I remember a letter to the editor in a California newspaper circa 1973 during Nixon’s gasoline “shortage” from a man who told of sitting in his car waiting in line at what was ironically called a “filling station.” He said that when he looked in his rearview mirror he saw the driver behind him was smoking a joint. He quipped that we could solve two problems if we just legalized marijuana and outlawed gasoline.
Fifty years later, we have almost solved the marijuana “problem” by almost legalizing it. I say we have almost solved that problem, not just because the Feds and a few states are lagging, but because most of the states have made a mess of it by over-regulating and over-taxing it, so the black market persists. Good intentions are not enough.
I have cited what I call the Iron Law of Prohibition demonstrating how the economics of contraband actually makes “drugs” stronger and more dangerous. Actually, I’m certain that this is not always “unintended.”
Obviously, the frustrated motorist was joking about banning gasoline, but there really wasn’t an actual gas shortage. Nixon had panicked and slammed price controls on it which kept the market from functioning. In a free market, there are never long-term shortages because the prices will rise, angering consumers (voters), but eliminating lines, pleasing voters. Unintended?
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