|Re: [Hangout-NYLXS] Hey, Ruben! Plastic bag initiatives!
|Quoting Ruben Safir (mrbrklyn-at-panix.com):
> it is not like guns and butter...
It's a fair point that, unlike the production of and trade in guns and
butter, spending directed towards state prisons has only an extremely
weak multiplier effect, no matter how high the marginal propensity to
consume in the larger economy.
(Oh, wait, that's _not_ the point you were trying to make. You were
having a go at that thing where, if you tell reality it doesn't exist
consistently enough, it might go away.)
I should explain, here, I'm talking about economics and public policy,
so I'm not participating in the exchange of ideological positions you
try to reduce nearly every discussion to. Anyway, try to teke notes.
> ...and if it was, it would still be irrelevant.
Again, thank you for not being a California voter, because _this_
citizen of the Golden State places keen interest in decisions about
where to use limited public funds. Again, your basic guns or butter
To put it in Economics 101 terms (which I regret is probably a bit out
of your experience, but, as Bobbie Burns said, a man's reach should
exceed his grasp, eh?), there was an explosion of artificial demand for
state prison services starting in the 1980s, driven by crude and
ineffective attempts at social engineering that failed utterly, leaving
an absurdly vast prison population, many of whom obviously did not
belong them, and at staggering expense to the state.
The voters and Legislature have walked back from the brink of disaster
on this one, but the spending and rates of incarceration remain far too
high as a hangover effect, gradually getting fixed.
Maybe one day we'll be able to afford higher education, again.
Meanwhile, please keep concentrating your screwing-up-states efforts on
the Empire State, as the resumption of relative sanity around here is
hard-won and I'd hate to lose it again.
It wasn't 22 prisons, it turns out, but rather 23. And it's just sad
that most of that was just pure wasteage.
hangout mailing list