Successful extortion

Ralph Hall of Texas has switched parties. He says he did so because being a Democrat meant no pork for his district, under the new Republican spoils system. (Talk about a profile in courage!) And the Republican leadership in Congress seems happy to have its extortionate practices pay off.

So far, there seems to be no expression of outrage either by the Democrats or by the national media.

Glenn Reynolds approves, though he doesn’t mention Hall’s stated reason. He says it shows “which way the wind is blowing,” echoing his earlier comment on some Baathist defections in Iraq. I hope that this means that Glenn (once again) didn’t bother to read his sources, rather than that he approves of the use of public funds to punish voters who support the out party, and that he (once again) wrote incautiously, rather than that he thinks that the relationship between parties in a republic is the same as civil war.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

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