News Telegram, Portland, Oregon, April 4, 1932, p. 6

1932 News Telegram Editorial

Driven slightly panicky by the rising tide of revolt, the Anti-saloon league propounds a weird idea. It says prohibition should not be repealed because, if it were, all the fines now collected from violators would not go into the public treasury and that, therefore, taxes would increase! This strange new doctrine, of course, overlooks the huge costs of prohibition "enforcement," the millions of dollars lost by outlawing beer and wine, and the terrific expense necessary for new prisons, hordes of new dry agents and the keep of thousands of prisoners. The fines collected from dry-law breakers do not amount to one percent of the huge waste of futile attempts to enforce the law. But, apart from the financial and practical sides of the affair, there is an ethical side.

We doubt very much if any real American wishes the expenses of his government to be collected from murderers, racketeers and booze runners in the guise of fines. This nation has not yet sunk to level of morality of the Anti-saloon league, which apparently is willing to accept a split on the profits of crime. If kidnapping were punishable by fine, we suppose the league would encourage more Lindbergh-baby cases, in order to "reduce taxes" with the fines. Well---

We are in the main, a decent people, and we want decent government, run by honest dollars. We can get these honest dollars. We can get those honest dollars by legalized beer, taxing it moderately, and ceasing to pour millions into the bottomless pit of futile "enforcement." Why not do these simple things, instead of following the Anti-saloon method of profiting from crime?



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