago

AEI
Second quarterly spelling/punctuation/grammar rant on the misuse of it’s for its (and other apostrophe abuses)

This is my second quarterly grammar/spelling/punctuation rant of the year, the first one since National Grammar Day on March 4 here. Last year, I posted seven quarterly rants, so I’m running a little behind this year.
Below are 14 new examples collected from CD comments and other sources on the Web that illustrate what I think is the most common spelling/punctuation/grammar/orthographic mistake in the English language — the misuse of it’s (or its’) for its. And the bonus graphic above is an example of a related apostrophe abuse — adding an unnecessary apostrophe for a plural noun. I guess my one-person campaign to bring attention and awareness to this common grammar error is

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Two excellent Prager U videos – Publications – AEI

12 days ago

AEI
Two excellent Prager U videos
 
1. School Choice Saved My Life. Poor students deserve just as good an education as rich students, right? So why are so many stuck in failing public schools? Denisha Merriweather, who benefited from school vouchers, explains the problem and the solution in the Prager U video above. Find out more here.
 
2. Black, Millennial, Female and Conservative. Antonia Okafor, a young, single, black woman, recently discovered that she’s a racist, sexist, misogynist. How in the world did this happen? Antonia Okafor explains. Find out more here.
MP: I try to watch all of the Prager U videos (“A world of new perspectives, five minutes at a time”). The two recent videos above that were released this week are especially excellent and highly recommended. You can sign up

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Saturday afternoon links, all graphic edition – Publications – AEI

13 days ago

AEI
Saturday afternoon links, all graphic edition

1. Chart of the Day I (above) shows weekly US crude oil production through the first week of July based on data released this week by the EIA. US drillers pumped out nearly 9.4 million barrels of oil every day last week, which was the highest level of domestic production in almost two years. At the current pace, US daily crude oil output could top 9.6 million barrels by the end of the summer — setting a new US production record on the way to possibly reaching the 10 million barrel per day milestone by the end of the year. Carpe oleum.
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2. Chart of the Day II (above) shows total monthly petroleum production for the world’s top two producers – “Saudi America” and Saudi Arabia through March 2017

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Delta doesn’t like competition from subsidized Gulf carriers but US consumers should be thankful for the foreign aid – Publications – AEI

17 days ago

AEI
Delta doesn’t like competition from subsidized Gulf carriers but US consumers should be thankful for the foreign aid
I traveled recently on Delta Airlines, and while reading the onboard July issue of the Delta Sky Magazine I noticed a full-page ad titled “Help Us Defend U.S. Jobs,” with a link to a Delta website DELTA.COM/OURFIGHT. According to the ad:
The nations of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are attempting to take over international aviation by funneling billions of dollars in subsidies into their state-owned airlines. U.S. airlines have already ceased flying to certain international destinations  because they can’t compete with the unreasonably low prices of the gulf airlines. And for every route lost, 1,500 American lose their jobs. Left unadressed, the U.S. aviation

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Chart of the day: Drug overdose deaths per million persons. Can the US learn something from Portugal? – Publications – AEI

19 days ago

AEI
Chart of the day: Drug overdose deaths per million persons. Can the US learn something from Portugal?

Maybe the USA can learn something from Portugal, where all drugs were decriminalized in 2001? Compared to Portugal,  drug overdose deaths per million in neighboring Spain are 2.5X as high, 3.5X as high in the EU, 10X as high in the UK and 31X as high in the USA.
Related: See Chris Ingraham’s June 2015 Washington Post article “Why hardly anyone dies from a drug overdose in Portugal.”
Portugal decriminalized the use of all drugs in 2001. Weed, cocaine, heroin, you name it — Portugal decided to treat possession and use of small quantities of these drugs as a public health issue, not a criminal one. The drugs were still illegal, of course. But now getting caught with them meant a small

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Imagine if the media covered alcohol like other drugs…. – Publications – AEI

21 days ago

AEI
Imagine if the media covered alcohol like other drugs….
…. is the title of an excellent article in Vox by German Lopez, here’s the opening:
What if the media covered alcohol like it does other drugs? What follows is a satirical attempt at capturing that same type of alarmist reporting, but for a substance that really causes widespread and severe problems.
NEW ORLEANS — An ongoing drug epidemic has swept the US, killing hundreds and sickening thousands more on a daily basis. The widespread use of a substance called “alcohol” — also known as “booze” — has been linked to erratic and even dangerous behavior, ranging from college students running naked down public streets to brutal attacks and robberies.
Federal officials suggest this drug has already been linked to 88,000 deaths each year

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An extraordinary, but overlooked technological marvel: horizontal drilling – Publications – AEI

23 days ago

AEI
An extraordinary, but overlooked technological marvel: horizontal drilling

In today’s The Gartman Letter (subscription required), my friend Dennis Gartman featured an excerpt from a January 2013 article by Forbes energy contributor David Blackmon titled “Horizontal Drilling: A Technological Marvel Ignored.” Here is that excerpt:
We often hear spokespeople for the oil and natural gas industry talk about how the massive new shale gas and oil resources discovered in recent years were made possible by the wedding of two technologies: Hydraulic Fracturing (“Fracking” in media parlance) and Horizontal Drilling. Once that statement is made, the conversation with news reporters, at townhall meetings and in public speaking engagements then quickly focuses on the “Fracking” part of the

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Happy Birthday, America 2017: Ray Charles sings ‘America the Beautiful’ – Publications – AEI

24 days ago

AEI
Happy Birthday, America 2017: Ray Charles sings ‘America the Beautiful’

It has become an annual tradition at CD to feature one of my all-time favorite singers, pianists and performers — Ray Charles. When it comes to singing America the Beautiful,  it doesn’t get any better than this – Ray Charles above performing in 1999 at a live fundraising event for the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind. Except maybe the 1991 version below with some guests including Stevie Wonder, Michael McDonald and Michael Bolton, and the 1984 version below at the Republican National Convention. Happy Birthday America!

