Pubdate: Tue, 25 Jul 2000
Date: 07/25/2000
Source: Washington Times (DC)
Author: Paul J. Gessing

The July 18 editorial "Colombia's war is also ours" makes the argument
that because Colombia is the source of much of our cocaine and heroin,
American taxpayers should be supportive of recently signed legislation
that gives the Colombian government $1.3 billion to fund its drug war.

This argument rests on many shaky assumptions, but I will concentrate
on only two. First, with the level of corruption and the difficulty
inherent in monitoring how funds are actually spent, it will be nearly
impossible to measure the effectiveness of this expenditure or whether
the money is actually used to stop the flow of drugs.

Second, even if Colombia's government does make a good-faith effort to
curtail the flow of drugs and succeeds, this could drive the price of
cocaine and heroin higher. Thus, it will become economically
attractive for other drug producers to fill the void and continue the
flow of drugs.

Surely the American people would rather have the $1.3 billion in their
pockets to pay for prescription drugs, retirement savings or a family
vacation. Instead, we are being forced to throw money at a problem in
a foreign country over which we have little control.

Paul J. Gessing,
Policy Associate, National Taxpayers Union, Alexandria