New Killer Star
- Aug 30, 2019
- Reaction score
- One Night in Bangkok
- Political Leaning
Joe Biden was among the strongest proponents of the War on Drugs, influencing Ronald Reagan himself from the right.
Biden is also the one who pushed for the crack v. cocaine drug sentencing disparity.Biden is correct that the surge began in the 1970s and accelerated in the 1980s, but a closer look at his role reveals that it was Biden who was among the principal and earliest movers of the policy agenda that would become the war on drugs and mass incarceration, and he did so in the face of initial reluctance from none other than President Ronald Reagan. Indeed, Reagan even vetoed a signature piece of Biden legislation, which he drafted with arch segregationist Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, to create a federal “drug czar.”
At the time, many Republicans were hesitant about increasing federal spending, and in fact looking for ways to slash the budget. Domestically, Reagan wanted to focus on cutting taxes and reducing social welfare spending, and had little interest in an expansive federal spending program geared toward building new prisons and hiring new police. Biden, on the other hand, was a key policy leader among both parties on the issue of expanding funding to states and municipalities for policing and prisons.
Joe Biden Pushed Ronald Reagan to Ramp Up IncarcerationBiden helped lead the push for the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, which lengthened sentences for many offenses, created the infamous 100:1 crack versus cocaine sentencing disparity, and provided new funds for the escalating drug war. Eventually, with his co-sponsorship of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988, his long-sought-after drug czar position was created. These and other laws lengthened sentences at the federal level and contributed to an explosion of federal imprisonment — from 24,000 people locked up in 1980 to almost 216,000 in 2013. In short, these laws increased the likelihood that more people would end up in cages and for longer.