-The opinions expressed are the author’s own-
Are economists the world over using an outdated tool to measure economic progress?
-Bernd Debusmann is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own-
President Barack Obama is close to the half-way mark of his presidential mandate, a good time for a brief look at health care, unemployment, war, the level of the oceans, the health of the planet, and America’s image. They all featured in a 2008 Obama speech whose rhetoric soared to stratospheric heights.
What would legalizing marijuana in California, America’s most populous state, mean to the drug cartels whose fight for access to American markets have turned parts of Mexico into war zones? Shrinking profits? Certainly. Less violence? Maybe.
On June 2, 2005, more than 500 economists, including three Nobel prize winners, issued an open letter that called attention to a report on the economic benefits of treating marijuana like alcohol and tobacco – billions and billions in budgetary savings and gains in new tax revenue.
America’s defense establishment, from the Pentagon to think tanks, is trying to work out ways to cut military spending at a time of economic trouble. Proposals range from $100 billion to $1 trillion. None touches the underlying philosophy that led the United States to spend almost as much on military power as the rest of the world combined.