Pubdate: Thu, 03 Jul 1997
Source: Oakland Tribune (CA)
Author: Gerald M. Sutliff

ANTI-AMTRAK interests are campaigning to de fund the pas-senger
rail service (June 24) be-cause It has spent $13 billion in
s~bsid1es and can't turn a profit.

For more than 25 years, Amtrak has provided thousands of
people with transportation between the major populations centers.
While not always perfect, it gets you there, usually pleasantly
and comfortably. Yes, it also pro-vides a number of people with
good jobs that pay reasonably well, at taxpayers' expense.

Compare that with the financial costs accumulated by 50 odd
federal agencies that feed off the failed War on Drugs. During
the past 25 years, this "war" has consumed between $16 billion to
$50 billion per year.

Not only that, it has ruined far more lives that any of us could
possibly know. It has more than, doubled our prison population,
diluted our civil liberties, corrupted our police, may have
increased drug use, completely fouled up our foreign policy and
nearly succeed in destroying civil order and democracy in Mexico
and Colombia. Finally, It has made millionaires out of thugs and
murders who, by default, regulate the illegal drug industry.

All this for the stated purpose of preventing people from
intoxicating themselves with drugs no more harmful, probably
less, than tobacco or liquor. When it comes to trying to save
money, let's talk sense.

Gerald M. Sutliff
Walnut Creek