Editor's Note: Todd posts his vibes in real time each day on
Buzz & Banter
We used to play for silver, now we play for life.
an article in yesterday's
New York Post
about how NYC comptroller and mayoral candidate John Liu has a plan
to legalize and tax marijuana in New York. I found the topic
particularly interesting -- and not because I've been to 60-odd
Grateful Dead shows in my day.
When I spoke about
My Single Best Investment Idea of the Next
last year, I offered that the legalization of cannabis would
achieve several meaningful objectives:
It would lower the crime rate
, add jobs, alleviate the overcrowded prison population, and
perhaps most importantly, drive much-needed tax revenue.
Given the state of our union -- which is entirely different than
in the stock market (pun intended) -- it's been my long-held view
that we will need a healthy dose of austerity measures
higher taxation to bridge the chasm between perception and reality.
Nobody wants higher taxation, but if it's an unavoidable reality,
why not tax things folks "want" rather than what they "need"? I've
been a proponent of a sugar tax, for instance, as it would tackle
two issues: increase tax revenue and lower long-term health-care
As a registered independent -- socially liberal and fiscally
conservative -- these policies make sense to me, particularly in a
time when so many political decisions don't.
Unfortunately, as has been the case throughout history, tangible
shifts in public policy --
such as the repeal of prohibition coming out of the
-- tend to happen as a function of need rather than want. Nothing
like a good old-fashioned crisis to change the way people feel
about hot-button issues.
Of course, you know it don't come easy. I was speaking with one of
the world's leading authorities on cannabis this week, and when I
asked her if cannabis will be legalized in New York, her reply was
an almost too quick "No shot." Indeed, despite some
61% of New Yorkers favoring the use of medical
, the NY State Legislature seems set in their old school ways.
we talked about how some analysts are predicting that upward of
100,000 Wall Street jobs may soon be cut.
) have both announced plans for job cuts in the first three months
of next year; in total, 21,000 positions will be eliminated.
It would be terrific if politicians and policymakers had the
foresight to identify a budgetary gap-fill prior to the next crisis
rather than scrambling for a solution after the damage is done.