Going from Crime to Illness Means Big Growth for the Government Plantation

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Marc Munroe Dion picks up on what I’ve been calling “the government plantation” in his latest “Livin’ and Dion” column about the budget consequence of recasting drug use from a crime to an illness.  Noting that a person who comes across a homeless beggar could feed him or her with a $10 sandwich, but:

If you ran a non-profit agency, you’d need an outreach worker to find the homeless guy, an intake worker to make sure the homeless guy was really hungry, a case manager to find out what kind of sandwich he likes, a nutritional expert to make to make sure he got a healthy sandwich, a coordinator to introduce the outreach worker to the case manager, a facilitator to go into the store and buy the sandwich, and a five-member board of directors to approve the $10 sandwich, which would be referred to in all documents as a “nutritional expenditure for indigent substance abuse-affected client.”

At all times, the homeless guy eating the sandwich would be referred to as a “client.” Total cost of the sandwich? $65,000, not including benefits, and pensions.

Rhode Island’s state government is deliberately working to transform our economy into one built on this very model.  Declare some benefit to be a right, find a way to collect money from the rest of the economy and other states (via the federal government), and fill out a massive bureaucracy with government-satellite non-profit agencies with plenty of well-paying jobs whose holders will tend to support the system politically and to fund the necessary political action through their labor union dues.



  • Northern Exposure

    Virtually every criminal act can be considered the action of an ill mind. Therefore, no one is to blame for committing a crime…right? Quick, get me some government funded drugs and personnel to help me, while I continue to commit crimes.

  • Rhett Hardwick

    Probably not a crime, but another “right” gone wrong. Has anyone else noticed the signs on stores permitting “service animals” since they became covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act? Since I don’t allow dogs, it now seems about 25% of prospective tenants are claiming that they have a “Service animal’ in the form of a dog for “emotional support”. Much as I like them, I long ago learned about the disruption possible by a dog. I am not at all sure abut renters who require “emotional support”.
    PS, they are required to carry a copy of a “Doctor’s Note” showing their disability. Such note need not describe the “disability”. “Registration” does not require any such note and can be done on-line,, so “registration” as a “service animal” is meaningless,.

  • The Misfit

    The War on drugs that went all in on criminalization produced a 500% increase in prison population. And at significant cost. Would that not be a more apt example of your government plantation argument?

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