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October 2008
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A commonsense recession

I was driving on Cicero Avenue in Chicago yesterday and passed a beer billboard (Miller, I believe) that said:

“Tell the recession where to go. Miller High Life. It’s common sense.”

It’s a rather odd billboard, and I wish I had taken a picture of it (and can’t find one online). It was in a pretty low income area of the city and appeared to be saying more than just that Miller Beer is a good value.
And it got me thinking about the fact that if we indeed face a long and severe recession, there will be many things cut from personal budgets, but people will always find a way to afford a little mind-altering escape. Even more so when times are tough.
And so if we really were to face a severe recession and I was in the position to advise governments how to deal with it, one of the things I would tell them is to stop wasting tons of money and productivity on prohibition and, at the very least, legalize marijuana for financial reasons.
But I would also ask them: “If you are looking at inner city areas with massive unemployment, would you rather have large numbers of angry drunk poor people on the streets, or mellow stoned poor people on Pete’s couch?”
Seriously.
Sure, Miller High Life is probably a quality product, and I have nothing against choosing beer, but a legal pot patch in the back yard in bad times (or good, for that matter) really is common sense.
After all, it’s worked for relaxing soccer fans.

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