metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
[personal profile] metawidget
Dear Editors,

Tom Flanagan gives readers all the evidence we need to refute him in his pro-prison column.  After pining for the 1950s, he goes on to say that the American penal system, with its higher costs, meaner prisons, harsher sentences and cynically reduced civil liberties, manages to allow a crime rate about the same as ours, adjusted for urban density and maybe those pesky ethnic minorities.  Given this equality of crime rates he's cited, and the cost of a penal-system boondoggle as he's suggesting, the marginal benefit of listening to him, closing prison farms, packing prisoners into warehouse-like prisons rented from the private sector, and giving our spies and security forces more money and powers, then, would be about zero.

Also, when he talks of excellent investment, let's be clear that when all other programs are in austerity mode and Jim Flaherty is still planning (optimistically) on running big deficits for several years to come, that this is not Flanagan's money being invested, it is the money of much younger people and kids yet to be born that will be paying for a prison-spending binge down the road.

Thank you for running a wide variety of perspectives and news, but please encourage Mr. Flanagan to be a good conservative: not simply to pine for an idealized past but also to think more about marginal utility and whose money he's proposing spending before pulling out his battered typewriter again.
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metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
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