Are We Ready to Legalize Drugs? And Other FREAK-quently Asked Questions (Ep. 151)
Our latest podcast is called “Are We Ready to Legalize Drugs? And Other FREAK-quently Asked Questions.” (You can download/subscribe at iTunes, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player in the post. You can also read the transcript; it includes credits for the music you’ll hear in the episode.) Once again, Stephen Dubner and Steve Levitt take questions from you, our readers and listeners.
In this installment, Joseph Fogan wants to know about the hidden costs of the war on drugs. The latest Gallup poll shows that 58 percent of Americans favor marijuana legalization (compared to just 12 percent in 1969). Are we really ready to legalize drugs in more than just a few states? And if the answer is yes, what will police do all day? Here’s what Levitt had to say:
We know there are a lot more police officers in places with more crime. So if there was no crime to deal with, there wouldn’t be many police officers. I mean, if you think about firefighters — talk about putting yourself out of a job, there aren’t any fires anymore. I don’t know what firefighters do all day. You could imagine that if all the crime went away, the police would end up looking a lot more like firefighters than they would like police officers. And we just wouldn’t need that many of them around.
This episode also features pitches from not one, but two listeners with ideas for how to help the ailing United States Postal Service; a discussion about whether putting video cameras in classrooms might improve low-performing schools; and we doff our caps to listener Ryan Harris, who asks “why don’t people wear hats anymore?”
The great thing about our FAQs (you can listen to earlier episodes here, here, here, here, here and here) is that we never really know what Levitt will say; he has some truly unusual ideas. And thanks to all of you for all the good questions – keep them coming!