Feb 232009

Since the New Year, President Barack Obama executed several unsurprising acts and two complete bombshells.

Last week, Obama’s Justice Department moved to block an injunction sought by left-wing organizations and gun-control groups. The injunction would overturn a policy, studied for two years and signed in January, allowing concealed weapons to be carried in national parks.

This could be the result of advice from former President Clinton, who knows the consequences of infringing on gun rights, but don’t count on rationale to endure forever.

Twenty-four hours later we learned Obama’s stance against the Fairness Doctrine — the Federal Communications Commission rule that requires broadcasters to discuss issues in an equitable manner — became official. In two days, Obama stood up to several powerful liberal organizations and members of his own party desiring the return of the Fairness Doctrine. Beware, as one hand giveth, the other may taketh away.

Nevertheless, this previously unused ability to say “no” to liberals may signal hope for those shrewdly shunning the blue Kool-Aid.

We need tremendous restructuring to solve daunting problems at the federal level. I offer my suggestions.

The 2008 military budget was near $700 billion; trim that by forcing Iraq to use their surplus to rebuild their country, and a couple hundred billion more by withdrawing forces in stable sovereign nations. The U.S. shouldn’t pay to provide protection to foreign nations and employment for local nationals on foreign bases. We certainly shouldn’t do it while enduring our second depression.

Europe, Asia and all overseas operations should stand down except for short-term joint training missions and actual combat zones. Reduce funding for military technology development, we are by far the most advanced military on Earth. Until challenged we have to cut back.

Leave firearms completely alone; the industry is booming. Even in this recession firearms sales generate tax revenues. The law-abiding can and generally do only use firearms lawfully. Gun control legislation has never affected crime at any level.

Congressman Rush of Illinois introduced legislation in January creating a despotic national registration of all firearms.

England and Australia adopted similar legislation and then later made it illegal to own a firearm. Not surprisingly, the authorities located and destroyed only the legally owned firearms — leaving all criminally owned guns untouched. As you might imagine, that worked out well.

Crime in both nations climbed steadily ever since, specifically violent crimes committed with firearms. How much taxpayer money would be wasted to ensure our country becomes less safe?

The time to put an end to the Drug War has come. The “war” is leaking money like a sieve and hasn’t stopped the influx of drugs.

In 2009 we’ll spend $47 billion on drug related crime, $6 billion on prisoners serving drug related sentences and over $20 billion in the Drug War itself, while employers spend $77,000 per positive test on employee testing to stop a product worth over $320 billion in retail value. Anybody see potential tax revenues in those numbers — not to mention the benefit of eliminating this source of revenue to organized crime?

Put non-lethal drugs under the purview of the Food and Drug Administration for commercially produced versions and let people grow their own at home. Tax marijuana sales 15-20 percent, everything from seeds to commercially produced blunts. Now the weed-smoking community becomes a viable economic contributor and helps reverse the flow of billions of tax dollars.

Dismantle the Drug Enforcement Agency and put a small enforcement arm under the FDA, further reducing costly bureaucracy.

Combine these costs with the release of inmates convicted solely for non-violent drug-related crimes and we are talking some serious financial damage to the rate of the deficit, organized crime and the Latin American drug cartels.

Obama had an inauspicious first 30 days, pushing through the Generational Theft Act using the fear of impending economic collapse to hasten the process. With some logical and necessary reduction of government, he may prove nowhere near as awful as I expect, but so far Obama did more damage his first 30 days than his predecessor. Not good.

Seth Stern is a junior undeclared liberal arts major. His tirade appears Tuesdays in the Collegian. Send comments, criticism, vilification, or scorn to letters@collegian.com.

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