Pubdate: Tue, 25 Jul 2000
Source: Washington Times (DC)
Copyright: 2000 News World Communications, Inc.
Author: Paul J. Gessing, Policy Associate, National Taxpayers Union


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
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