In a tribute to Ray Charles following his death on June 10, 2004, Imus in the Morning played this clip below of Ray Charles singing his version of “America the Beautiful” at the 1984 Republic

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Based on median salaries, gender pay gap at Trump White House is almost 2X (37%) what the media are reporting (20%) – Publications – AEI

25 days ago

AEI
Based on median salaries, gender pay gap at Trump White House is almost 2X (37%) what the media are reporting (20%)

As required by Congress since 1995, the White House annually delivers a report to Congress on July 1 listing the title and salary of every White House Office employee. Here’s the latest 2017 salary report from the Trump White House, which was released to the public last Friday. Based on the 2017 White House salaries, several media outlets have reported that there is about a 20% gender pay gap at the Trump White House, based on the difference in average salaries: $84,500 average for female staffers compared to a $105,000 average for male staffers. See reports here from Roll Call and CNN.
But the gender pay gap at the Trump White House is actually much, much larger by a

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Happy 87th birthday (June 30) to economist Thomas Sowell, one of the greatest living economists – Publications – AEI

29 days ago

AEI
Happy 87th birthday (June 30) to economist Thomas Sowell, one of the greatest living economists

One of my all-time most favorite economists — Thomas Sowell — turns 87 tomorrow, he was born on June 30, 1930. Here is Thomas Sowell’s webpage and here is his Wikipedia entry. Milton Friedman once said, “The word ‘genius’ is thrown around so much that it’s becoming meaningless, but nevertheless I think Tom Sowell is close to being one.”
In my opinion, there is no economist alive today who has done more to eloquently, articulately, and persuasively advance the principles of economic freedom, limited government, individual liberty, and a free society than Thomas Sowell. In terms of both his quantity of work (at least 40 books and several thousand newspaper columns) and the consistently

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Thursday afternoon links – Publications – AEI

29 days ago

AEI
Thursday afternoon links

1. Chart of the Day (above). Adjusted for inflation, the national average price for gasoline this year heading into the 4th of July weekend at $2.20 per gallon is the lowest in 13 years going back to 2003. Thanks American petropreneurs and frackers!
2. Exposing Seattle’s Shameless Behavior. America Rising Squared (AR2) on Tuesday sent Freedom Of Information Act requests (FOIAs) to the Seattle Mayor’s office, the University of California-Berkeley, and the University of Washington, seeking more information about possible collusion between Mayor Ed Murray and a study his office commissioned that was prepared by UC-Berkeley’s Institute For Research and Labor Employment and was unsurprisingly favorable to the city’s $15 an hour minimum wage law.

3. Cartoon of the

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Happy 216th Birthday to economist Frederic Bastiat! – Publications – AEI

29 days ago

AEI
Happy 216th Birthday to economist Frederic Bastiat!

Today, June 29, marks the 216th anniversary of the birth of the great French classical liberal economist Frédéric Bastiat (born June 29, 1801) whom economist Joseph Schumpeter called the “most brilliant economic journalist who ever lived.” Celebrating Bastiat’s birthday has become an annual tradition at CD, and below I present some of my favorite quotes from the great liberty-loving, influential French economist!
1. One of Bastiat’s most famous and important writings was “The Candlemakers’ Petition,” which is such a clear and convincing satirical attack on trade protectionism that it often appears in textbooks on economics and international trade. Here’s an excerpt from that famous 1845 essay (emphasis added):
We [French

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Thomas Sowell on the cruelty of minimum wage laws – Publications – AEI

29 days ago

AEI
Thomas Sowell on the cruelty of minimum wage laws

The video above features the reading of a section of Thomas Sowell’s 1980 book Knowledge and Decisions where the brilliant economist explains some the economic dynamics of minimum wage laws. Here’s a key excerpt starting at about 4:51 in the video:
There is no inherent reason why low-skilled or high-risk employees are any less employable than high-skilled, low-risk employees. Someone who is five times as valuable to an employer is no more or less employable than someone who is one-fifth as valuable, when the pay differences reflect their differences in benefits to the employer.
This is more than a theoretical point. Historically, lower skill levels did not prevent black males from having labor force participation rates higher than

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Quotation of the day on the darkest corners of your War on Drugs…. – Publications – AEI

June 28, 2017

AEI
Quotation of the day on the darkest corners of your War on Drugs….
…. is from Nick Gillespie, writing in Reason.com “Philando Castile’s ‘Audacity To Smoke Marijuana’ in Front of Child Doomed Him, Says Cop Who Killed Him“:
From the minute we’re born, we are bombarded with messages and lessons about how drugs are bad, evil, and uniquely destructive; how they inherently give rise to criminality, violence, and mayhem; how we must forever be on the lookout for users, avoid becoming users (read: addicts!) ourselves, and rat out anyone we see using them; and on and on. Never mind that most of these dicta are utter bullshit, that it’s the black-market status of drugs that brings violence and makes abuse more likely, and that the drug war has always been about controlling various threatening

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