rom the Postal Service to the Department of Motor Vehicles, the government has proven to be as ineffective as Hillary Clinton’s campaign strategy. Conservatives, for the most part, understand the inefficient nature of government, and that’s why they often advocate for free-market policies.
However, there’s one issue where conservatives often give far too much power to the government: capital punishment. Here, many Republicans allow their “tough on crime” mentality to overrule limited government ideals and innate skepticism of state overreach.
There’s Nothing “Small Government” about Capital Punishment
This contradiction within the Republican platform, although rarely acknowledged, exposes a weakness in the party’s ideology. If Republicans pride themselves on their limited government philosophy, then why would they grant the government control over life and death?
Take Texas, for example—arguably the nation’s most conservative state. Ever since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976 after the Supreme Court lifted its nationwide suspension, 552 of the 1477 executions in the U.S. have taken place in the Lone Star State. While many Texas Republicans pride themselves on their unapologetic use of the death penalty, its enactment, like most government programs, is both inefficient and ineffective.
In Texas, a death penalty case costs about $2.3 million, which is nearly three times the cost of one prisoner’s 40-year sentence in a single cell with maximum security. And this fiscal irresponsibility is far from a Texas problem. It’s a nationwide phenomenon.
California, arguably the nation’s most liberal state, has spent over $4 billion on the death penalty since 1978 and would save $5 billion over the next 20 years if Governor Jerry Brown commuted all those on death row to life without parole.
Full Post by Patrick Hauf @ Foundation for Economic Education: