Drug War and Class War

In today’s Providence Journal, a good read by Froma Harrop

[…]Possession of cocaine, a felony, did not interfere with [George W. Bush or Lincoln Chaffee’s] Ivy League education. Nor did it stop them from seeking and attaining high public office. Today, taxpayers cover both men’s salaries and health-care costs, and will eventually provide their government pensions. All, apparently, is forgiven.

But when some low-income kid gets convicted of smoking a joint (a misdemeanor), America gathers up its moral indignation and strips him of his federal student loan. This is a sick double standard, and it will continue unless changes are made in the Higher Education Act.

The article really nails the problems with the Higher Education Act financial aid provision.

As things now stand, police swoop down on some college party and drag off the pot-smoking kids. Come the next semester, rich daddies write the usual checks, and the children of doctors, lawyers and U.S. presidents are back in class. Poor and working-class students go home. So far, 175,000 young people have lost federal student aid because of the Drug Provision.

The whole War on Drugs is a lesson in class discrimination. “A ton of drugs are taken by middle-class kids,” says Tom Angell, a director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy. “Middle- and upper-class people often don’t get caught. And they can afford good lawyers to avoid a conviction in the first place.”

Way to go, Tom.

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