Monday, May 22, 2006

DEA just dandy says Tandy

It this profile piece on Karen Tandy doesn't raise your blood pressure, nothing will. Painting her as a concerned parent who fights drugs as mission of motherhood, it's full of gems like these:
Regardless of the occasional critic's shot, Tandy retains her passion for running the government's largest anti-drug bureaucracy — the kind of job that can be stressful and emotionally exhausting.

"This job is a calling, not just for me but for all of the 11,000 people in this agency. I have the best job on Earth," she said.
Think about that for a minute, there's 11,000 people drawing hefty salaries and they have barely made a dent in the supply or use of drugs. And what would be their incentive to "win?" They would have to find new work. Besides they justify their existence with legalized highway robbery. Here's how dear Karen got her job.
In the Justice Department, Tandy was a pioneer in the enforcement of asset forfeiture law — a government tactic used to deprive drug merchants of material gain by seizing planes, boats, ranches and more exotic possessions such as strip clubs and golf courses bought with drug cash.

"When I came through the door, I made money the No. 1 priority," she said.
Note she says money, not elimination of drug use, not protection of the children, not public safety, it's all about the money. At least she admits I guess. It's a powerful incentive and they don't even have to prove a crime to seize it.
The amount of money the DEA seized each year has more than quadrupled, to $1.9 billion last year, making the DEA the rare federal agency that nearly pays for itself, she joked.
That's no joke. We pay about 2 billion in just salaries and expenses for the agency. That I assume includes office space and whatnot but not necessarily the expenses of the sting operations themselves. And it's so misleading to proffer the seizures as "paying" for the agency. These are not liquid assets. It's mostly property that's unlikely to return its listed value into the coffers and the (inflated) value of the drugs they keep off the street shouldn't be added at all since they destroy them, not sell them themselves. Their salaries are still coming out of the taxpayer's pocket.

Word has it Ms. Tandy might be offered a job in the private sector. She dismisses the idea, saying she's perfectly happy in her present job. And who wouldn't love a job that pays so well and doesn't require that you actually succeed at your mission.


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