Why Didn't the Shutdown Cut Funding for the DEA? Its One of the Least 'Essential' Govt. Agencies
What does "essential mean?
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).
The military is arguably one of the most essential things to continue at the current time: can't just cut off all the people who serve to protect this country. While we can argue about various things that have been done, we cannot just hank the rug out from under them, not pay them and let them wither on the vine.
The DEA, though, accomplishes nothing good, is a failed institution because of this lack of accomplishment.
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.
As a report last week by the British Medical Journal Open declared, the war on drugs has failed—not just in America but around the globe. The report shows how, despite decades of 'war on drugs' efforts, the potency of illegal drugs has increased, prices have dropped, and the number of users is on the rise.
But, there it is: a totally failed government program being kept funded during a time when the shutdown is preventing children from getting care for cancer
, shuttering Head Start Programs
(though a wealthy family donated a mountain of cash to keep them open), and republicans want to kill SNAP
to starve people, the DEA enjoys full, ongoing funding.
The DEA is not shutdown because of ideology: it is more important to harass marijuana smokers and drug users than to feed and educate children.