Why Clinton Crime Bill Doesn't Pay

By Meyer, Stephen C. | Insight on the News, April 17, 1995 | Go to article overview

Why Clinton Crime Bill Doesn't Pay


Meyer, Stephen C., Insight on the News


President Clinton has vowed to veto Republican attempts to rewrite last year's crime bill. Conservatives of both parties should welcome this challenge. Block grants will not only give states and communities more discretion about how to spend their money, as many have argued, they also could give local communities more for the money they spend.

Consider Spokane, Wash. With former House Speaker Tom Foley as its representative, Spokane long enjoyed the benefits of the congressional spoils system. Bike trails, libraries, money for the local Air Force base, agricultural studies - Spokane and eastern Washington got them all. During last fall's campaign, Foley claimed that the $2.5 million grant he had acquired for eastern Washington demonstrated the benefits of the Clinton crime bill. Upon inspection, however, it demonstrates no such thing. Instead, it shows in microcosm why the Clinton approach to crime doesn't pay, even for constituents of the most powerful members of Congress.

As Foley himself made clear, Spokane received more police from the crime bill than Seattle, San Francisco and other larger municipalities. Indeed, according to USA Today, Spokane received among the most officers of any city in the country. Even so, eastern Washington has not recouped, and is unlikely to recoup, what it will contribute to the $30 billion Clinton crime legislation, thus raising hard questions about why any community would look to Congress to hire its local police force.

Community cost-benefit analyses should not be based upon comparisons between various cities or states, all of whom might be overall losers, but between what a given city or state will contribute to the legislation and what it will likely receive. According to calculations made by economist Arthur Hall at the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, Foley's former district contributes about $2.24 billion to the federal budget each year. Its pro rata contribution toward last year's $30 billion crime bill will, therefore, come to about $45.5 million. Its contribution toward the smaller $8.8 billion portion of the bill devoted to policing comes to $13.4 million.

Using the lower $13.4 million figure and information about the number of officers funded (33 at about 62.5 percent of salary and benefits), it becomes possible to calculate the cost per officer per year. Assuming for the moment that eastern Washington has received all that it will receive from the crime bill, that cost comes to a whopping $229,000 per officer per taking into account ancillary costs and the district's total contribution to the crime bill yield figures as high as $930,000 per officer per year. Clearly, on this basis, eastern Washington would have done much better to hire its own police officers.

Of course, as Foley argued, eastern Washington may receive more funding for police in subsequent appropriations during the next five years. Yet the numbers still don't add up. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Why Clinton Crime Bill Doesn't Pay
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.