Why Didn’t the Shutdown Cut Funding for the DEA? It’s One of the Least ‘Essential’ Govt. Agencies

The GOP House’s temper-tantrum-induced shutdown of the U.S. government can be called many things—an extortion, a frustration, an outrage… name your unflattering descriptor. But if it does anything of use for the American people, it serves up an inarguable indication of the government’s true priorities. It shows us, verbatim, which programs are deemed “essential” and which aren’t.

For instance, the national parks and almost a million federal employees have been cutoff, while the military continues to operate full-force.

And while the injustices of the shutdown are many, among the most hypocritical government priorities is the continued funding of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA)—an organization focused on ending the war on drugs—sent an email to supporters on Friday asking why the DEA was considered essential during the government shutdown.

“You and I both know the DEA isn’t effective,” he wrote. “So why is it considered essential?”

A very good question considering the fact that, even if fighting the war on drugs was reasonable priority to maintain during a shutdown (it isn’t) the DEA has long since lost the war. Since its inception in 1973, it has failed to reduce the number of drug-related crimes in the U.S., and continues to place more than 1.2 million people behind bars each year for the mere possession of illegal substances.

– Read the entire article at AlterNet.